Whatever the stage of a country’s economic development or its political structure, the interlinked challenges of economic, food, and environmental security are a serious concern. For unless we find a way to foster growth and tackle hunger without damaging our planet, we will be sowing the seeds of dangerous instability and handing our children a terrible legacy.

Developing such a system of sustainable growth urgently requires a new level of international co-operation. And it is to encourage this vital collaboration that Kazakhstan has developed the innovative Green Bridge Partnership.

Our aim is to bring together developed and developing countries to share the knowledge and technology needed for the successful transition to green economies. The initiative has already received the support of the international community at the UN’s Rio +20 Summit and the backing of countries making up three-quarters of the world’s population. Major foreign investors including the European Development Bank, the International Financial Corporation, and partner governments have expressed interest in taking part.

The ambition is to provide the platform to enable countries, companies, and research institutions to work together to develop new areas of green business, technologies, and investments.  This includes sharing best practice on how taxation and regulation can provide an attractive environment for green businesses to grow.

In the longer term, too, we see excellent opportunities for enhancing cooperation on resource saving and technology transfers.

While the initiative eventually must be global in its scope, we believe it should be introduced first at the regional level. It is on a regional basis that both environmental issues such as managing river flows are tackled and the best opportunities exist for building markets for green goods and services.

As a first step, Kazakhstan will establish an international steering committee and secretariat as we work with our partners throughout this year to get the Partnership up and running.  We have already contributed to a start-up fund and helped finance international conferences to promote its work in Europe and Asia.

But in the long run, we believe it will be self-financing.

Income from cost-saving projects, especially those related to energy efficiency and resource-saving, can be used, for example, to support information sharing, education, and capacity-building. We will also use Astana’s hosting of Expo 2017 to encourage the sharing of ideas and technology required to drive the green revolution.  The theme of future energy is central to solving the challenge of how we can deliver growth and prosperity in a sustainable way.

It may seem strange that a country with some of the world’s largest oil and gas reserves should put such emphasis on green growth. But Kazakhstan is already looking to the future with ambitious plans to modernize and diversify its economy. We know, as well, that no country can escape the impact of climate change.

President Nazabayev has set an ambitious goal of meeting half the country’s energy needs from alternative and sustainable sources by 2050. It underlines our determination to play our full role in the green revolution our world needs. But success depends on all countries working together in new ways to meet common goals. We believe the Green Bridge Partnership can help deliver this ambition.