Towards Green Growth in Emerging Market Economies: Evidence from environmental performance reviews

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March 2019
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

This paper, Towards Green Growth in Emerging Market Economies: Evidence from environmental performance reviews, provides a cross-country review of progress towards green growth in selected emerging market economies that are members or partners of the OECD. It presents the main achievements in the countries reviewed, along with common trends and policy challenges, and provides insights into the effectiveness and efficiency of green growth policy frameworks and measures, which may provide useful lessons for other OECD and partner countries.

Economic growth has helped lift millions of people out of poverty in emerging market economies (EMEs). Many of them are adopting new strategies, policies and governance structures aimed at improving environmental performance. However, growing environmental damage and resource degradation pose significant risks for EMEs, which depend on natural resources. Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey are among the top 10 OECD and partner countries in terms of contribution of subsoil assets to economic growth. EMEs are also vulnerable to climate change, water scarcity, soil degradation, biodiversity loss and pollution.

Emerging market economies need strategic direction and supporting institutional frameworks to fully align growth and environmental objectives. Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, South Africa and Turkey have all begun to set sustainable development or green growth strategic frameworks, or to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals in their economic development planning documents. Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru have also developed, or are in the process of developing, a set of green growth indicators tailored to the circumstances of their countries, drawing on the OECD’s 2011 Green Growth Indicator framework. However, all countries face governance and implementation challenges, partly due to inadequate human and financial capacity. Where ministerial and other co-ordinating bodies relating to green growth are in place, they are often not strong enough to break down silos across institutions and policies. Responsibilities for delivering results are often not clearly identified, and there is no mechanism to hold those with responsibilities accountable for delivering results.