Welcome Address at Side event on “Towards a Resource Efficient Asia-Pacific through the Seoul Initiative Network on Green Growth”

Delivered at Side event on “Towards a Resource Efficient Asia-Pacific through the Seoul Initiative Network on Green Growth” in Bangkok, Thailand

Your Excellency, Mr. Minho Lee, Deputy Minister,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The long-standing partnership of the Republic of Korea with ESCAP on a number of fronts has paid dividends for our broader membership. Many developing member States have benefited from the knowledge transfer on how to formulate and integrate green growth strategies which has promoted green growth strategies in our region.

In this context, the side event “Towards a Resource Efficient Asia-Pacific through the Seoul Initiative Network on Green Growth,” co-hosted by ESCAP ought to not only recognize the contribution of this solid South South collaboration, but solicit views on how we can further deepen exchanges on the intricacies of green growth frameworks and their effective operationalization through mainstreaming it in development and budget plans.

Green growth is an instrumental approach to promoting 2030 Agenda as it embodies integrated strategies, incentives and policy frameworks to foster environmentally sustainable, low-carbon, and socially inclusive development.

Korea was the first country to mainstream green growth in its national development strategy in 2008. Its strong political vision drove Korea to help other states in the region adapt this approach. Last week, Korea declared its intention to develop its national sustainable development vision and plan based on inclusive green growth mechanisms. Korea will finalize the indicator framework to assess the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by next year.

There is significant potential for emerging and developing economies to leapfrog to ecologically efficient, inclusive and sustainable development without repeating the environmentally-unsustainable development paths undertaken by developed countries. In response to this, the Seoul Initiative Network on Green Growth is a leading example of a regional cooperation framework that has involved building regional understanding and capacities to develop green growth models and policy tools, while sharing sound policy experiences through networking and knowledge dissemination. During the past 12 years of implementation, more than 1,200 participants from governments, international organizations, and academia have benefited from the Initiative.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Green growth is one of the approaches to addressing the region’s vulnerabilities to environmental issues, including those caused by resource depletion, biodiversity loss, water pollution, and land degradation. Many of these issues can be addressed by enhanced resource efficiency. For example, the Asia-Pacific region uses three times more resources to produce each dollar of GDP, compared to the rest of the world.1 Unsustainable resource management in our region, such as disposing of waste in landfill and at sea, and inefficient use of fossil fuels continue to exacerbate the acute environmental problems we face.

Collective efforts are needed to build a resource efficient society through integrated approaches. We need to adopt green technologies such as renewable and low carbon energy, flare gas recovery, and waste to energy, and mobilize green finance including green funds, green bonds, and clean tech venture capital to promote resource efficiency and sustainable consumption and production. We must work together to tackle this shared problem with regional solutions. The regional knowledge-sharing platforms such as the Seoul Initiative are thus an important element.

To support the promotion of green growth and sustainable development in Asia-Pacific region, ESCAP convenes the annual Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development to support member States in implementing SDGs. At this year’s APFSD, member States adopted the regional road map for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Amongst other areas, the road map focuses on the management of natural resources, climate change and energy. In advancing this work, we count on the continued support of Korea to promote a more resource efficient Asia-Pacific region.

ESCAP remains committed to supporting engagement between member States and other stakeholders on promoting green growth in support of the 2030 Agenda and the implementation of the Seoul Initiative Network on Green Growth.

I thank you.

1ESCAP, ADB and UNEP (2012). Green Growth, Resources and Resilience: Environmental Sustainability in Asia and the Pacific.