S. Korea establishes 'strategic point' for global green growth
By Lee Chi-dong
SEOUL, June 16 (Yonhap) -- President Lee Myung-bak said Wednesday that South Korea's new green growth institute will serve as a "strategic point" for the world's desperate campaign to harmonize environmental protection with economic growth.
Attending a climate summit in Copenhagen last December, Lee announced a plan to set up the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), tasked with mapping out strategy and policy to link greenhouse gas mitigation with economic growth and providing support to developing countries' green growth efforts.
"I am delighted to let you know today that I made good on the promise," Lee said in his keynote speech at the East Asia Climate Forum, which opened in Seoul on Wednesday to celebrate the launch of the GGGI.
Lee described the Seoul-based institute as a "strategic point" in pursuing action beyond vision for green growth.
"Whereas the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has played a big role in scientifically finding out the causes of climate change, the GGGI plans to provide policy and technical solutions," Lee added.
The launch of the GGGI represents South Korea's efforts to take initiative in "low-carbon, green growth" as a key Asian economy with the experience of rapid industrialization.
Lee said his government will open several regional offices in major cities around the world by next year and also transform it into an international organization by 2012 based on an intergovernmental treaty.
"We will try to make it become a permanent and common asset for the international community," he said.
In a video message for the forum, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "The GGGI will make big contributions to the U.N.'s various activities to counter climate change."
South Korea has decided to spend US$10 million each year by 2012 for the GGGI, which will be headed by former Prime Minister Han Seung-soo, while seeking additional funding from foreign governments and foundations for the project.
Nicholas Stern, professor at the London School of Economics, and Thomas Heller, professor at Stanford University, have been named vice chairs for the institute.