[Dateline: Bangkok | Author: ESCAP]
The Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Noeleen Heyzer, at high-level meetings in Seoul, discussed a partnership to implement a $200 million fund to support Asian developing countries to pursue a low carbon development path.
The $200 million fund is a key element of the East Asia Climate Partnership which the Republic of Korea launched at the G-8 summit in July. It aims to support, over a period of five years, policy consultations for low carbon development, technology transfer, resource mobilization and pilot projects for climate change mitigation and adaptation technologies.
The fund reflects the Republic of Korea’s national vision of “Low Carbon, Green Growth,” declared by President Lee Myung-bak in August, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Republic. “The world has gone through the stages of the agricultural, industrial and information revolutions,” the President had said in his national address. “Now, it is entering the age of an environmental revolution. Leaving behind the era of wood, coal and oil, an age of new energy is now being opened.”
During his meeting with Under-Secretary-General Heyzer, the Korean Prime Minister, Han Seung-soo, expressed support for the proposal.
“The new vision and the partnership are very exciting developments,” and indicate a shift in development paradigm, said USG Heyzer, stating: “The rapid economic growth in the region, with its heavy dependence on fossil fuel consumption, is ecologically unsustainable.”
As the fourth largest economy and a major carbon dioxide emitter in the region, the importance of this policy change will not only be felt in the Republic of Korea but in the whole region, USG Heyzer said, adding that ESCAP will play a leading role as the implementing agency of the new initiative.
The UN regional commission has been championing the Green Growth initiative in Asia and the Pacific, as well as regional cooperation, especially South-South cooperation, among member countries to achieve inclusive and sustainable development.
“I am very encouraged by the support expressed by the Korean Government to the proposed collaboration and I look forward to further discussions to finalize the partnership,” the ESCAP head said.
ESCAP’s Green Growth initiative, which was endorsed by a regional ministerial meeting on environment and development in Seoul in 2005, emphasizes that a country does not have to sacrifice economic growth in order to be green. It proposes policy measures such as green fiscal and tax reforms, investment in sustainable infrastructure, promotion of green consumption and clean production, and the use of eco-efficiency indicators.
At its latest annual Commission Session in April 2008, ESCAP’s proposal of a regional energy security framework – with its emphasis on shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, and on improving energy efficiency – was embraced by over 50 member countries as a way to reduce carbon emissions as well as enhancing secured long-term access to energy.
Other senior Korean officials who were present at the meeting were the Environment Minister, Lee Maanee, the Minister of Trade, Kim Jong-hoon and the president of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Park Dae-won.