Green economy in South East Asia, how far is it?

On 6th and 7th of March 2015, Green Lotus Head of Mission, Yves Marry, was invited to Ho Chi Min City (Vietnam) to speak about Myanmar’s strategy for Green Growth in a regional policy dialogue, under “Economy and Environment Program for South East Asia” (EEPSEA) and Worldfish program.

Entitled “Policy dialogue on a transition to green economy in South East Asia”, this 2 days conference gathered researchers, practitioners and policy makers from every country of the region.

The “Vietnam Green Growth Strategy”, as well as Taiwan’s strategy for green economy were exposed and discussed, before the “Myanmar Platform for Dialogue on Green Growth” was explained in details to participants.

Even if Myanmar doesn’t share the same political and economic priorities than its neighbours, with more emergencies on democratic process, education or poverty reduction, a consensus emerged than it is relevant to start early engaging on sustainable development, as it allows to avoid “transition costs” and to preserve natural capital.

Hundreds of examples show countries or cities that are now trying to “switch” toward a “green economic model” and spend a lot of money for it. For instance by developing decentralized renewable energy in rural areas or public transport in cities when a national grid based on fossil energy is already set up or when all is about car circulation, with bridges and no space for bicycle lines… Organic agriculture is another example, as when the soils are damaged with chemicals and pesticides, transition time to organic is a waste of money.

Aside from those very interesting debates, participants learned about experiences such as:

  • Organic label for coffee in Indonesia: impact on economic, environmental and social benefits, compared to non labelled coffee => where we learn that it depends on the category of coffee, that Fair trade is the best for the farmers,  because of the extra cost in organic, and that only a strong engagement of the Government can mitigate those extra costs.
  • Study from Taiwan on “terror theory” in marketing adapted to green awareness campaigns => where we learn that to convince people efficiently, we need to frighten them. Which then raises ethical questions such as: if consumer society is the main cause of environment problems, then should we use its weapons to mitigate its consequences…?
  • Study from Thailand on electricity consumption when we have information on neighbour’s consumption…
  • Many other interesting studies…

All the presentations are available by clicking here.