Sharing Experience in Promoting Green Growth
The state of Himachal Pradesh in India recognized the need to design its development strategy that included policies for sustainable management of natural resources and inclusive economic growth. Mexico had experience with including green growth and managing climate change into their own development agenda. Himachal Pradesh officials engaged Mexican counterparts in a knowledge exchange that inspired them to benefit from the lessons learned by Mexico.
The state of Himachal Pradesh in the Indian Himalayas is of major environmental importance to neighboring states and one of the country’s main sources of clean energy through hydropower. The three rivers that flow through Himachal Pradesh join the river Indus, bringing water to more than 200 million people. The Government of Himachal Pradesh introduced a series of reforms focused on an environmentally sustainable model of economic growth, ensuring sustainable development of the state’s vast natural resources. As a means to effectively implement climate change action plans and payments for environmental services, the reforms also included strengthening the coordination across different sectors, including energy, watershed management, environment and industrial development, and sustainable tourism. The Government of Himachal Pradesh officials wanted to learn from successful experiences in adopting a consistent approach to climate change across different levels of government and sectors, and engaging a variety of stakeholders in promoting green growth while sustaining natural resources.
Mexico was chosen as a knowledge provider due to the progress it made in stipulating green growth across different sectors of the economy while effectively utilizing its natural assets and engaging communities and civil society organizations in the process. Specifically, the state of Oaxaca, one the most biodiverse states of Mexico and home to a number of indigenous cultures, and the state of Quintana Roo in the Yucatan Peninsula, known for its tourism opportunities, were selected as good learning examples of green growth promotion for visiting Indian officials.
The knowledge exchange was implemented through a series of instruments, including online tools designed to help individuals develop skills and disseminate lessons learned to the widest audiences as possible. The exchange succeeded with the following three activities:
- Preparation. An internet-based platform was launched to help the officials’ share their expectations prior to the face-to-face meetings and to discuss how to ensure maximum benefit. Himachal Pradesh officials also presented and discussed their expectations for the exchange with World Bank staff, which helped the staff to perform their role as knowledge brokers most effectively.
- Study visit to Mexico. The officials of Himachal Pradesh visited the Mexican federal-level officials as well as the officials in the states of Oaxaca and Quintana Roo. The study visit was held for over a week in May 2013. The Indian officials learned about Mexico’s experience and challenges in making urban and rural development more environmentally friendly, efficient, and resilient to climate change as well as inclusive of all social groups.
- Follow-up. A video clip of the knowledge exchange documented the Indian officials’ visit and served as a record of their discussions. Along with this visual documentary, the lessons learned were shared through two sets of newsletters. The officials of Himachal Pradesh incorporated what they had learned in Mexico in a presentation delivered at the India Climate Policy and Business Conclave held on September 18-20, 2015.
The exchange between Indian and Mexican officials led to the following results:
- Strengthened knowledge and skills. Himachal Pradesh officials had the enhanced capacity to design (a) climate change action plans and green growth-oriented policies that include benefit-sharing payment mechanisms; and (b) an institutional framework established in law that supports coordination among different sectors and levels of government in support of green growth.
- Stronger coordination. Many different stakeholders involved in design and implementation of green growth-oriented policies, including civil society and academia as demonstrated at the India Climate Policy and Business Conclave, came together to address the climate change issues in India with Himachal Pradesh officials who had a prominent role at the meeting.
- Improved consensus. The different stakeholders in Himachal Pradesh worked together in the adoption of the Sustainable Tourism Development Policy 2013.
- Raised awareness. Participatory and adaptive strategies for community development and building partnerships gained importance among government, civil society, and private sector stakeholders in supporting climate change actions and promoting green growth while sustaining natural resources.
- Using different instruments and activity formats makes the knowledge exchange more effective. As an example from this exchange, since one of the expected outcomes was raising awareness among the different stakeholders, setting-up a public Internet-based platform proved a useful tool for reaching this goal.
- Involving local consultants in the host country of the knowledge exchange early from the start ensures smooth running of the study visit.
- Strong coordination among all parties involved and managed by the selected organizing manager for all logistics, including hotel, transportation, and bill payment, improves the overall organization of the study visit.
The World Bank was strongly involved in the knowledge exchange as a broker. The Bank was also involved in supporting the Government of India development program in support of economic growth through improved stewardship of natural resources, both through budget support and financial support through the Clean Technology Fund. The South-South Experience Exchange Facility provided US$42, 287.
The Indian representatives visiting Mexico visited with federal- and state-level officials. At the federal level, they met the government representatives of the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change, and researchers of the Mario Malio Center for Energy and Environment. In Oaxaca, state government officials presented the Indian representatives with their real life projects addressing climate change; and in Quintana Roo, government officials at state and municipal level discussed the management of tourism industry in a sustainable manner.
- Mr. Sudripta Roy, Chief Secretary and Secretary of Environment;
- Mr. Shrikant Baldi, Principal Secretary, Finance and Planning;
- Mr. R. S. Negi, Principal Secretary of Power;
- Mr. Sharad Negi, Director of Department of Environment, Science and Technology;
- Mr. Subhasish Panda, Director of Tourism.
Several meetings and videoconferences among different stakeholders, leveraging the lessons learned in Mexico, was an important follow-up to the exchange. The experience of sharing on the part of Mexican officials helped Indian officials in framing the strategy for the Himachal Pradesh Inclusive Green Growth Development Policy Loan and informing the development policies in several sectors promoting green growth, including tourism and hydropower management.
Mr. Sudripta Roy, Chief Secretary and Secretary of Environment, reported on similarities among Mexico and India and the power of Mexican experience for the future work of the Government of Himachal Pradesh: “They are facing the same issues and problems, whether it is the felling of trees, greenhouse gas emissions, or climate change. Mexico is affected because of floods and drought, we are having unseasonal rain and heavy snowfall, and so, we are trying to synergize how the issues are being tackled here.” He stressed the importance of working together with the communities: “These are the good practices that we are interested in looking at, and hopefully implement them back home. We want to continue the dialogue, the relationship with the country, and probably ask them to come to our country and also see what we are doing.”
Mr. Shrikant Baldi, Principal Secretary of Finance and Planning of Himachal Pradesh, pointed out how important it is to have a South–South dialogue: “Many times when one sees the Northern development studies, you find that it is not replicable in your place; but when you have a similar situation, like Mexico – a federal country, similar to India – where something is being done here, we can directly relate it to our situation and then find, ok, this is possible.”
Subhasish Panda, Managing Director of the Tourism Development Corporation, Government of Himachal Pradesh, remarked: “Mexico has taken some initiatives that could maybe be replicated in India. There are a couple of things that Mexico could pick up from India [giving the forest sector as an example]. I’m also looking at picking up certain aspects of tourism in Mexico where the communities or the stakeholders are involved in the process of promoting sustainable tourism and conserving the traditions and the culture.”
Indian State Comes to Mexico to Learn and Share Experiences about Green Growth and Climate Change (Feature Story): http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2013/05/15/indian-state-comes-to-mexico-to-learn-and-share-experiences-about-green-growth-and-climate-change
The Government of Himachal Pradesh: http://himachal.nic.in/index.php?lang=1&dpt_id=17