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GGGI summit takes on global growth paradigm

Lars Rasmussen
SONGDO, Incheon ? The third Global Green Growth Summit 2013 kicked off yesterday, bringing together hundreds of environmental experts from around the world to address the challenges of shifting the global growth paradigm to green growth.

“As an international organization, GGGI plays an important and unique role in promoting green growth and among other things simulating a south-south dialogue,” Lars Rasmussen, chair of the Council of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), said during the opening ceremony of the summit in Songdo Convensia in Songdo, Incheon.

“We believe we can improve the economic, environmental and social conditions of developing countries by acting as a bridge between developing and developed countries and private and public sectors,” he said.

Nearly 600 participants from government, academia, business and the nonprofit sector from 22 countries attended the two-day summit hosted by the GGGI and Korea’s Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Environment and Strategy and Finance.

Speakers included environmental ministers from Denmark, Guyana, Mexico, Cambodia and Mongolia. Mongolia and Rwanda signed the treaty to join the GGGI on Sunday, bringing the number of members up to 20.

The Seoul-based think tank Global Green Growth Institute was started originally as a nonprofit foundation in June 2010 as a pet project of the Lee Myung-bak administration. It became an international organization last October.

The Green Climate Fund, or the so-called environmental World Bank, will open its secretariat’s headquarters in the I-Tower in the heart of Songdo later this year, and the Korean government yesterday signed a headquarters agreement.

“It is my hope that GGGI and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) over time will become sister organizations,” said Rasmussen, a former Danish Prime Minister.

Ewen McDonald, Australian co-chair of the Green Climate Fund Board, signed the headquarters agreement with the Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se. Fellow co-chair of the GCF Zaheer Fakir was unable to make it to the conference and earlier signed the agreement on June 2 in Bonn.

Korea outbid other countries last year to open the headquarters of the secretariat of the GCF, a fledging international fund dedicated to helping developing nations adapt to the challenges posed by climate change.

McDonald, deputy director-general of the state-run Australian Agency for International Development, or AusAid, told the Korea JoongAng Daily, “It’s a big thing for Korea and it’s a big thing for the Green Climate Fund to have the headquarters agreement signed today.”

This is McDonald’s second time back in Songdo after September last year when Korea won the bid to be home to the GCF.

“I’m very impressed with the leadership that Korea has been showing in the green area,” he said.

After the summit, McDonald will return again to Songdo for a GCF board meeting two weeks later, at which time the date of GCF’s move into the I-Tower will become clearer.

“At the next meeting here in Songdo city, the board will be asked to consider a short-listing of applicants for the executive director [of the GCF] and depending on the outcome of that meeting, hopefully we will see the executive director appointed,” he said, “And then once they are in place, that enables the secretariat to move into that beautiful building that has been established here.”

“This fund has a great opportunity to make a difference across developing countries,” he said.

The summit, which runs until today, hosts various plenary sessions on critical green investments, innovative approaches to getting financing for the Green Climate Fund, and technology and innovation to support green growth.

BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

Original article from JoongAng Daily here