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Road to recovery: mapping a sustainable economy

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An IIED advocacy paper, commissioned by the Commonwealth Foundation, helped to focus the 2009 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.

‘Road to recovery: mapping a sustainable economy’ was the result of a consultation with leading Commonwealth civil society figures in environment, development and finance.

Steve Bass, IIED Senior Fellow and principal author, said ‘There is growing consensus that we need resilient economies – not the debt-fuelled, consumption-driven economic growth that is stressing planetary boundaries and not producing real wellbeing. Two aspects of a resilient economy – tackling climate change and installing low-carbon energy and infrastructure – are at a critical point in negotiations in Copenhagen next week.

But we caution against Copenhagen neglecting two other areas. One: investing in the soils, water bodies, forests and other ‘natural capital’ that can sustain health and satisfying livelihoods, especially for poorer groups. And two: creating conditions to unleash the power of the legitimate informal economy, social enterprise and civil society to help ordinary people to cope in times of difficulty.

Getting a greener economy is not just a question of putting the banks and big business back on a stable footing’.

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