SEOUL – The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) held inaugural meetings of its newly formed Assembly and Council today in Seoul.
As part of the organization’s new governance structure as a multi-stakeholder, hybrid international organization, representatives from all 18 founding member nations convened to adopt the rules and procedures of the Assembly and Council as well as nominated and appointed GGGI’s Director-General.
Member nations include: Australia, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ethiopia, Guyana, Indonesia, Kirabati, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.
The meetings represent the culmination of diplomatic activity led by the Government of Korea, in cooperation with the GGGI’s founding donor countries, to convert the organization, which was established as a foundation under Korean domestic law, into an international organization.
The Institute’s Establishment Agreement, signed by all founding member nations, details GGGI’s new governance structure, which consists of an Assembly, Council, and Secretariat. The Assembly advises on the overall direction of GGGI as well as elects Council members and the Director-General. The Council approves the organization’s strategy, budget, admission of new members, and criteria for green growth planning and implementation programs. The Secretariat acts as the chief operational organ of the GGGI, headed by the Director-General and is based in Seoul.
An opening ceremony was held at the Shilla Hotel in Seoul and included remarks from President Lee Myung-bak of Korea and Chairman Rasmussen. There was also a special video address from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
“The United Nations is committed to strengthening cooperation with [GGGI], Secretary General Ban said. “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.”
For his part, President Lee spoke of the important role GGGI needs to play in order for the world to adopt green economic policies.
“The GGGI must strive to become a global stronghold for efforts to provide the much-needed support to developing countries for effective policy formulation and implementation. Through this, 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.
Today, the Assembly elected representatives from Australia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kiribati, Mexico, Norway, Qatar, United Arab Emirates to the Council. Four non-state representatives were elected as well – current GGGI Board Chair and former Prime Minister of Denmark Lars Løkke Rasmussen and current GGGI Board members Lord Nicholas Stern, Chairman of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, Kim Sang-hyup, Senior Secretary for Green Growth and Environment of Korea, and Montek Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of the Government of India. The Assembly also elected the Honorable Bharrat Jagdeo, former President of Guyana, to be President of the Assembly.
“Most countries recognize 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,” said President Jagdeo.
Chairman Rasmussen also stressed the urgency for global green growth. “We must act now and quickly shift to a new economic paradigm – we can and must view economic growth and care for the environment as complimentary,” said the Chairman. “We need to do this for ourselves. We need to do this for future generations.”
The Council nominated current GGGI Executive Director Richard Samans for the Director-General position, and the Assembly approved his nomination, as required under the GGGI’s new rules.
“It’s a great honor but an even greater responsibility,” said Mr. Samans about his new position. “I recognize that this is a matter of the highest importance to the international community and indeed future generations. I thank GGGI’s member governments and I look forward to working with them and other constituencies.”
GGGI was established in 2010 as a non-profit foundation under Korean civil law. From its inception, however, GGGI was intended to convert into a full-fledged international organization by the end of 2012, in order to serve the international community with efficient management based on long-term strategies. Over the past two years, the Institute has expended significant resources in strengthening in-house capabilities to promote and expand green growth planning programs, research initiatives, and public-private cooperation.