Measurement Framework for assessing Iran’s Provincial state in terms of green economy concept

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor and faculty member, Urban and Regional Planning Department, Architecture and Planning Department, Shahid Beheshti University

2 Shahid Beheshti University


In recent years, the concept of ‘green economy’ has become mainstream in the economic development debate. Like the vague concept of sustainable development, there is still no comprehensive definition and model for green economy and green growth. Despite the difficulty of distinguishing this concept from sustainable development, most scholars believe that the green economy is a new redefinition of sustainable development, as well as the new agenda and pattern for the 21 Century, which seeks to provide innovative solutions to various global challenges within the framework of ecological capacities. The Green Economy Theory points out economic systems must be committed to the logic of ecological systems.
However, what is clear is that It intents combating stagnation and ensuring long-term economic security while simultaneously reducing carbon and achieving sustainable development. This trend has led to the introduction of global development strategies around the world and the transformation of policies towards new low-carbon or zero-carbon economic sectors. Green economy is defined as equivalent to environmentally compatible economy with low carbon content and low emissions, which respects ecological frameworks and capacities while supporting the peaceful coexistence of humans and nature.
The theoretical foundations for the green economy show that most of the existing approaches and assessment models, which aim to determine the status and position of regions and countries in terms of the green economy, have tried to reach this goal through the composite index using bench-marking methods. Among the main shortcomings of this method are to ignore the interrelationships and causal relationships among variables that are combined mostly with the same weight in the form of a role (independent or dependent variables). In order to confront the shortcomings of the aforementioned, the writers proposed a different methodology based on a typological analysis to measure the sustainability of these regions. Acknowledging the pitfalls of global ranking and benchmarking methods in the context of deductive assessment of regions, in this research, a new methodology and a multidisciplinary analysis-based model has been used in the framework of pressure-state-response (PSR) analysis. With an intention of addressing the question of “what the status and challenges of urban regions are in regards to green economy”, this study aims to develop a framework for assessing the analogical snapshot of urban regions in regards to green economy and the pathology of the situation of these regions. In terms of the case study context Iranian provinces are selected
Based on the PSR Sustainability Model, answering the three fundamental questions for achieving the goals of sustainability is in the agenda: (a) How is the current status of the environment? This question is answered in the current situation in terms of assets and natural resources and human resources; (b) what is the reason for this situation as the result of what pressures on the environment? In this regard, the tensions and pressures on the environment come from nature (direct) and also as a result of human production and consumption (indirect) activities; (c) What activities and responses have been put in place by the communities to respond to the current state of the environment to alleviate and counteract the negative effects of human activities? This is a question sought by all plans, programs, actions, new technologies, resource and energy efficiency, environmental considerations, laws and regulations, and, in general, community action to address environmental instability. The answer to these three questions is in the form of a green economy sustainability system. On the other hand, it is necessary to study the status of production, income and employment (distribution of wealth) in the context of the ‘growth and development system’ dimension.
The results present the regions under six categories—i.e., undeveloped, unstable, with unsustainable growth, protected, distributional, emerging regions. Finally, according to the status of each region, four absolute protections/prevention, contingency, or restorative, sustainability and ecological innovative have been proposed. Based on the proposed methodology of the research, in order to provide an accurate understanding of the relative situation of the provincial regions, the four-dimensional analyzing and assessing logic of analogy for the regional state according to the composite index of the green economy. Based on the logic depicted in the following conceptual diagram, the regions are classified according to their state in one of these four dimensions based on the six states:
 Regions that have a relatively higher productivity, economic growth and competitiveness, but at the same time have made a lower relative pressure on the environment and also provide optimal response to environmental issues are classified as the regions with green economy.
 Regions with a relatively high productivity, economic growth and competitiveness (higher than average) and at the same time have brought a relatively low (below average) pressure on the environment, provided that they offer an appropriate response to environmental issues, are classified as the regions moving towards a green economy.
 Regions with a relatively high impact on environment (above average) experience a range of very high to moderate growth and are categorized as the regions with unpredictable growth. Of these, the regions that are facing environmental poverty and have not responded adequately to environmental challenges, are far more unsustainable.
 Regions that have a low growth and production but at the same time add high pressure to the environment are categorized as unstable regions.
 Regions of relatively low growth and low pressure on the environment are classified as protective regions.
 Regions with very low economic growth, which have little impact on the environment are classified into undeveloped and basic regions.
Based on this conceptual classification and the analysis made in the following diagram: (a) There are no provinces with the green economy in the country; (b) Yet, the province of Semnan can move towards the green economy in case of providing measures to confront existing environmental issues and planning to respond to environmental challenges. This will be achieved by adopting strategies such as enhancing carbon efficiency, energy efficiency, resource efficiency, managing the production structure towards environmental product and services as well as managing and implementing environmental regulations and training green skills. Also, Kohkiluyeh and Boyerahmad province can maintain this in case of controlling the pressure on the environment by improving the tension and water poverty, reducing carbon dioxide and carbon emissions in different sectors, with an emphasis on oil and gas industries, as well as optimizing water consumption and energy carriers.
 Ilam, South and North Khorasan provinces are considered as undeveloped regions.
 Hormozgan, Khuzestan, Yazd, Markazi, Tehran, Kerman, Isfahan, Qazvin and Fars provinces are growing rapidly due to high consumption and high pressure on the environment. Thus, they are far from achieving the status of green economy. Among all, Tehran province will have the opportunity to access the green economy due to the better position in the environmental responses in case of controlling the pressure on the environment and improving the productivity of the economy. But provinces such as Yazd and Hormozgan will lose their resilience in the face of the ongoing economic downturn and environmental constraints (natural poverty), and will face future constraints on economic growth, which leads to a state of complete instability.
Other provinces of the country are considered unsustainable because they have neither good economic efficiency nor proper control of their environmental pressures. Among them, the provinces of Qom, Zanjan, Hamedan, Golestan and Alborz have a much more critical situation because of the limitations and poverty that they have in terms of renewable and non-renewable environments and the quality of human environments as well as human health and safety.


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