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2nd Vice Minister's Remarks on the occasion of a Dinner for the International Forum on Air Pollution and Climate Change Seoul, November 4, 2019

  • Date : 2019-11-06 16:37:26
  • Hit : 11816

Remarks by H.E. Amb. Lee Taeho
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
on the Occasion of a Dinner for
the International Forum on Air Pollution and Climate Change
Seoul, November 4, 2019

Your Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon,

Chairman of the National Council on Climate and Air Quality,

Your Excellency Mr. Namsrai Tserenbat ,

Minister of Environment and Tourism of Mongolia,

Mr. Hahm Hong-joo,

Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP),

Mr. Frank Rijsberman,

Director-General of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI),

Distinguished experts and guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to speak to you on this occasion of a dinner for the International Forum on Air Pollution and Climate Change. I would like to extend my warmest welcome to all of you who have come all the way to Seoul to discuss ways to tackle air pollution and climate change.

Air pollution and climate change are the most daunting challenges we face on the globe.  Since air pollution and climate change share the same causes, reducing air pollution literally means mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.  It is for this reason that this forum takes an integrated approach toward both.

Fortunately, the global community has achieved significant progress in responding to the two challenges under the visionary leadership of H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, who played a catalytic role in putting forward and laying a framework for the Paris Agreement which chart a new path for our planet.

As follow-up actions, a series of events have been organized across the world this year to raise awareness of this issue and call for responsible actions by not only governments but also individuals, enterprises, and communities. 

Earlier this year -- on June 5, otherwise known as World Environment Day -- several events were organized under the theme of “Beat Air Pollution” all around the world.

In Northeast Asia, the first meeting of the North-East Asia Clean Air Partnership, or NEACAP, was held this July in Seoul, where participants discussed the way to promote science-based, policy-oriented cooperation for clean air in the region.

In December, a global forum for cooperation on clean air will be launched in Geneva, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, where participants across continents will highlight the achievements of the Convention and discuss further cooperation for clean air.

In an effort to step up international actions to combat air pollution, President Moon Jae-in proposed the designation of an “International Day for Blue Skies” at the United Nations Climate Action Summit convened by the UN Secretary General in September.  My government is now working on the draft resolution for it.  Following a resolution adopted in May at UN ESCAP, titled “Strengthening Regional Cooperation to Tackle Air Pollution Challenges in Asia and the Pacific,” this resolution, when adopted, will facilitate further international cooperation and joint responses to air pollution.

Along with these events and initiatives, today’s Forum is intended to provide another opportunity to share best practices and to learn from each other in strengthening global action against air pollution and climate change.  I understand that at today’s sessions various ways to reduce air pollution in terms of policy, science, and technology were discussed in a comprehensive manner.

This Forum also provides an open platform for coming up with innovative ways to cooperate with each other.  From the previous experiences, we know that open-minded discussion and cooperation is always the key to solving our challenges.  I believe that this Forum, which will be held annually from now on, will enable us to join our forces to combat air pollution and climate change. 

In addition, it is noteworthy that this Forum has a feature of hearing the voices of young people through poster sessions and speeches.  As Greta Thunberg pointed out at the United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019, the older generation should listen to young people’s voices carefully and stop failing them.  Policy makers have indeed a moral responsibility to reflect their concerns and ideas into actions.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Clean air is a precondition for human existence.  However, it has become a luxury that everyone cannot enjoy without the efforts made by all.  I hope the small steps we are making here today will lead to bigger progress in addressing air pollution and climate change, thus providing a better world for our future generations.  In this context, I would like to conclude my remarks by saying, “Little drops of water make the mighty ocean.”

Thank you. /end/