The first day of the P4G Seoul Summit 2021 featured an opening ceremony with cultural performances and an address from Moon Jae-in, President, Republic of Korea. This was followed by a Leaders’ Session, where views were shared on: inclusive green recovery; carbon neutrality by 2050; and strengthening climate action and facilitating public-private partnerships (PPPs).
The largest multilateral summit on climate change ever hosted by the Republic of Korea opened with cultural performances from local youth and other artists highlighting the theme of the Summit, “Inclusive Green Recovery towards Carbon Neutrality.”
In his opening address, Moon Jae-in, President, Republic of Korea, said, “the vision of a green recovery that is carbon neutral invites us all to act together, and combine our knowledge and efforts.” He announced that the Republic of Korea will end financing for new overseas coal-fired power plants and will no longer issue permits for new domestic coal power plants. Noting his country’s wishes to host the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, he stated “our today is what creates our future.”
This session was opened by Kim Boo-kyum, Prime Minister, Republic of Korea. Over 35 heads of state and international organizations, as well as other high-ranking officials, gathered to provide their input, via video message.
Yoo Yeon-chul, Ambassador for Climate Change, Republic of Korea, moderated the session, with input from Yannick Glemarec, Executive Director, Green Climate Fund (GCF), and Frank Rijsberman, Director-General, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI).
On an inclusive green recovery, the leaders emphasized that a green recovery will require cooperation among business, government and civil society. They underscored that in building back better, the responses must focus on an inclusive, just transition that supports sustainable investment in green industries, supports growth in developing countries, and, ultimately, puts the people and the planet at the heart of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- UN Secretary-General António Guterres said green recovery means financing infrastructure for tomorrow, now.
- Paul Kagame, President, Rwanda, urged incentivizing investment in renewable energy.
- Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister, Fiji, said economic recovery presents both an immense challenge and immense opportunity. He called for transition to net-zero shipping fleets, cultivation of climate-conscious industries like fishing and agriculture, and the exchange of debts for the delivery of green and blue development.
On achieving carbon-neutrality by 2050, the leaders called for innovation and investment that provides both long-term environmental benefits and sustainability. They underscored the importance of partnerships and networks to fully realize the transition towards a net-zero future.
- Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister, Spain, said raising the level of ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 should be the new normal.
- Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister, New Zealand, urged countries to work backwards from the carbon neutrality target to ramp up their Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs).
- Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, President, Burkina Faso, said transferring clean technologies suitable for new development requirements should be taken into consideration in international cooperation funding, while lifting barriers to fair access.
- Manish Bapna, interim president and CEO of the World Resources Institute, noted 60 countries, representing over half of all global emissions, have set net-zero carbon targets, calling for the remaining large emitters to align around this goal.
On strengthening climate action and facilitating PPPs, many lauded the Republic of Korea’s steps to strengthen its NDC and urged similar action from others. They noted the centrality of the private sector to achieving the climate targets and outlined numerous initiatives, highlighting efforts to partner to achieve these objectives.
- Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister, Belgium, said development cooperation needs to be done in partnership with the private sector to ensure that projects can be implemented both at scale and with sufficient pace.
- Sebastian Piñera, President, Chile, said COVID-19 did not quarantine the climate crisis and the Chilean green recovery plan mobilizes USD 4.5 billion to accelerate climate action.
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