How well are we doing?
Editor's note: We will soon be updating our policy comparisons and case studies to include our 12 newest countries: Germany, Serbia, South Korea, USA, Ethiopia, Australia, Spain, Italy, Nigeria, Turkey, Indonesia, Japan.
Economies are complex and diverse systems, but all countries have an economic backbone of key sectors or industries: energy, agri-food, transport, construction, heavy industry, and so on. A Green sectoral policy plan to guide these sectors towards sustainability – and an advisory body to implement it – can help divide the task of going green into manageable pieces, tailored to the unique sectors and industries of each country.
All 20 of the countries covered have made some limited progress on guiding key sectors towards sustainability, although only a quarter have started to match targets with compliance and monitoring. Some weak green sectoral planning with limited coverage of important sectors, or a focus mainly on climate issues, is most common - leaves much room for improvement.
France and Canada, thanks to ambitious governments and strong technical expertise, have both successfully set up advisory bodies to coordinate green reform within and across sectors. But somewhat stronger sectoral plans are also present in Bangladesh and Morocco who - via their national development strategies - have cross-sectoral advisory bodies on sustainable development, integrating sectoral transitions plans for waste or solar energy into planning. Uganda is also a stand-out performer, with its Uganda Green Growth Development Strategy providing strategic direction for high-potential green growth sectors, and a cross-sectoral body in place to help achieve green economy targets.
About this policy
A Green sectoral policy plan will prioritise different sectors from country to country. Food, transport, buildings and energy are likely to be critical everywhere, but sectors like mining or fisheries may be even more important for some countries. Sectoral plans will map out different policies, experts and regulations for each key sector, but also identify the interconnections and cross-cutting issues that bind different industries into a coherent whole.
The priority for planning should be sectors with the highest environmental impact, where reform is essential – most often energy and transport, but potentially also sectors like forestry or manufacturing. Sectors which are ready to transition quickly, thanks to mature technology or political will, are also key. Once priority areas are identified, setting a clear path for both public and private sector investment to contribute to sustainability is essential.
The strongest policies will establish an inter-sectoral agency to oversee planning, backed at ministerial level and empowered to set enforceable regulations. Weaker approaches may focus on decarbonisation for only a few sectors, lack details on implementation or investment, or limit agencies to only an advisory or coordinating role. Many countries are only just starting to scope priority sectors with high environmental footprints, and have yet to develop robust transition planning.
Case Study: Uganda
Uganda’s strong sectoral planning approach to a green economy transition sets it apart from its peers, not to mention richer countries with much greater technical capacity. The new Uganda Green Growth Development Strategy (2018) is the core of this approach and lays out five priority sectors for attention: agriculture, natural capital, cities, transport and energy. Implementation is overseen by a multi-sectoral group of advisory agencies, ministries and local government actors, which is in turn steered by a coordination framework with ministerial buy-in and led by the national planning authority, ensuring financial accountability and delivery. The final piece of this three-pillar framework is civil society, community and cooperative groups, who are empowered to report up from the local level to ensure accountability and citizen oversight.Uganda Country Profile