Asia-Pacific Regional Seminar on Green New Deal Projects: Climate Finance, Technology, Entrepreneurship

SEOUL, Republic of Korea; March 2, 2021 – GGGI co-organized the ‘Asia-Pacific Regional Seminar on Green New Deal Projects: Climate Finance, Technology, Entrepreneurship,” with KDB Bank, hosted by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MoEF) of the Republic of Korea. The initiative emerged as a result of common goals among the Korean government, Green Climate Fund (GCF), KDB Bank, and GGGI to explore effective and collaborative ways of climate technology development and transfer in response to adverse impacts of climate change in Asia-Pacific countries, especially amidst the COVID-19 crisis. GGGI has been working with KDB, a Korean Accredited Entity to GCF, and NDAs in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, and the Philippines, to develop a program for supporting innovative local entrepreneurs with climate tech solutions and promoting climate tech ecosystems that will accelerate the low carbon and climate-resilient green growth.

For the opening remarks, representatives of NDAs all addressed their national resolutions to proactively engage in global climate actions and the importance of innovative green technologies and international cooperation. Ji Young CHOI, a director of Green Climate Policy Division at the MOEF of Korea, delivered the first opening remark sharing that “the Korea government will continue to support a green transition of the economies in the Asia-Pacific region in two aspects – reinforcement of technical and project support in the areas of the green new deal in cooperation with partners and solidification of international cooperation to induce synergy and global climate action”. Ms. Rachel Anne Herrera, a commissioner of the Climate Change Commission of the Philippines, emphasized the importance of innovative technology as the main strategy to maintain sustainable growth given that “the Asia-Pacific region is one of the most vulnerable places to climate change impact on natural resources”. Mr. Sum Thy, a Deputy Secretary General at General Secretariat of the National Council for Sustainable Development at the Ministry of Environment in Cambodia, emphasized government support for the promotion of entrepreneurship through Khmer Enterprise, sharing that “the Ministry of Environment would be happy to facilitate cooperation between our international partners and relevant entities in Cambodia.” Mr. Phouvong Luangxaysana, a Director General of the Department of Planning and Finance at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Lao PDR, stressed the importance of engagement of all stakeholder including the private sector and civil society to transform its green ambition into reality, and delivered “Lao PDR is delighted to be part of the upcoming program set up by GCF and KDB to promote innovation of climate technology entrepreneurship.”

Moderated by Juhern Kim, a Co-founder of Greenpreneurs and Country Representative to the Philippines of GGGI, the panel discussion started with the presentation by Leo Hyoungkun Park, a Financial Institutions Manager of GCF Private Sector Facility entitled “Importance of the Private Sector and Entrepreneurship to Accelerate Financing Climate Technology Innovation in Emerging Markets” sharing GCF programs and projects to support climate technologies and introducing GCF intervention to support climate technology incubators and accelerators being developed and supported by KDB and GGGI. Mr. Changsoo Kim, a Director of the Green Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Korea, shared the key concept of Korean Green New Deal Policy and its efforts to promote international cooperation for green transition, while stressing the importance of identifying country needs through regional or country offices. Dohyun Park, a Senior Climate Change Specialist at KOICA, addressed shifting of Korea’s ODA governance and strategy to increase the share of ODA in the climate and environmental projects.

Representatives from incubators and accelerators from the participating countries discussed investment needs, opportunities, and challenges in climate technology and public sector role in strengthening relevant startup ecosystem. Katrina Rausa Chan, an Executive Director of IdeaSpace-QBO, pointed out clean-tech is still narrow in the startup ecosystem in the Philippines and the lack of success stories as key challenge. She highlighted incubation support and active mentorship would be critical to tackle these challenges. Dr. Vanmunin Chhieng, a CEO of Khmer Enterprise, shared their role to provide the whole lifecycle support for young entrepreneurs with business ideas and highlighted the needs for solar energy in Cambodia given that electricity access near the lake areas is limited. Mr. Viboon Sithimolada CEO, Xanglao Engineering, highlighted business opportunities in the non-hydro renewable energy sector, especially solar energy, although the startup ecosystem in Lao PDR is still dominated by digital and service-related technologies rather than climate tech. Mr. Yongmin Kim, Managing Partner of Enlight Ventures, shared his view on the meaning of Green New Deal to the private sector, especially given the changing investment landscape after the COVID19 shock”

The seminar also featured various presentations from the industry experts with aim for “Building Capacity Beyond Needs Assessment’. Wook-Sang AHN, a Head of the KDB Climate Business Team, presented the institutional restructuring of its system and financial products to drive green transition accordingly to the government’s initiative to pursue the New Deal Policy and Carbon-Neutral. John McGinley, a Founder and Managing Partner at Mekong Strategic Partners, explained the limitations of the current green finance market approach in Cambodia and addressed the way to overcome market failure. Mr. Eli David, a Co-founder and CEO at StartupBlink presented a landscape of the Asia startup ecosystem and market barriers as well as ecosystem developers’ role to fulfil the potential of startups.

For the closing remarks, Ho CHOI, a General Manager of ESG·New Deal Planning Department at KDB, expressed that “KDB is eager to partner with you all in promoting meaningful GCF initiative.” as a n accredited entity jointly working with GCF to develop a technology-focused program. Jin Young KIM, a Director for Asia at GGGI, appreciated the mutually rewarding discussions on green recovery solutions, concluding that “GGGI is in a very privileged position to support this important initiative together with all participants today”.