World Economic and Social Survey 2009: Promoting Development, Saving the Planet

8 09 2009

The World Economic and Social Survey will be available today on the DESA (United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs) website , along with a series of related Policy Briefs drawing from the report.

The separation of the climate change and development agendas has distorted the global debate on the two biggest policy challenges facing the international community. According to the *World Economic and Social Survey 2009*, an integrated approach based on the concept of sustainable development is urgently needed. The key to such an approach is a low-carbon, high-growth transformation of the global economy — a transformation that can keep temperature increases consistent with environmental stability, as identified by the scientific community, while at the same time fostering the strong growth and economic diversification in developing countries that would allow convergence of incomes worldwide. The greening of catch-up growth will have to be further tailored to meet the adaptation challenges facing vulnerable countries and communities whose economic security will be threatened even if climate change is kept within globally manageable limits.

– The Survey argues that mitigation and adaptation efforts can move forward effectively only if they are part of a consistent development strategy built around an investment-led push on to low-carbon, high-growth pathways.

– It warns that the adjustments this will involve must not push poorer countries and communities further down the development ladder, or leave them
saddled with unmanageable debts, but should instead strengthen their resilience to external shocks, both climatic and economic.

– While acknowledging that a variety of market and non-market institutional mechanisms will be needed if advances are to be made along those paths, the *Survey* contends that the public sector must assume a much more prominent role, and that stronger developmental States must take action to mobilize public finances and build appropriate technological capacities.

– To gain traction, this potentially win-win strategy requires the international community to step up to the plate with multilateral financing on a much larger scale than has been forthcoming to date, and with new approaches to transferring technology from rich to poor countries. The report offers various suggestions to ensure that the available financing matches the challenges at hand.* *

For further information, please contact Robert Vos (, Richard Kozul-Wright ( ), Imran Ahmad ( of the
United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs.

*Mr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram*

*Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development, *

*United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs*

* *




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