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Will revise investigation guidelines

Announcing the opening of a global think tank promoting low-carbon, green-growth strategies to the world, President Lee Myung-bak said yesterday that he will make the Global Green Growth Institute an intergovernmental organization by 2012.

At the East Asia Climate Forum in Seoul, Lee announced the launch of the institute, a part of his signature campaign to fight climate change while pursuing economic development. Lee said the Seoul-based think tank will be a “strategic foothold” for action, not just vision.

The plan to establish the institute was announced at the Copenhagen climate conference last year, and Lee said yesterday he was happy to keep the promise. While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has focused on scientific endeavors to determine the causes of the climate change, the institute will focus on developing policies and technical solutions, he said.

In a search for systemic green-growth models for each country, Korea intends to host an annual Global Green Growth Conference in connection with the East Asia Climate Forum to share successful examples and promising technologies, Lee said. “In addition to building a global network by 2012, we will also try to develop the institute into an international organization based on intergovernmental treaties and make it a permanent and common asset of the international community,” Lee said. “To this end, the Korean government will actively finance the institute’s operation and projects.”

According to the Blue House, the Korean government will spend $10 million on the project every year until 2012. Three or four countries including Germany and Norway have expressed interest in providing additional funding and the institute plans to secure support from about 10 countries by 2012, sources said. The international civilian organizations ClimateWorks and Climate Policy Initiative have already committed $1 million each to the institute, which plans to operate a few regional offices around the world. Former Prime Minister Han Seung-soo is leading the institute’s six-member board. Nicholas Stern, professor at the London School of Economics, and Thomas Heller, professor at Stanford University, are vice chairmen.

The first board meeting took place Tuesday, the Blue House said, and an agreement was made to expand the board members to 15. The board will begin international public recruitment to hire an executive director, according to Kim Sang-hyup, secretary to the president for national future and vision and a board member.

The board also approved a plan to help Indonesia, Brazil and Ethiopia map out their “green growth path,” Kim said. In the next decade, one or two more countries will be identified for assistance, he added. Another source said India and some provinces of China will likely be selected for the green growth path programs. “Korea used to export goods such as semiconductors and cars, but now we are exporting ideas, agendas,” Kim said. “I am so proud to see this tremendously meaningful development.”


By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

President Lee Myung-bak gives a keynote speech yesterday at the East Asia Climate Forum 2010 at the Shilla Hotel in Seoul. Lee announced the launch of a global think tank promoting low-carbon green-growth strategies. By Cho Mun-gyu

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