World Economic and Social Survey 2009: Promoting Development, Saving the Planet
The World Economic and Social Survey (WESS) provides objective analysis of pressing long-term social and economic development issues, and discusses the positive and negative impact of corresponding policies. The analyses are supported by analytical research and data included in the annex.
The separation in practice 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 so as 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.
To date, the concept of development has too often remained in the background during the evolving climate debate. As a result, the discussions concerning both normative issues (invoking ?common but differentiated responsibilities?) and financial ones (entailing how to fund mitigation and adaptation) have become polarized. Moreover, the discussion on creating policies and programmes to support the greening of catch-up growth has hardly started.
The Survey seeks to bridge this gap within the public policy debate. It argues that mitigation and adaptation efforts can move forward effectively only if they are part of a consistent development strategy built around a massive investment-led transformation along low-carbon, high-growth paths. 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 at the same time that a critical role must be played by developmental States able to mobilize public finance and build appropriate technological capacity. This potentially win-win strategy will require the readiness of the international community to step up to the plate with multilateral financing on a much larger scale than has been forthcoming to date and new approaches to transferring technology from rich to poor countries.