«Green Bridge» as a unifying factor
Oct 01. Kazpravda
By Rysty ALIBEKOVA
An International Conference on «Green Bridge» Partnership Program and the International specialized exhibition «EXPO-2017 in Astana” was held yesterday in Astana with participation of Kazakhstan and Spain PMs.
The conference, organized by RK Ministry of Environmental Protection in partnership with the UNDP, was attended by the heads of environmental agencies of the European Union, Central Asia and other neighboring countries, representatives of international organizations and private companies, state bodies of Kazakhstan, as well as the international experts in clean energy area and «green» growth.
Welcoming the participants of the conference, Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov stressed that our country took this initiative because Kazakhstan’s economy is stable enough, and we are actively developing oil and gas, and mining and metallurgy industry. But we can not forget about the other side of the industrial progress – a negative impact on ecosystem and depletion of resources. Water resources are not always rationally used. Therefore there is a need to modernize water and energy infrastructure.
– We have made the first step in this direction, i.e. we have analyzed the situation, — said S. Akhmetov, – and the second step was the development of the concept for Kazakhstan’s transition to «green» economy, which was approved by the President’s Decree.
The high status of this document includes a number of measures to save water resources, modernize energy with the aim to reduce energy intensity in the economy.
In today’s world, where almost every challenge has global significance, these problems can not be addressed in isolation from a single ecosystem, said the Prime Minister. The relationship of our regional ecosystems is so strong, that internal problems are the problems of all Central Asia, and vice versa. That is why the PM called the neighboring countries unite efforts under the partnership program «GreenBridge». The program has ambitious objectives — to increase energy efficiency and energy conservation, to introduce renewable energy and moisture saving technologies, to improve waste disposal.
As stated S. Ahmetov further progress and steady growth and, ultimately, long-term and stable well-being of citizens is unthinkable without performing these tasks.
– The partnership program «GreenBridge» is open to all who share our vision for sustainable future. And we are open to all who will offer new technologies, share experience or give specific advice, — concluded the head of the Government.
In turn, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Spain, Mariano Rajoy noted his country’s willingness to assist to Kazakhstan in the development of «green» economy.
– Kazakhstan is committed to sustainable development, and I am sure that the factor of environment will play an increasingly important role in our cooperation, — he said. — The sector of environmental protection is an area in which our companies are technologically advanced. They used modern technologies first in our country, and then began to export them around the world, including to Kazakhstan, where our cooperation is very fruitful, especially in the sphere of processing of municipal waste.
Spanish Prime Minister also noted huge potential of Kazakhstan in the development of «green economy»:
– We appreciate the efforts made by your country to modernize economy, and the role played by renewable energy in the new plans of RK Government in the frames of the Strategy-2050.
In addition, M. Rajoy marked the increase of the Spanish exports to Kazakhstan. The fact that their export to our republic has grown significantly over the last 3 years is a sign of growing interest of Spanish entrepreneurs in our country. Thus, it doubled in 2011; in 2012 it grew by 68% and for the first half of this year reached 209 million euros, exceeding the annual volume of 2012.
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation Sergey Donskov supported the creation of the Charter of partnership program «Green Bridge», justifying the view by the fact that this document will contribute to creation of financial and technical incentives to start «green» growth. According to the Russian minister, development of «green» economy is impossible without combined efforts of the state and business, which should be actively engaged in this process.
– First of all, only through this way we can make the necessary legislative changes, and second, provide financial support to promising «green» initiatives, — said S. Donskov.
The Minister of Natural Resources and Environment invited the Kazakh side to take part in the upcoming All-Russian Congress of Ecologists in Moscow, which will be held for the first time in 10 years, and thereby it will allow to continue the discussion on this topic. According to S. Donskov, today Kazakhstan is the Russia’s first and priority partner in the area of cooperation for conservation of environment in the region.
During the panel sessions of the conference RK Minister of Environmental Protection N. Kapparov, former foreign minister and vice-chancellor of Germany Joschka Fischer, director of Department for Environment and Development of ESCAP, Nobel laureate Rae Kwon Chung (Thailand), director of the Climate Change Service — PwC Richard Gledhill (UK) and others made presentations.
The participants discussed the issues related to the country’s transition to «green» modernization: sustainable management of water and other natural resources, renewable energy, agriculture and climate change.
One of the sessions of the conference was devoted to the Concept of Kazakhstan’s transition to “green” economy — a key tool for sustainable development. In this context, the International specialized exhibition «EXPO-2017 in Astana» will create additional incentives for «green» economic modernization. This, in turn, will allow Kazakhstan to achieve its strategic goal — to join the top 30 countries with most advanced economies.
It is assumed that the partnership program «GreenBridge» will act as a regional coordinator and international contributor to the development and introduction of clean technologies, and will facilitate the development of innovative investment solutions for real and economically sound projects in key sectors for sustainable growth of «green» economy.
The Partnership Program «GreenBridge», as a practical mechanism of transition to «green» economy, will bring together governments, international organizations, public and business sectors in Europe, Asia and Pacific Ocean.
The conference was a key step in the implementation and recognition of Astana initiative as a platform for dialogue and an integration tool in Asia and Europe in the field of «green» growth.
Following the conference the participants signed the Charter on Cooperation in the framework of the partnership program «GreenBridge».