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Green Economy Transition: A Kazakh Initiative

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W MUSAVIR:

NUR SULTAN: Kazakhstan has taken a lead among Central Asian countries in mapping a path towards a green economy. While environmental degradation has often been discussed, only recently have environmental concerns begun to be addressed within the mainstream economy. In 2011 the Kazakhstan government asked IIED to help define its approach to ‘greening’ the economy. Focused initially on the Green Bridge Partnership Programme of investments, in a positive step the Kazakhstan government adopted its own Green Economy Concept, which provides the overall policy context. This report analyses progress to date and makes ten recommendations on the enabling conditions needed for Kazakhstan to achieve a substantial transition to a green economy.

The concept of green economy is channelized almost in every event of Kazakhstan. Following the trend the same was a part of the Astana Economic Forum- 2019. On the second day of the AES, full-fledged report was presented by various speakers of the Forum. The key issues that were discussed were, New industries of green business and reform of national and international policies to create legal, economic and institutional conditions for transiting to the sustainable green economic growth; Clean technology transfer mechanisms, joint investments and demonstration projects for the transition to green economy and the preservation of common ecosystems; Standards for green economy; Sustainable energy, its availability and efficiency; Adaptation to climate change and natural disasters; Access to sustainable energy sources, use of renewable energy sources, efficient energy consumption with fair and equitable access for all; Sustainable urban systems: “green” construction, “green” infrastructure, planning processes for the man-made environment, including smart city technologies and environmental design; Climate change resilience, reduction of climatic risks and emergency risks and adaptation to the climate change consequences, including introduction of risk management systems including insurance.

The Forum was attended by Sabit Nurlybay, Vice Minister of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Rae Kwon Chung, The Global Energy Prize International Award Committee Chairman and Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. the other speakers included Tareq Emtairah, Director, Energy and Climate Change- UNIDO; Craig Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Dhahran Technology Development Company; Rapil Zhoshybayev, Head of the International Centre for Green Technologies and Investment Projects; Vincent Duijnhouwer, Associate Director, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Department, EBRD; Guy Eames, Chairman, Green Building Council, Russia; Aidar Kazybayev, Managing Director of the Astana International Financial Center.

Saltanat Rakhimbekova, Chairman of the Board of the “Coalition for a Green Economy and “G-Global” Development and Member of the Council on the Transition to a Green Economy reporting to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan stressed on the Development of International Cooperation to ensure “green” growth in Central Asia and Kazakhstan.

The event discussed the better regional coordination on green growth policies and going beyond, adopting what is expected with COP 21 and the relevant set of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and doing things on the ground and in implementation. The regional coordination and connectivity are extremely important, because Kazakhstan is a landlocked country. The country needs to attract investment to improve connectivity, be it under the Belt and Roads Initiative, in a sustainable way and in a transparent way.

Currently, all countries in the world have committed to follow the path to sustainable development. The main tool for sustainable development is a green economy, that is, a system of economic activities related to the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services, that would lead to a better well-being in the long term, without exposing future generations to significant environmental risks or ecological scarcity. Relying on the “green” economy gave push to the new technological order that replaced the carbon-based and eco-wasteful approaches. The concept of “green economy” provides a comprehensive interaction and harmony between the three components of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. At the same time, the model of green economy is just a complement, not a replacement for the model of sustainable development.

“Our centre will revive the Green Bridge partnership program and give a new impetus to such a great international intuitive of Kazakhstan. 16 countries and 16 organizations have already joined it,” Zhoshybayev told a roundtable themed Sustainable urban infrastructure of Kazakhstan: green construction characteristics in Astana. He also added that China and the Republic of Korea are expected to join the program this year. “The use of potential of energy and hydro-efficiency in buildings in Kazakhstan may lead both to saving of energy, improvement in air quality, preservation of water resources and use of the latest construction technologies,” he stressed.

The central function of the new endeavour is to build a culture of green societies and address environmental issues through the development of green technologies in Kazakhstan, with the idea that they will then be promoted and replicated in other Central Asian states. The centre is called upon to solve the tasks of transforming the energy sector, supporting the transition to green business, and applying green technology best practices.  First President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev initiated the project, and it is hoped that it will serve as an ideological continuation of the legacy of EXPO 2017.

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