Road to recovery: mapping a sustainable economy

IIED's paper on the green economy has helped to guide Commonwealth heads of government.

News, 07 December 2009

An IIED advocacy paper, commissioned by the Commonwealth Foundation, helped to focus the recent Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Trinidad on the imperatives of climate change in the short term, and of economic resilience in the longer term. 

The paper is titled 'Road to recovery: mapping a sustainable economy', and is written by Steve Bass and Tighe Geoghegan.

Discussing the paper in his speech, Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma described it as:

"Engaging, because it offers both different perspectives, and the same perspectives differently put. Challenging, particularly in the way it makes us think about the value, rather than the indeterminate status of the informal economy.

grain"Enlightening, in pointing out that so many of our solutions (especially in areas like climate change) lie not with governmental or intergovernmental bodies, but with long-standing local communities, and local civil society organisations.

"And it is clever, in that it thinks out of the box on climate change, and asks us to look beyond low-carbon solutions to those which nurture environmental assets such as soils, water and biodiversity.

"It makes the simple point that while there may be deal-making between governments – here, and in Copenhagen next week – many of the solutions are before our very eyes, in the more immediate and less structured world of civil society, social enterprise, and the informal economy.

"Innovative, challenging thinking – departing from conventional track."


Dr. Mark Collins, Director, Commonwealth Foundation, writing in the introduction to the report, commented: "The world has a unique but brief opportunity to tackle several major challenges together. Evidence of the linked causes of financial, energy and climate crises – and not just their symptoms – is on the table. Financial architecture is being redesigned, and huge fiscal resources are being deployed.

"The public is increasingly open to transformative action towards a more sustainable and equitable world. This unprecedented moment must neither be wasted nor co-opted by a privileged few. With thought and conviction, the current crisis could be an opportunity to make some key shifts."

Notes to editors

The paper was commissioned from the IIED by the Commonwealth Foundation. It was based on consultations with leading Commonwealth civil society figures in development and environment.