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Sustainable Development through ‘green economics’

Why the UK believes that tackling climate change and implementing sustainable energy policies are not only environmental issues – rather, they are matters of prosperity and security

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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David Vincent, the UK Government’s Regional Head for Climate Change and Energy, recently visited Burma to take part in the third Green Economy Green Growth Forum that was held from 20-22 November. The forum looked at the rapid change in Burma and, in particular, the challenging choices President Thein Sein’s government faces in order to achieve its stated objective of green growth, while balancing the needs of foreign investors, preserving the environment and maintaining rural development.

At the event David explained that the UK believes tackling climate change is essential and not merely an environmental issue – rather, it is an issue of prosperity and security, particularly in the context of achieving economic growth. He said:

Climate change poses a fundamental threat to global prosperity and security. A low carbon, green economy is the only pathway to sustainable, long-term economic growth. The stability of the global economic system depends on reliable and sustained access to key resources like energy, food, water, and raw materials. Unsustainable use of such resources will create resource shortages and increasing competition for ever-depleting resources, threatening global security as well as the global climate and economy. The UK continues to reach out internationally on climate change, to share our own experiences, and to help others who share our goal of a low carbon future”.

Potential for UK-Burma green collaboration

The UK is showing leadership on climate change, to support low-carbon development at home and abroad. Our International Climate Fund commits the UK to spend almost £4 billion by 2016 to help developing countries on climate change. Here in Burma, political and economic reform is progressing apace. We welcome this and believe that it presents opportunities for Burma and the UK to work more closely across three broad low-carbon areas.

  1. Low-carbon policy development: Burma is not yet locked into carbon intensive infrastructures. There is an opportunity to choose the fast-track path to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy. Such advanced planning can be far less costly than upgrading existing infrastructures. To achieve this, climate change needs to be integrated into the policy planning and budgeting processes. UK has pioneered legally-binding low-carbon legislation and we would be happy to share our experiences.

  2. Low-carbon investment and infrastructure: UK businesses have been key to driving the UK’s burgeoning low-carbon economy. Their expertise (link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORFsWIb9H-Q) in low-carbon energy, technologies and business practices could, I believe, be of benefit to Burma.

  3. International negotiations. Burma signed up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992. The UK looks forward to working with Burma, and other parties, to ensure a truly global response to the global challenges of climate change.

Further information

A full transcript of David’s speech can be found here

For more on the UK’s low carbon expertise please take a look at this video.

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The UK’s climate change and energy work in Burma is lead by the British Embassy’ Prosperity Team. We want to work with Government, Parliament business, civil society and international organisations to support the establishment of transparent and stable regulatory regimes and the promotion of economic policies that underpin strong, sustainable, balanced and low carbon growth. Funding will be available for projects to help us reach these targets. Details will be published on this website in due course. In the meantime, if you have any questions or suggestions relating to Prosperity please send them to Rangoon.Prosperity@fco.gov.uk

Published 22 November 2013