Saltanat Rakhimbekova: GREEN ECONOMY AT A CROSSROADS – WHAT LIES AHEAD?

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GREEN ECONOMY AT A CROSSROADS – WHAT LIES AHEAD?

Today, May 30, marks exactly 7 years since Kazakhstan adopted the “Concept on the transition of Kazakhstan to a green economy.”
I want to make my personal comments, including critical ones, about its implementation.
This is relevant because the Concept Action Plan was presented only until 2030 and there was an order to update the Concept.
Although I believe that we need not a concept, but a program for the third five-year plan, and with recoverable investments in entire industries, as South Korea did with demonstrable success.
At the same time, the program needs to reflect the goals and indicators of SDG-2030, since 15 of the 17 SDGs are related to the green economy. There is also an acute question about continuation (or completion?) The Green Bridge Partnership program, which has spent enormous resources and political efforts. About docking it with the mega-project “One Belt – One Way,” which China declares “green.” The new green economy document should reflect this.
This year, a national climate strategy is to be adopted for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. And all this is closely related to each other.
Although the development of a new version of the Concept has been slowed down over the past two years, this is probably not bad, because first you need to update the Environmental Code and wait for changes in global trends after overcoming the global stagnation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Wait until the European Union announces a new Green Deal aimed at rebuilding the economy after the pandemic. According to the UN General Committee, Gutteres, after the pandemic, it is necessary not to return to the old economy, but to move to a new environmentally friendly way.
It is already clear that the influence of the oil industry on the global economy will significantly decrease, its profitability has fallen and new green industries urgently need to be developed to compensate for the decline in state budget revenues.

The concept of the 2013 year can be considered a consequence of a cut-down projection of Kazakhstan’s global initiatives – the Global Energy and Environment Strategy, the Green Bridge Partnership Program, the Expo 2017 exhibition (the decision on which was made in December 2012). Without such impressive international political support, this would not be possible in a country with a traditional commodity-oriented economy and unable to rapidly master innovation.

So, in 2010. Kazakhstan ranked first in the world in terms of specific greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP,
https://online.zakon.kz/Document/?doc_id=30950626), а в 2018г. according to the International Energy Agency, out of 143 countries, Kazakhstan ranked 119th in terms of energy intensity of GDP.
And the point is not only in the technological problems of enterprises that are not eager to replace dirty technologies. Pollution of the environment is strictly proportional to the low discipline and ecological consciousness of Kazakhstanis, primarily the “garbage” culture, the habit of throwing garbage not only in nature, streets, but also on their staircase. An example of an ecological and lean culture in the world is the Germans and Japanese.

The concept is more a political and declarative document, or even a protocol of intent, because the action plan for implementation until 2020. not financing, attracting any traditional international loans.
The document is therefore not a concept or a program, it does not have new principles of management and even a conceptual apparatus. There is no definition of green finance, eco-oriented business, ecosystem services, biodiversity economics, natural agriculture, green taxation, eco-settlements, sustainable cities, low-carbon technological patterns, carbon footprints, and more.
There is no list of green industries, businesses and professions and no analysis of their economic potential, despite the country’s vast natural resources.

The concept is completely inferior in quality to the previously adopted and successfully implemented Zhasyl Lady Program for 2010-2014, aimed at “green growth,” which in international terminology is approximately equivalent to a green economy. Directly in the text of the program there are 209 main events and auxiliary research work – 38, all of them with funding.
Usually, all such documents of high reform intensity in Kazakhstan are developed with the active and official participation of intergovernmental organizations, because they need high-level experts of various specializations. But here they were not involved, although UNDP, the EU, the World Bank, EBRD, ADB, etc., have been assistants in green economy initiatives for the entire current decade.

What are the results? A plan of very ambitious activities until 2020. out of 119 points, it is too congested, as a result of which it is completed by about a few percent.
The Government also did not report how much money was spent on projects under the Concept. But literally, “The total amount of investments needed to implement the Concept until 2050 will annually average about 1% of GDP ($3-4 billion).”

The goal of reducing per capita water consumption by 15% by 2020. not executed. The task of creating 400 thousand new jobs in the agricultural industry has not been met, especially since only organic agriculture belongs to the green economy, which is still very poorly deployed in Kazakhstan. Of these, it was planned to create 50 thousand jobs at the expense of greenhouse farms. Not executed.
For the tasks of creating “green” professions and jobs, the following activity “Make proposals to ensure the training, retraining and advanced training of green economy specialists within the framework of the needs of employers under the program of the Employment Roadmap 2020” (item 20 of the Action Plan) has not been completed.
“Improving the skills of financial institutions to evaluate green projects in the agricultural sector” is very important, but who does this and in which banks is unknown.
The very innovative task of creating an administrative and legal framework to stimulate the development of Contract Farming – demonstration farms with advanced green technologies and large foreign investors, with long-term agreements for wholesale and retail buyers of products

The problem of implementing the Concept is also the lack of inter-agency coordination.

What are the results? A plan of very ambitious activities until 2020. out of 119 points, it is too congested, as a result of which it is completed by about a few percent.
The Government also did not report how much money was spent on projects under the Concept. But literally, “The total amount of investments needed to implement the Concept until 2050 will annually average about 1% of GDP ($3-4 billion).”

The goal of reducing per capita water consumption by 15% by 2020. not executed. The task of creating 400 thousand new jobs in the agricultural industry has not been met, especially since only organic agriculture belongs to the green economy, which is still very poorly deployed in Kazakhstan. Of these, it was planned to create 50 thousand jobs at the expense of greenhouse farms. Not executed.
For the tasks of creating “green” professions and jobs, the following activity “Make proposals to ensure the training, retraining and advanced training of green economy specialists within the framework of the needs of employers under the program of the Employment Roadmap 2020” (item 20 of the Action Plan) has not been completed.
“Improving the skills of financial institutions to evaluate green projects in the agricultural sector” is very important, but who does this and in which banks is unknown.
The very innovative task of creating an administrative and legal framework to stimulate the development of Contract Farming – demonstration farms with advanced green technologies and large foreign investors, with long-term agreements for wholesale and retail buyers of products

The problem of implementing the Concept is also the lack of inter-agency coordination.

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