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A Path to Environmental Sustainability & Economic Growth

United Nations, Nov 11 2012 (IPS) - The conversion of the Seoul-based Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) into an intergovernmental body will permit it “to more effectively fulfill our mission” said Boonan Shin,  the South Korean Ambassador for Green Growth.

Addressing a meeting at the South Korean mission to the United Nations, he defined green growth as “the new revolutionary development paradigm that sustains economic growth while ensuring climatic and environmental sustainability.”

The organization grew out of the green growth experience of the Republic of Korea which developed an international platform for policy innovation in the field of green growth. The vision of the GGGI is that “economic growth and environmental sustainability are not merely compatible objectives but that their integration is fundamental for the future of humankind”.

Speaking in Seoul last month, the South Korean ambassador said green growth is the agenda that responds to both continuous development and climate change, the key issues drawing high interest from developing countries.

“The GGGI is also expected to contribute to solidifying South Korea’s status as a leader in this future-oriented issue,” he added.

The GGGI  is a foundation which was converted into an international organization last June on the occasion of the Rio +20 summit.

The initiative has received the support of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.  “The United Nations is committed to strengthening cooperation with GGGI” ,  Ban said in a video message during the opening ceremony of the GGGI as an international organization.

18 countries, including Australia, Denmark, Ethiopia, United Kingdom, Norway and Qatar are currently supporting or participating in the GGGI.

According to the Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Global Sustainability, “ the world will need at least 50 percent more food, 45 percent more energy and 30 percent more water by 2030.”

That is the reason why the 18 countries, which are part of the GGGI,  have defined as their objectives capacity building for green growth, the research and knowledge sharing on green growth theory and models and the development of public-private partnerships to disseminate and implement green growth programmes.

As every country is different and has its economics particularities, “we start on the countries’ plans and never come with a preconceive idea of what is the best thing to do,” says a GGGI official.

Ethiopia, Indonesia and five other countries are at a green growth plan development and capacity building level, which is the last stage before implementation,  according to GGGI.

As a result of the South Korean Green Growth Plan, public investment for green projects is up to two percent of gross domestic  product (GDP) and there is a planned increase of the Top-30 Korean businesses green investment from $14 billion between 2008 and 2010 to $21 billion planned between 2011 and 2013. This almost represents a 50-percent increase of the green investments by private capital.

To achieve their mission, the GGGI is developing and advocating for public-private partnership to strengthen the financing and diffusion of green growth programmes and initiatives.

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