Emphasising that policies need to be “people centric”, top officials of global agencies today said that robust growth should have a large impact on the poor and help in eradicating poverty.
Participating in a session on ‘Tackling Climate, Development and Growth’ at the WEF annual meet, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stressed that everyone should strive to make a world where “nobody is left behind”.
“All policies must be people centric. We should make a world where nobody is left behind. Must utilise women and youth to their full potential,” he said.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said that robust growth should have large impact on the poor, in order to eradicate poverty.
“We have to change poverty elasticity of growth… Most importantly the relationship between growth and poverty needs to be changed. That would have a bigger impact,” he said.
According to the UN chief, there should be partnership between government and business leaders, who in turn can use vast supply chain networks. The civil society should come together, he added.
Noting that sustainable development and climate change are not two different things, he said these are two sides of the same coin.
“Legally speaking people approach them with different tracks. But basically they are one and the same thing,” he said.
National development and climate change should go together while investments in climate change would have significant impact in generating jobs and development, Ki-Moon added.
Meanwhile, the World Bank chief said that with falling crude oil prices, now is the time for developing countries “to get away with the fuel subsidies”.
According to Kim, there should be a framework for financing the development goals. “These will cost money but we have to do much more than that,” he added.
Agencies have to make their priorities and investments should be made in health, education and information and communication technology areas, among others.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, who was among the audience, said that in a world where growth is low and fiscal position is limited, a lot of imagination needs to be used.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that by 2030 the world would make a massive investment in infrastructure, cities and agriculture.
“If this spending is directed towards low-carbon growth, we will be on our way to climate-resilient societies,” he added.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said that with an aggressive move towards clean transport and greater energy efficiency policies, the world economy could be boosted by USD 1.8 to 2.6 trillion annually.
“We have to include the private sector in a way that we have never done before. We need to make growth robust [and make it] have an effect on poverty,” he said.
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame said that many developing countries are “leapfrogging” with new technologies to combat climate change.
Simple initiatives, such as reducing de-forestation by providing cooking stoves and involving women and young people in climate change and sustainable development, he added.
“You have to begin at home in terms of land management and use of resources… It is important to involve everybody. As we look forward to development, we are not making a choice between environment and prosperity; we are trying to combine both,” he noted.
A Michael Spence, William R Berkley Professor in Economics and Business, NYU Stern School of Business, Italy, said there is a choice between an energy-efficient, low-carbon path or an energy-intensive, high-carbon path that will end catastrophically.
“The good news is that you don’t pay much of a price in terms of growth by getting on the energy-efficient, low-carbon growth path,” he noted.
Unilever CEO Paul Polman urged business leaders to pursue growth and job creation, but to make it sustainable.
“Translate commitment into action in your companies…We have an opportunity to show politicians that there are solutions and that they are better from an economic and sustainable point of view,” he added.