Korea to launch graduate school on green growth

President Lee Myung-bak said Tuesday Korea will launch a graduate school on green growth at the country’s top science and technology university to help produce global talent to lead and develop the environment-friendly growth paradigm.

Lee made the announcement during a speech at the inaugural conference in Seoul of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), a Korean-established think tank that took effect as an official international organization earlier this month with 18 countries as founding members.

“At the heart of the remarkable transformation of Korea from the poorest country in the world to the Korea of today is the power of education. Likewise, the green growth transformation will also require talented people,” Lee said during the address.

“With this in mind, I intend to create the Graduate School of Green Growth within the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology” or KAIST, which will “partner with major educational institutions overseas to foster the next generation of green growth,” he said.

Officials said the graduate school will be launched next year with 40 students and will gradually be expanded to 200 students by 2018. The school hopes to forge partnerships with Harvard University, London School of Economics and Political Science and other top universities around the world, they said.

Under Lee’s “low carbon, green growth” drive, South Korea founded GGGI in 2010 as a think tank charged with developing strategies for the new growth paradigm that calls for fostering “green” technologies fighting global warming as a fresh engine of economic growth.

Seoul has since worked to upgrade GGGI into an official international organization. So far, 18 countries have signed onto the GGGI establishment agreement, including Denmark, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Britain, Japan, Norway and Qatar.

“The GGGI is an action-oriented organization that supports developing countries in the formulation and implementation of green growth strategies that match their needs and conditions. It seeks to promote the global dissemination of low carbon green growth,” he said.

GGGI should be a “pioneering institute that not only outlines a vision for a better future, but also delivers on its vision,” he said, pledging that South Korea will provide steadfast support and commitment to ensure GGGI can become a “permanent global asset.”

“As a bridge between the developed and developing countries, Korea will spare no effort in helping the international community to overcome the grave challenge of climate change wisely and in creating new opportunities for growth,” Lee said.

Last week, Korea’s Songdo, west of Seoul, was also selected as host of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a massive international pool of money aimed at fighting climate change, a feat seen as an international recognition of Seoul’s efforts toward green growth.

Lee said Korea will try to form a close partnership between GCF and GGGI to make sure that financial resources are effectively utilized in a strategic manner. The two organization should also work closely with Seoul’s Green Technology Center (GTC) devoted to technology research for green growth.

“This combination of strategy, finance and technology forms the three sides of the Green Triangle, and the interaction among these factors will help expedite the achievement of our common goal for a green future for all,” Lee said.

Lee said he witnessed problems caused by global warming during last month’s trip to Greenland.

“Witnessing the effects of climate change unfold before my eyes, I was reminded of the important reality that the key to overcoming the common challenges in our times is to look beyond the narrow perspective of ‘me and others,’ and to act with a sense of collective destiny,” he said.

Later in the day, Lee held a meeting with Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, president of the U.N. Climate Change conference to be held in Qatar next month, known as COP18, and other high-level officials attending the “Pre-COP18” meeting under way in Seoul.

Lee wished Qatar a successful hosting of the upcoming climate change meeting, and the Qatari deputy prime minister invited Lee to next month’s conference, according to presidential spokeswoman Lee Mi-yon.

Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), told Lee that it has been a great week for South Korea, referring to the country’s election as host of the GCF secretariat, its entry to the U.N.
Security Council, the launch of the GGGI as an international organization and its hosting of the Pre-COP18 meeting.(Yonhap)