Capacity building for policy makers in member countries

WITH green infrastructure becoming a popular vehicle of sustainable economic growth, the Asian Development Bank believes it could also be critical to poverty reduction in the Pacific Island Countries.

According to the ADB PIC have experienced significant economic growth in the past two decades by increasing their trade integration in Asia and the Pacific region with PIC exports increasing by 169 per cent over the past 20 years, reaching $US9.6 billion ($19b) in 2013.

It said food and live animals accounted for 17 per cent of exports while crude and mineral oils comprised the bulk of export earnings between 1993 and 2013.

Despite the economic growth and developments natural calamities, remote geography, scattered populations, and lack of economies of scale have largely marred economic growth, undermining poverty reduction goals.

It said market fluctuations in fuel and food prices periodically created food insecurity leaving thousands without social safety nets except for family ties.

In its bid to promote discussion on the state, challenges and opportunities facing green infrastructure development, the ADB Institute will organise a workshop on green infrastructure and poverty reduction in Papua New Guinea from July 26 to 27.

The workshop is aimed to enhance the capacity of policy makers in ADB’s developing member countries (DMC) to increase gains from green infrastructure projects to foster sustainable growth and reduce poverty.

ADBI also hopes the two-day workshop would increase understanding among policy makers in ADB’s DMCs for the linkage between green infrastructure development and poverty reduction; and allow the participants to brainstorm innovative ways to reduce poverty by developing cost-effective green infrastructure projects.

According to ADB the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources will save PICs millions in fuel costs and make them self-sufficient and independent of devastating international market shocks.

It said the freed-up resources could be channelled into critical public healthcare, and education programs to improve capital and human development resources for long term economic growth and ultimately reduce absolute and relative poverty.

The Cook Islands, Fiji, and Vanuatu have already pledged to increase their renewable energy production to 100 per cent by 2030.

Other countries are slowly following their initiative.

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