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Sound environmental management is fundamental for green growth, sustainable development and poverty reduction. This core message from the 1992 Rio Earth Summit remains all the more valid today as we prepare for Rio+20.
Emerging-market economies and developing countries are heavily reliant on their endowments of environmental resources. Therefore, improved management of these resources can have huge benefits in terms of industrial production, job creation and incomes, export growth and fiscal revenues. However, despite sustained efforts to promote better and more effective environmental management over several decades, the natural resource base continues to deteriorate in many parts of the world. The greatest impact is felt by developing countries with fewer financial resources to address the challenges of environmental degradation, to adapt to changing environments and to pursue green growth strategies.
To reverse this trend, developing countries and donor agencies have to work together to better integrate environmental issues in their policy reform agendas. Such a strategy can have many advantages and positive policy spill-overs: strengthened capacity for environmental management will empower individuals, organisations and society as a whole, and it can create a more transparent governance of environmental and natural resources. While capacity development for the environment is the responsibility of domestic actors, international donors can play an important role in supporting developing countries.
It is against this background that OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and Environmental Policy Committee (EPOC) have combined their expertise to develop this report Greening Development: Enhancing Capacity for Environmental Management and Governance. The report distils lessons learned from the experience of donors and partner countries in incorporating the environment at the national and sectoral levels. It also reflects a shift from the traditional view of capacity development as a purely technical process to one that recognises the importance of country ownership at different levels in governments and society. The report thus advocates the application of country systems as entry points for capacity development for the environment.
This report outlines a number of steps to be considered when building capacity for effective integration of environmental issues into national development plans, national budgetary processes and key economic sector strategies. It identifies the key actors to be engaged in decision-making processes, outlines possible capacity needs and suggests how these can be addressed. In addition, it provides recommendations for donors on how they can support partner countries in strengthening capacity development for the environment and what internal capacity donors themselves may need in order to effectively provide this support.
We hope that this report will assist international donors and developing country partners in their efforts to achieve greener and more inclusive growth.

OECD stands ready to support these efforts.

Angel Gurría Secretary-General, OECD