Cambodia adopts green growth model

Domestic interest in green growth may be shrinking under the new administration, but efforts by the previous president to export Korea’s eco-friendly development model globally is gaining momentum.

One of the most significant achievements of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) since it became an international organization last October was made in Cambodia Tuesday. GGGI started out as a non-profit body in Korea under the leadership of former President Lee Myung-bak, and is now a multi-stakeholder international organization.

On Tuesday, the Cambodian government officially launched a National Council on Green Growth (NCGG), the outcome of a two-year long cooperation between the Southeast Asian country and GGGI.

The new entity is responsible for working with different ministries to ensure that green growth policies are implemented nationwide across various sectors by the entire government, not just the environment ministry.

The holistic approach was a key idea of the Korean-style low-emission growth model advocated by the previous administration.

“The step that the Cambodian government has taken here is, in many aspects, a reflection of the learning they have taken away from Republic of Korea’s experiences,” said Richard Samans, director-general of GGGI, indicating inter-ministerial coordination in implementing green policies.

The legal framework for Cambodian’s own eco-friendly development plan is the National Policy for Green Growth, which focuses on water resources management, food security, forest conservation, renewable energy, education on green growth and the creation of small and medium sized enterprises.

“Developed countries produce a lot of emissions compared to Cambodia, but we cannot stop them from doing so. We have to take responsibility at a national level, regional level and in the world,” Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said at the ceremony for the inauguration of the National Council for Green Growth.

Hundreds of high-ranking officials from the government and the private sector gathered at the prime minister’s office in the morning to celebrate the launch. Sen is also the council’s honorary chairman.

Over the past two years, GGGI has helped the Cambodian government shape the directions of green growth policies through holding many workshops and exchanging experts.

The GGGI’s goal is to persuade developing countries to tailor their economic growth toward economically sustainable goals. In other words, developed countries including Korea destroyed the environment during the process of development and emerging economies will be advised on how not to repeat these failures. Due to GGGI’s Korean heritage and large quota of Korean officials, a lot of consulting has been done from the Korean perspective.

The think tank has made initial progress in Ethiopia, which adopted the low emission growth model in 2010. Earlier this year, the United Arab Emirates announced its plan to develop a national strategy for green growth.

Cambodia is an ideal nation for green growth as one of the world’s poorest, yet fast-developing nations with gross domestic product growing at nearly 7 percent in 2011 from 6 percent in 2010. The government has also been highly supportive of GGGI _ Cambodia is one of nine countries to approve GGGI’s conversion into an international organization at the parliament.

In the meantime, Korea’s green growth initiatives are at a crossroads in their home country because low-emission growth isn’t apparently the priority of newly inaugurated President Park Geun-hye. In addition, the four major rivers project pushed by former President Lee were recently slammed hard for poor construction and a decline water quality.,

Original article from the Korea Times can be found here