Using Data to Strike a Balance Between Ambitious Environmental Policies & International Competitiveness

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24 January 2017

On January 23 and 24th, the Green Growth Knowledge Platform convened a 1.5-day workshop that drew together leading academics, statistical experts, and database managers to discuss opportunities for improving data on green growth policies in developing countries, in order to better assess their impact on trade and economic competitiveness. 

The workshop explored answers to questions such as: What are the key data needs for assessing the competitiveness impact of green growth policies?; What data and features are available in today’s global environmental policy databases?; and, What options should be pursued to augment existing databases for competitiveness research?.  Moreover, the workshop considered additional green growth data and knowledge gaps relevant to economic competitiveness, such as gaps in assessing environmental policy stringency, enforcement and compliance, and others. 

The workshop heard presentations from leading experts in the area such as, Ann Harrison (Economist, Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania), who discussed, 'The role of environmental policy data in studies of economic competitiveness'. Other speakers included, Misato Sato (Environmental Economist, London School of Economics), Caley Johnson (National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Colorado, USA), Joëlle Noailly (Environmental Economist, Graduate Institute, Geneva), Alejandro Iza, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), Karolina Daszkiewicz, IEA (International Energy Agency), Ivan Haščič, OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), Sarah Booth, (Consultant – GGKP Trade and Competitiveness Research Committee), Florian Bauer, REEEP (Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership), and Clara Brandi, DIE-GDI (Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik / German Development Institute).

As an outcome, the workshop developed a summary of concrete next steps, including that the Trade and Competetiveness Research Committee work on an outline of an action plan project proposal aimed at augmenting existing databases for assessing the competitiveness impact of green growth policies in developing countries.


In 2015, the GGKP Trade and Competitiveness Research Committee published the scoping study “Measuring Environmental Action and Economic Performance in Developing Countries”, which comprehensively assesses of how environmental policy stringency has been measured to date, outlines definitional and conceptual challenges, and identifies key knowledge gaps where further research efforts are needed, including new data collection and measurement systems.

One critical gap identified in the study was the lack of data on environmental policies in effect in developing countries - a key starting point for evaluating their stringency effects on trade and green growth. To address this gap, the GGKP Trade and Competitiveness Research Committee convened this workshop to explore the potential for developing an online global database on policies to support the green economy transition, with an explicit effort to capture policies in developing countries.