4 months ago

Climate Action 2012-2013


COP18 AND BEYOND OVERCOMING THE ECONOMIC CRISIS The initiatives illustrated in this article have created new markets with new requirements. In turn, as many as 950,000 jobs have been created; and the number is estimated to reach 1.6 to 1.8 million by 2013. The government also seeks to balance economic growth and social integration by initially allocating those jobs to the economically vulnerable. Green growth promoted by Korea proved its real worth during the global economic crisis. The country pursued green growth ever more eagerly, rather than responding passively to the crisis; and this positive attitude allowed the country to overcome the challenge faster than most others. Korea has proved with its own experience that green growth is the best strategy ensuring economic growth, social integration and environmental integrity at the same time. Now Korea is offering help to inspire others to make a transition to the Green Economy, with a view to achieving sustainable development. In this regard, the government has established the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and the Green Technology Center (GTC) to share information regarding green growth, to formulate relevant strategies and facilitate the diffusion of green technologies. A COLLECTIVE EFFORT The current challenges facing us are affecting not just one country but everyone. Therefore all possible ideas and collective efforts need to come from all of us – and, above all, collective action. We all need to inspire each other. After preparing the Pre-COP ministerial meeting, and building “Green growth promoted by Korea proved its real worth during the global economic crisis.” confidence upon its green growth achievements, Korea is hoping that this will be a small but important step on the way to constructive international co-operation. It is appropriate to conclude by quoting the proverb: “Alone, I am nothing. But together, we can achieve much.” I hope we can all work together towards saving the planet in general, and addressing climate change in particular. Yoo Yeon-Chul has been Director-General, the International Cooperation Office, Ministry of Environment, Republic of Korea, since 2011, having served in several ministerial and diplomatic posts since 1987, mostly connected to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT). In particular, Mr. Yoo has been strongly associated with the Green Growth project since its inception in 2008. The Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Environment aims to protect the national territory from threats of environmental pollution, and improve the quality of life for the public. The Ministry also aims to contribute to global efforts to protect the environment, and takes a key role in climate change negotiations. In February 2008, the Korea Meteorological Administration became a subsidiary of the Ministry to facilitate countermeasures against climate change. 24

COP18 AND BEYOND UNEP AND THE GREEN ECONOMY – FOUR DECADES IN DEVELOPMENT By Nick Nuttall, Spokesperson, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) From Stockholm in 1972 to Rio in 2012, UNEP’s first forty years as an advocate, educator, catalyst and facilitator have given it the authority and impetus to pursue the aims of the Green Economy. Forty years ago in the Swedish capital city of Stockholm, history was made at a UN conference on the future of humanity and the planet. Amid rising concern over pollution of the air, the land and the seas, the growing loss of species and the dying of forests as a result of acid rain, governments agreed that a UN body charged with co-ordinating a global response to such challenges should be established. Between June 1972 and the UN General Assembly that year, many countries, including Mexico, India, the United States and the UK, lobbied to become hosts of this new environmental body. But in the end the East African country of Kenya won the diplomatic debate and in doing so became the first developing country to host a UN headquarters of what has become known as UNEP. Two years later UNEP moved into its permanent premises in Nairobi on the site of an old coffee farm, where it remains to this day, employing around 1,130 local and international staff and acting as a hub for a strategic network of regional offices in Bangkok, Panama City, Washington DC, Geneva and Bahrain. AN EMPHASIS ON SCIENCE UNEP was originally set up with modest aims – to co-ordinate the rest of the UN system’s activities on environmental issues and to provide the science to member states on emerging trends in environmental change. The emphasis on science has perhaps been among UNEP’s most important contributions; this in turn has led to governments negotiating key global treaties to address emerging environmental crises. The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone layer – the protective shield that filters out dangerous levels of the sun’s ultraviolet rays – is a case in point. It became clear in the 1980s that certain chemicals used in products such as fridges and fire-fighting equipment were attacking the ozone layer. By 2010, this UNEP treaty had co-ordinated the phase-out of over 100 of these harmful gases. Without the Montreal Protocol, atmospheric levels of ozone- 25