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Green growth and beyond: a sustainable development model for all

The best way to predict the future is to make the future the way we want it. The future we want is in our hands. Let us not forget. It is us that is stopping us, and it is us that is moving us to the future we want.
- From Making the Future We Want Together, Remarks by President Lee Myung-bak at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro

Throughout the past week, the eyes of the international community have turned towards the Latin American region for the G20 summit (June 18-19) and Rio +20 (June 20-21), where the global leaders reaffirmed their commitment to sustainable growth.

As the world’s highest-level representatives converged in Los Cabos and later in Rio de Janeiro to converse on sustainable development, President Lee urged participants to pursue sustainable growth through green growth against the backdrop of recurring global crises, climate change, and other vulnerabilities the world faces today.

Along with the inclusion of the green growth agenda in the G20 as well as Rio +20, the Korean government’s green growth initiative is now reaching across the globe beyond Korea as a shared global asset, the legacy we intend to bequeath to future generations.

President Lee stresses green growth, sustainable development at the G20 Los Cabos summit

One of the main topics of discussion among the heads of state at the G20 Los Cabos Summit was green growth, dubbed by the Korean president as an action-oriented measure for practical implementation of sustainable development.

President Lee Myung-bak and the leaders of the G20 member states attend the first session of the G20 summit held in Los Cabos on June 18 (photo courtesy of Cheong Wa Dae).

“Green growth is thinking outside the box to respond to climate change and environmental issues in such a way that the solution itself becomes a new growth engine and a new way of life,” remarked President Lee during the second session on June 19.

“Green growth will contribute to the world’s sustainable and balanced growth as a new paradigm that integrates both economic and environmental performance,” he added, praising the international community’s support towards the implementation of green growth in developing nations.

On that note, the Korean leader also made a reference to the progress of the development agenda -- a main item on the G20 agenda drawn at the 2010 Seoul Summit.

“It is of much significance that the G20 member economies continue laboring to push forward the development agenda, even in the midst of the intensifying global economic crisis,” remarked President Lee, who also stated his approval of the past two years’ progress made on the development consensus. “The growth of developing countries may serve as a key engine to boost the recovery of the global economy.”

Nevertheless, the Korean president believes the world still has a lot of work to do to create more visible outcomes derived from the G20 development agenda. In this sense, the Korean leader called for renewed global partnership supplementing the agenda with more inclusive cooperation among developed and developing countries, alongside the emergence of new stakeholders in the increasingly interconnected world.

Rio +20: Achieving the future we want through green growth

Moving to Rio de Janeiro, President Lee Myung-bak proposed green growth as an inclusive action strategy implementing the three goals of sustainable development: namely, economic development, social cohesion, and environmental conservation.

“The challenges that confront us are global in nature, and in turn, they require a global response,” remarked President Lee at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro held on June 20, following up on the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development. “To this end, it is essential for us to act together with a sense of collective destiny.”

President Lee Myung-bak delivers a keynote address at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development held on June 20 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (photo courtesy of Cheong Wa Dae).

The Korean leader also announced his government’s plans to expand the volume of green official development assistance (ODA) to USD 5 billion by 2020, starting next year. “We will use this as a basis to establish a global green growth partnership following the East Asia Climate Partnership, which is scheduled to conclude this year.”

“What remains to be done now is to successfully launch the Green Climate Fund (GCF) so that a green triangle that links strategies, technologies, and resources can work organically,” said the president, while pledging the Korean government’s dedicated commitment to ensuring that this triangle reaches developed and developing countries alike to become the architecture for all.

GGGI becomes an internationally acknowledged institution

The Rio +20 served as another important milestone for the Korean government-initiated Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), a strategic cooperative body dedicated to pioneering and diffusing the new paradigm of green growth globally which was converted into an international body with the support of “like-minded countries,” based on an agreement on the establishment signed on June 20.

The GGGI is a new, results-oriented international organization established on a creative public-private partnership aimed at facilitating collective action towards transitioning to a new paradigm of green growth. Launched to mobilize international cooperation together with the World Bank, UNEP, and OECD, the GGGI has contributed to the systematic dissemination of green growth.

The official signing ceremony to convert the GGGI into an international body was held on June 20 in Rio, in the presence of President Lee Myung-bak, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, and leaders of the founding member countries (photo courtesy of Cheong Wa Dae).

“The GGGI will make the utmost efforts to become an enduring asset for the international community,” promised President Lee at a congratulatory speech during the official signing ceremony.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon offered congratulations to the birth of the new international organization, calling the ceremony one of the most meaningful events taking place on the sidelines of the Rio +20.

Upon ratification by participating member states, the GGGI will officially launch on the margins of the Pre-COP 18 ministerial meeting slated for this October in Seoul. The GGGI is expected to further expand cooperation on green growth as an open global knowledge platform with its interdisciplinary, multi-stakeholder-driven approach.

On June 21, President Lee participated in the Global Green Growth Forum hosted by the Danish government and gave another keynote address on green avenues for growth. The Korean president extended his appreciation to all the like-minded people in the establishment of the GGGI that will further disseminate and facilitate green growth.

For more information on green growth, visit the official website at: or click here:

By Hwang Dana Staff Writer

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