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[Guest Report] UN leader encourages youth to put focus on environment

Aug 12,2017
UNEP Secretary General Erik Solheim gave a lecture titled “Innovation And Vision for Environment Governance” at Incheon National University on Aug. 9. [INCHEON NATIONAL UNIVERSITY]
Incheon National University held a special lecture session on August 9 at the Songdo Campus Faculty Office Building. The theme of the day was “Innovation and Vision for Environment Governance.” The lecturer was Erik Solheim, the secretary general of United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), founded in 1972 for the purpose of tackling environment-related issues.

About 130 students and professors, including students majoring in environment-relevant fields and those studying in the graduate school of International Climate Cooperation, took part in this lecture.

Secretary General Erik Solheim remarked, “In the field of environment governance, the role of teenagers and university students are significant. Since environment issues such as air pollution is essential to every country throughout the world, everybody’s efforts are needed to solve these problems.”

He also stated, “UNEP plays a role in forming cooperative relations with numerous countries around the world and make standards such as the Paris Agreement, and provide developing countries with resources needed to settle environment problems.”

Moreover, in the Q&A session, Erik Solheim said, “UNEP is mainly concerned about issues such as pollution, climate change, and change in the ecosystem of animals and plants. China’s decision to shut down the last coal power plant in Beijing, and Moon administration’s plan to develop alternative energy such as solar or wind power, and to provide electric cars in Jeju will be a big help to initiate positive changes.”

Prior to the special lecture session, Secretary General Erik Solheim looked around the Songdo Campus and discussed methods to seek cooperation between UNEP-INU in environment areas, provided consultation regarding the construction of an eco-friendly campus and the building of a UNEP Korea office for the green campus project.

INU is using new and renewable energy in the form of sunlight, solar heat and terrestrial heat in the campus’ infrastructure after receiving subsidies from the Korea Environment Corporation (Keco), as a part of the green campus project. It is also constantly practicing strategies for energy-saving and eco-friendly campus through diverse activities including changing all of the lamps on campus to LED lights.

Erik Solheim was appointed UNEP Secretary General in 2016, after he worked as the Minister of Environment in Norway and as the chairman of OECD DAC.

Since he started working in the current position, he has been focusing on establishing close rapport with many countries around the world on the issues of marine pollution, air pollution and climate change.

BY YEE JAE-EUN [yee.jaeeun@joongang.co.kr]


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