Addressing the global challenge of climate change and its social, environmental and economic impacts underscores the urgency of a transition to a green economy. Proposals for a green economy have emerged in recent years as a paradigm for economic growth that focuses on resource efficiency, low carbon and ecological footprints, and increased social inclusion, but is also critical for sustainable development and poverty alleviation.

Such a global transition requires enterprises to drastically improve their energy and resource efficiency, shift to cleaner sources of energy, and provide new green job opportunities. New sources of income from the sustainable use of forestry, agriculture and biodiversity, economic sectors for which the world’s poorest communities are most dependent, must also be developed. The role of innovation in development, diffusion and deployment of green technologies is critical in achieving this global economic transition.

The General Assembly has decided that a green economy within the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication will be one of the themes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), to be held in Brazil in 2012. The UN’s green economy activities are being developed in a way that supports the sustainable development aspirations of developing countries and balances the three pillars of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental).