• Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Member State
  • Submission Document: Download
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Expectations for the Outcome of RIO+20 Conference

Georgia views the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) as a milestone event that will mark the beginning of a profound, world-wide transition towards a green economy, that will enhance the level of integration and coherence between the social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainable development and contribute to poverty eradication.

Over the past twenty years environmental challenges on the global agenda in some areas have been solved, but considerable implementation gaps and challenges still remain. Rio+20 can address these implementation gaps and emerging challenges through the introduction of the needed reforms for sustainable development governance. Georgia sees the Conference as a significant platform to help secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development.

To operationalize the transition towards the green economy, the agreement on the elaboration of a green economy roadmap as a 21st century development model could be a valuable deliverable of the Conference. Green economy roadmap will serve as a tool to identify measurable goals, objectives and actions at international and national levels as we move towards a green economy.

In this regard, sharing and incorporation of guidelines that offer diverse and applicable approaches for various stakeholders will be essential. A vast array of existing, well-studied concepts, related to cleaner production, corporate social responsibility, environmental management system etc, could significantly contribute to the implementation and promotion of a green economy. Promotion of initiatives/innovations (scientific, business and private sector) in a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication is essential.

Sustainable energy constitutes one of the key elements of sustainable development. The role of renewable energy in contribution to a green economy should be further strengthened through innovative instruments and technology transfers. Georgia supports the Sustainable Energy for All initiative launched by the Secretary General and believes that the implementation of sustainable energy goals - universal access to a basic minimum level of modern energy services by 2030, doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030 and doubling the energy efficiency improvement rate by 2030, as proposed by the Secretary General, would significantly contribute to the process of transition towards a green economy.

Meeting sustainable energy goals may be a challenging process, especially for the low and middle-income countries. In order to achieve necessary large reductions in GHG emissions, major restructuring will be required in numerous industries, including electricity production. Hence, the elaboration of various instruments to ensure the sharing of recommendations on how to develop renewable energy services may serve as an important tool.

Water is another key priority area for the Government of Georgia. Progress in ensuring access to sanitation and safe water for all (MDG7) is essential. As a country with rich hydro resources, Georgia stands ready to promote and participate in international initiatives and partnerships to better address the ?water/energy/food security? nexus. Another key priority area for Georgia is the biodiversity protection. Georgia strongly supports the implementation of the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy. It is important to recognize the unique role of biodiversity in supporting sustainable social and economic development and to draw attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity in highlighting the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.

Georgia recognizes Environmental Education (EE) and awareness-raising campaigns at various levels as one of the major instruments for achieving the Sustainable Development goals. The crucial role of efficient, goal-oriented, broad-based environmental education and awareness-raising campaigns is obvious. Illustration of economic losses that countries suffer when they are neglecting the principles of sustainable development and its inclusion in EE and awareness raising campaigns at all levels is one of the main tools of demonstrating the importance of pursuing sustainable development policies.

Strong governmental institutions and their coordinated actions are crucial to promote a green economy and to ensure the protection of nature and wise use of natural resources. Nevertheless, the private sector also has an important role to play. The involvement of the private sector in the promotion of sustainable development and green economy objectives is currently still too weak. Rio+20 should boost discussions on active involvement of the private sector in the process of sustainability in all three pillars. The Conference should encourage countries to create an enabling environment for the private sector?s active participation in all three pillars of sustainable development at national levels.

Successful implementation of global, legally binding documents and political commitments require the introduction of effective, transparent, flexible and adequate institutions and financial mechanisms and this should be taken into account by the global conventions and IFIs as well. It is welcomed that the UNFCCC follows this example through establishment of the Green Climate Fund.

RIO+20 offers an opportunity to reinforce the architecture for sustainable development governance. Improving the coordination and coherence between the UN organizations responsible for all three pillars of sustainable development is important.

National Experience

Georgia remains committed to the Millennium Development Goals. Great strides have been made in fighting poverty; providing education, employment and shelter; improving maternal and child health, fighting HIV/AIDS; reforming the pension system and expanding the social safety net for pensioners and other socially vulnerable groups. The number of persons living beneath the poverty line has substantially decreased. However, improvements are still needed in this direction.

Georgia has undertaken specific steps in combating climate change and introducing green economy pathways. The backbone of a ?greener? economy is the hydro power potential of the country. Georgia is currently using approximately 20% of its potential, and is a net exporter of electricity. Hydro Energy generation is one of the fastest growing sectors in Georgia. At this time, over 93% of all of the electricity generated in Georgia comes from this source. In the next few years, as the new HPP?s construction is completed, Georgia is committed to shifting to 100% clean electricity consumption, as well as providing exports to foreign markets.

It is important to note that the creation of a favorable investment environment has been a large determinate in the positive growth in the field of renewable energy. The growth includes promotion of Greenfield Projects based on the Build-Own-Operate principle. Special conditions were set for small capacity power plants. The minimum number of licenses for the power production activity could be obtained on a one-stop-shop principle.

These measures were part of a broader anti-corruption strategy that was aimed at an efficient and corruption-free public sector and a competitive and corruption-free private sector. The primary focus was on the creation of a favorable investment climate based on efficiency, transparency, and the rule of law.

Furthermore, the concept of Low Emission Development Strategy in Georgia (LEDS) has been endorsed by the Government of Georgia. Tbilisi and Rustavi?s joint initiative for the EU Covenant of Mayors has resulted in the development of the Sustainable Energy Action Plan for Tbilisi, 2011- 2020. The Plan covers actions for the transport and street lighting sectors; energy efficiency in buildings; municipal landfills, waste water treatment, and green space.

Steps are also underway towards sustainable development including reducing of CO2 emissions in the capital city via various initiatives (e.g. Covenant of Mayors, Sustainable Energy Plan, etc.) and the introduction of electric vehicles. As a first step, government car fleets will be replaced by EVs.
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