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High-level panel discussion at EU Green Week

On 4 June, UNEP held a high level panel discussion titled “Green and Circular: Resource Efficient Economies for Sustainability - a Small Island Developing States Perspective.” The panel discussed how to best create the right conditions for a green economy in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), while focusing for example on measures that enable private investors to contribute to sustainable development.

The participants also identified appropriate support and partnerships for action at regional and national levels, and spoke about how ongoing initiatives such as the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), the implementation of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP) and the so called EC-supported SWITCH programmes can play an important role in this transition.

The panel was attended by Karl Falkenberg (Director-General for Environment, European Commission), Michele Candotti (Chief, UNEP Executive Office and Principal Advisor to the Executive Director), Osman Mahomed (Executive Chairman of the Commission on Sustainable Development of Mauritius), and Len Ishmael (Head of Mission, Embassies of the Eastern Caribbean States to the Kingdom of Belgium and Missions to the European Union).

Moderator Anya Sitaram of Rockhopper TV sparked discussions of the unique vulnerabilities which Small Island Developing States face in terms of access to resources, technology, and capital, as well as the valuable contributions these states provide to the rest of the world as havens of rich biodiversity. The sharing of “best practices” as well as a holistic approach, tailored to the scale of these small states and focused on sectors such as tourism waste management, and climate adaptation, was discussed as a way to ensure a smooth transition to a Green Economy. Education and healthcare in particular were mentioned as potential drivers of sustainable practices by Mr Mahomed, who said it is his goal to make Mauritius a “hub of sustainable development education.” It was concluded that a global effort and shared responsibility over the sustainable production and consumption of resources is necessary. Sustainable practices already undertaken by many SIDS were praised as good examples for the rest of the world of “living within planetary boundaries” by Mr Candotti.

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