UN World Economic and Social Survey 2011

UN World Economic and Social Survey 2011

UN World Economic and Social Survey 2011 to be launched by Manuel Montes at Ninth Annual Rhodes Forum Session on October 6-10, 2011

UN report calls for major investments in new technologies in developing countries to build green economies. Need for immediate gains in energy efficiency, agricultural production and disaster reduction.

Major investments will be needed worldwide in the development and scaling up of clean energy technologies, sustainable farming and forestry techniques, climate-proofing of infrastructure, and in technologies reducing non-biodegradable waste production, according to The World Economic and Social Survey 2011: The Great Green Technological Transformation, published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA).

The report says the technological overhaul will need to be on the scale of the first industrial revolution. Over the next 40 years, $1.9 trillion per year will be needed for incremental investments in green technologies. At least one-half, or $1.1 trillion per year, of the required investments will need to be made in developing countries to meet their rapidly increasing food and energy demands through the application of green technologies.

Since the first industrial revolution, world income and population have grown exponentially, but so have energy demand and the production of waste and pollutants. As a result, the global environment’s capacity to cope with human activity has reached its limits, according to the report. About half of the earth’s forests are gone, groundwater resources are being depleted and contaminated, enormous losses in biodiversity have already occurred, and climate change threatens the stability of all ecosystems.

At the same time, about 40 per cent of humanity, or 2.7 billion people, rely on traditional biomass, such as wood, dung and charcoal, for their energy needs. And 20 per cent have no access to electricity, mainly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

To achieve a decent living standard for people in developing countries, especially the 1.4 billion still living in extreme poverty, and the additional 2 billion people expected worldwide by 2050, much greater economic progress is needed, the report says.

For the full text of the report and more information, see http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/wess/index.shtml