Across Europe and Central Asia: Growing Green Economies

February 27, 2014

World Bank Group

Reconciling climate change and economic growth presents great opportunities and challenges for leaders around the globe. To discuss new ways of addressing growth in a changing world, about 110 government officials and international policymakers from Europe and Central Asia met in Warsaw in May 2013 at the inaugural international conference of the Economics of Green Growth Peer-Assisted Learning Network. The Network is supported by the World Bank, and participants came to learn from each other and to discuss a broad range of green growth challenges and solutions.

What Works in Montenegro Could Work in Tajikistan

The inaugural conference of the Economics of Green Growth Peer-Assisted Learning Network was timely and important, according to participants. "If we want to make sure we give humanity the chance to enjoy a decent life, we need to ensure growth that provides jobs, while at the same time protecting and improving the state of the environment," said Aneta Wilmańska of Poland’s Ministry of Environment.

The focus was on building a network for sharing ideas and technical cooperation among senior government specialists from Ministries of Finance, Economy, and Environment on the economics of climate change and green growth. World Bank staff and officials from Europe and Central Asian countries joined key experts to identify common interests.

" “It’s really important. It gives us an opportunity to see other countries’ expectations and practices. And so I believe that this is very important and it’s very productive.”  "

Simay Erdoĝan

Turkey's Ministry of Environment

Štefan Kišš, with Slovakia’s Ministry of Finance, agreed. "This knowledge transfer is very relevant for countries like ours, so we are keen to learn a lot."

Networking in Person and Online

The new Network will rely on periodic conferences and workshops simiilar to this one, and will be reinforced with a web-based knowledge-sharing platform. The green growth issues covered are broad, ranging from carbon pricing and energy subsidies to green jobs and exports. Other topics include green investments and technologies, and the costs and potential benefits of climate change mitigation.

The Network is a platform for a regional sharing of ideas, strategies, and practical information. "Each of you in government needs to be watching what your counterparts in other governments are up to, what they are doing, how they are dealing with practical problems of implementation," said Erika Jorgensen, Economic Advisor with the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management unit of the World Bank's Europe and Central Asia region. "What have they learned when they have tried to get households to save energy?"

Vita Valiūnaitė, with Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, agreed that a regional approach to green growth makes sense. "Most important for me is to meet others here and to share our expertise, because we have a specific regional approach about how we’re dealing with green growth in Eastern Europe."

Participants left the conference eager to continue their collaborations. The next steps are an online "meeting place" and the dissemination of practical implementation knowledge about green growth strategies and operations for Europe and Central Asia.