United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Bulgaria and Croatia

Open-Working Group on
Sustainable Development Goals
10th Meeting

Economic growth

I have the honor to make this intervention on behalf of Croatia and Bulgaria

Beyond any doubts economic growth is among critical enablers for poverty alleviation and wealth creation. What deserves our attention here is the question of quality of growth; namely, growth that reduces inequalities by distributing opportunities and gains across society; growth that generates employment and that is driven by inclusiveness, accountable public institutions and respect for human rights; and growth that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
Bulgaria and Croatia believe that we need to have a standalone goal on the economic growth that will cover also areas as industrialization, infrastructure and job creation and decent work for all.
We see possible targets in the following four action areas:
1. Creating opportunity for good and decent jobs. To make sure that the growth is inclusive and it reduces poverty and inequality we have to pay special attention to youth unemployment, participation of women in the labor force, elimination of gender-based and other forms of labor market discrimination, including against persons with disabilities, migrants and others, providing support for medium- and small-sized enterprises, ensuring education for all.
2. Enhancing productive capacity. In some countries it can be achieve through industrialization, including development of knowledge-based industries, cultural and creative industries in the fields of sustainable tourism, cultural heritage, preservation and sustainable urban planning. In other countries, it can be achieved through intensifying and modernizing the agricultural sector. And finally in some countries it could be both. Whether it is industrialization, agriculture or both special attention should be given to the infrastructure, including access to modern energy services, reliable and sustainable transport, improving water supply systems, improving infrastructure, necessary for sustainable tourism.
3. Reducing environmental stress, including through environmental standards.
4. Enhancing reporting and transparency on financial, social and environmental impact of the economic growth.

Energy. Energy has a crucial role in development process and at the same time energy security is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century, since it may affect various interests as well as global stability.
In that respect Croatia and Bulgaria consider energy a key enabler for sustainable development and ensuring universal access to modern energy services, doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix and doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency of utmost importance. Energy truly incorporates all three dimensions of sustainable development. It connects economic growth, social equity and environmental protection.
This is why we consider energy to be one of the key components of all our future sustainable development efforts. The one that is not only interlinked with other focus areas but in fact stands as their precondition.
By addressing energy issues we would help address most of the global challenges we face today: poverty eradication, food security, clean water, public health, education, inclusive and equitable economic growth, climate change, improve our energy security and form the basis of a future low-carbon economy.
To achieve all this we need targets that will help establish universal energy access, increase the use of renewable energy, search for innovative technological solutions for low- or zero-emissions, transfer modern technologies and know-how, improve energy efficiency.
Furthermore, we also believe that there is a significant potential for private and public sectors mutual cooperation, both in developed and in developing countries, and that this deserves to be established more concretely under the target of promoting, if not forging, partnerships on sustainable energy.
Finally, we need to take into account the impacts that the energy policy has on natural resources and related climate change concerns. Energy-related goal should take an integrated approach, work towards universality and remain flexible to local circumstances. Thus, making energy part of the post 2015 development agenda we should provide guidance on how energy production can be made more sustainable. Against this background, allow me to underline that our two countries are already taking part in fulfilling ambitious targets of the Europe 2020 document, more specifically acheiving 20% of energy from renewables as well as 20% of increase in energy efficiency.