The Korean government has led the establishment of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) as part of its efforts to spread the green growth agenda and to contribute to the international community’s cooperation toward a green economy. Established in 2012 as an international organization, the number of GGGI’s member states has increased to 46 as of August 2023. GGGI is assisting developing countries in addressing climate change, establishing and implementing green growth strategies and capacity building. GGGI strengthened its recognition as an international organization when it was granted the Official Development Assistance eligibility status by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development - Development Assistance Committee in June 2013 and received United Nations General Assembly observer status in December 2013. Furthermore, GGGI heightened its competitiveness by qualifying as a Public International Organization (PIO) eligible for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) financing opportunities and was awarded an A+ rating by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) in its Annual Review.
The Korean government has actively engaged in GGGI meetings and consultations with the Secretariat as well as member states to support GGGI’s efforts to improve its project implementation and governance. As Vice-chair of the Assembly and Council of GGGI and Audit Contact Point, Korea has made constructive efforts towards GGGI’s efficient decision-making and transparent organizational management. Meanwhile, the Korean government will continue to support GGGI so that it may become an even more competitive international organization leading global green growth.
The environmental challenge we face encompasses a wide range of issues concerning air, ecosystems, oceans, hazardous waste and chemical substances, forestry and land, among others. To address such diverse and comprehensive issues, more than 160 environment-related international conventions are in effect with the support of the UN and the OECD. Korea has acceded to a number of leading international conventions on environmental protection and has taken part in the discussions on, and response to, global environmental issues such as the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, protection of marine ecosystems, and international management of chemical and toxic substances.
Korea has actively participated in multilateral environmental cooperation such as the G20 Environment Ministerial Meeting in September and the sixth session of the ESCAP Committee on Environment and Development, even though a number of international environmental meetings were postponed or held online amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Korean government promulgated Amendments to the Annexes to the Stockholm Convention in March 2020 and the Minamata Convention on Mercury in March 2020 to strengthen its cooperation with the international community in protecting people and the environment from the risk of mercury and mercuric and persistent organic pollutants.
The global discussion on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity currently revolves around the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, or the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, ends in 2020 and new strategy was selected last year in Montreal. Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework was adopted at the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CBD held on December, in Montreal, which shows the way for efforts of international society for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity for 10 years.
Negotiations are underway to develop a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, and Korea has submitted its views based on its consultations with diverse stakeholders, organizations, and experts. Korea also participated in Open-Ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to take part in the process for developing Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework
The Korean government also continued working on reducing marine debris, especially marine plastic waste, which has become an important environmental agenda in the international community. Korea participated in various international meetings such as the 4th meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Expert Group on Marine Litter and Microplastics in November 2020 to introduce Korea’s plans to reduce marine plastic waste. Moreover, in 2022, the 7th International Marine Debris Conference held in Busan in collaboration with UNEP to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation to this end.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched the “Green Round Table” in November 2016 to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation between international organizations and domestic agencies related to climate change, environment and green economy issues. By 2020, seven rounds of the Green Round Table were held.
When Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark visited Korea, celebrating 60 years of diplomatic ties between Korea and Denmark, the fifth Green Round Table held in Seoul on May 21, 2019. Under the title of ‘Korea-Denmark Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) Seminar’, sessions of the fifth Green Round Table focused on facilitating private-public partnerships and sharing best practices. Participants also discussed measures on addressing circular economy, water, sustainable cities and clean energy.
The Sixth Green Round Table, which took place in Seoul later in the year on September 6 2019, was an opportunity to discuss climate change issues with the next generation in preparation for the beginning of a new climate regime in 2020. The round table took the form of a mock climate change negotiation for students in separate sessions on mitigation, finance, and adaptation under the overarching theme of “Implementation of the Paris Agreement by Green Insiders."
Amid the growing interest in green economic recovery policies domestically and internationally, the Seventh Green Round Table was held under the theme ‘Green New Deal and its potential in Post-COVID-19 recovery’ in Seoul on June 24 2020. It provided an opportunity to explore the linkage between the Green New Deal policy and the long-term efforts to address climate change and achieve sustainable development goals, and to share developments in the international discussion in the area.
Along with the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the eighth Green Round Table, as the theme for ’Korea and P4G Partnerships’, was held in Seoul on November 29 2021. Through the 2nd P4G Seoul Summit, The Korean government could strengthen the cooperation with the international society, which makes climate response and sustainable development carry out easier.
With the theme as the 'Transition to Circular Economy and International Cooperation to End Plastic Pollution', the ninth Green Round Table was held. It was estimated that it provides the wide understand for the multilateral environmental issues and trends.
The Green Round Table meetings have helped to promote cooperation between diverse environment-related international organizations and relevant public and private institutions in achieving the green economy and the SDGs while providing more opportunities for students to take part in the discussions on the environment.