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Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Global Green Growth Institute hosted the 7th Green Round Table on June 24th, in Seoul Korea. Chairman Ban Ki-moon, who is the President and Chair of the GGGI, spoke at the opening session.
In his speech, Chairman Ban reaffirmed the importance of the green recovery plan from COVID-19. Green recovery should assist countries’ transition into green growth; creating green jobs and sharing green technologies. We must refrain from going back to business as usual. Climate action ought not to be put aside for economic revitalization.
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GGGI has worked to promote green growth by developing policy recommendations and utilizing effective tools to assess green growth progress such as the Green Growth Potential Assessment and the Green Growth Index.
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2020 will be the turning point for us to engage in climate change. “To do so, we must work together and make sustainable development and green growth a core part of our policies, rules and regulations,” said Chairman Ban. Returning to pre-COVID world after the pandemic without sustainable and green growth strategies would be a huge mistake.
He ended his speech by reiterating the importance of seizing this opportunity for our future generations.
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“Therefore, Ladies and Gentlemen, let us seize this unique opportunity, so that future generations will later hear and read about how we, in 2020, faced this unprecedented and unexpected challenge and turned it into a boon for everyone.”
Below is the transcript of his speech:
Your excellency Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Green Growth Mr. Kim Jung-wook, Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
First of all, allow me to express my appreciation for this opportunity to address such a distinguished group of officials, experts, and participants at the 7th Green Round Table, as well as my sincere congratulations to the Korean Foreign Ministry for successfully organizing such an important event during these unprecedented and challenging times.
As Foreign Minister Kang mentioned, the COVID-19 pandemic that has gripped the entire world is forcing us to change how we meet and interact with colleagues, friends, and even our own family members.
During my whole career spanning nearly five decades, I am certain that I have never been stuck indoor more and still somehow manage to have so many virtual meetings, seminars, webinars, video-conferences, and phone calls – some during very odd hours of the night – as I have during the last few months.
But, as we gather here in Seoul today, it may be easy to forget how unprecedented and difficult these times can be in other parts of the world, where so many are still experiencing lock downs, crowded hospitals, and strict travel restrictions and social distancing measures.
As you all know, following the incredibly high cost in lives and finances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, government leaders throughout the world are naturally very determined to put in place recovery efforts focused on public health and economic revitalization.
While none of us would have wished for a pandemic, as we – the global community – pool together trillions of dollars in stimulus packages to protect our livelihoods and restart our economies, we must seize this unique opportunity to “green” our recovery and not return to business and usual.
If we do it well, we can help countries to accelerate their transition to green growth, to create green jobs and to help them achieve the sustainable development ambitions under the Paris Climate. If I may repeat in a clean term, we should not put our climate action plan in the back-seat for economy recovery purposes.
Recovery packages can incorporate, for example, renewable energy in traditionally polluting industrial processes and clean mass transit systems and infrastructure.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is why I am proud of the efforts being carried out by the Global Green Growth Institute to develop white papers with policy recommendations, which can be utilized together with effective tools to help assess green growth and progresses made, such as the Green Growth Potential Assessment and the Green Growth Index.
Just as the unprecedented spread of the COVID-19 has led to unforeseen number of hospital patients, historic economic inactivity and unemployment, and new levels of video calls, facemasks and social distancing measures, I believe we can make 2020 the year we truly turn a corner on climate change.
To do so, we must work together and make sustainable development and green growth a core part of our policies, rules and regulations.
The alternative is to go back to doing business as usual, which – we already know – out planet cannot sustain any longer. The alternative would be a huge mistake.
Therefore, Ladies and Gentlemen, let us seize this unique opportunity, so that future generations will later hear and read about how we, in 2020, faced this unprecedented and unexpected challenge and turned it into a boon for everyone.
Once again, my congratulations to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and my best wishes for a very green and safe 7th Green Round Table.
Thank you, 감사합니다.