The major emerging economies – India, China, South Africa, and Brazil – have increasingly become key actors in moves to address global environmental challenges such as climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and resource scarcity. They will also play a pivotal role in any transition to a global Green Economy, which was one of the priority areas of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) which took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012.
In recent years, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) established environmental dialogue mechanisms, particularly with India and China. Furthermore, and in close cooperation with other ministries, subordinate authorities, and associations, several environmental fora have been established. With the Rio+20 conference in mind, there was a clear need for this kind of environmental cooperation with emerging economies, particularly as regards green economy. To make the Rio+20 process successful and effective, key stakeholders from emerging economies took on a real role in the process; these included civil society, government representatives, private sector and think tanks.
During the preparatory process and after the Rio conference, this project sought to foster dialogue with decision makers and to put new Green Economy issues and political initiatives on the agenda. This included national and international efforts for low carbon development in addition to broader and multi-sectoral environmental challenges, which must always be addressed according to the respective country’s needs. For example, urban pollution, strain on ecosystems, and water supply are all starting points for bilateral cooperation towards a green economy.