Former President of Guyana, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, was on Tuesday elected as the first president of the Assembly of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI).
The election took place in Seoul, Korea where the ceremonies establishing the GGGI as an international organisation took place.
GGGI was established to help shift the global model of development by drawing on working examples of green growth and low carbon development. At a Seoul press conference on the day of his election as president of the Assembly, Jagdeo said: “Most countries recognise the need for new models of development, they know the old ways no longer work. However, they don’t yet see enough evidence of how they can transition to new ways of balancing prosperity with combatting climate change and other environmental challenges. GGGI’s role is to change this situation through practical help for countries in the developing world as they forge their own pathways to a better, more sustainable development model than was used in the past.”
Korean President Lee Mung-Bak said: “The GGGI must strive to become a global stronghold for efforts to provide the much-needed support to developing countries…the GGGI can emerge as a pioneering institute that not only outlines a vision for a better future, but also delivers on the ground to realize this vision,” the President said.
In welcoming remarks, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban ki-Moon said “The United Nations is committed to strengthening cooperation with [GGGI]…I am confident that we can advance our shared struggle to foster sustainable growth, create more just and equitable societies, and protect our planet for generations to come.”
The former Guyanese head of state was nominated for election as president by Korea’s Ambassador for Green Growth. The Ambassador cited Guyana’s national Low Carbon Development Strategy, and other speakers stressed the importance of national models for how economic development and combatting climate change could be aligned. Jagdeo’s nomination for election was seconded by the Danish Minister for International Development, and his presidency of the Assembly will be for two years.
Guyana is one of the founding members of GGGI, and was represented in Seoul by Foreign Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett. President Jagdeo was a member of the Board of Directors of GGGI since 2010. The Board of Directors was responsible for steering the organisation from its initial role as a centre of excellence for green growth planning and implementation to the point where it was converted by law into an international organisation.
President Donald Ramotar represented Guyana at the GGGI signatory ceremony in June 2012, where he joined 6 other Heads of State and Government to start the process of conversion of GGGI into an international organisation. Today, GGGI has eighteen members from the developed and developing world – including the United Kingdom, Norway, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, Denmark, Ethiopia, Paraguay, Qatar, Vietnam, Cambodia and the United Arab Emirates.
Dr Jagdeo’s first duty as president was to oversee the election of GGGI’s Council. The former Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Lokke Rasmussen was elected as the Chair of the Council.
In addition to his new role as president of the GGGI Assembly, Dr Jagdeo currently fulfils a number of other global leadership roles in the areas of low carbon development, green growth and sustainable development.
Following a request by 34 Heads of State and other leaders from the world’s forest countries, Dr Jagdeo was named the Roving Ambassador for the Three Basins Initiative. He is an IUCN Patron of Nature as well as IUCN’s High Level Envoy for Sustainable Development in Forest Countries. He is also a Patron of the World Sustainability Forum.
Dr Jagdeo previously served on the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Group on Climate Finance, which explored ways to raise US$100 billion per annum by 2020 for investment in the developing world’s efforts to combat climate change. He was named Time Magazine’s Hero of the Environment in 2008, and the United Nations Environment Programme Champion of the Earth in 2010.