Summary report, 30–31 May 2021

2021 P4G Seoul Summit

“We need to engage in inclusive partnerships in which governments, businesses, and civil society are part of collective solutions, for current and future generations.” These words, featured in the opening paragraph of the Seoul Declaration, echoed the statements made by the leaders during the course of the 2021 Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G) Seoul Summit.

Over the course of the two-day Summit, participants explored how these sectors of society can partner together to reach the twin goals of an inclusive green recovery and carbon neutrality by 2050. Throughout the sessions, leading figures took the stage reiterating the importance of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in five key thematic areas: water, energy, food and agriculture, cities, and the circular economy. They also underscored that the P4G platform is imperative to share knowledge and connect potential partners to catalyze the necessary action.

Discussions addressed both short- and medium-term actions necessary to achieve these goals, with many pointing to the key role that renewable energy and energy efficiency can play to enable a just transition and a green, inclusive recovery for all. This was underscored by the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) announcement that it would be ending financing for overseas coal-fired power plants.

Medium-term actions and initiatives focused on innovation and exploring new ideas and technologies. These included plans to employ green hydrogen as an alternate fuel source, exploring methods for greener steel production, carbon-neutral urban mobility, and integrating circular economy strategies in national planning.

Many business leaders drew attention to the importance of enabling policy environments to allow the private sector to transform to more sustainable business models. They also highlighted an array of different financing solutions already available, but many, including political leaders, drew attention to the financing gap that still must be overcome to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The adoption of the Seoul Declaration, during the Leaders’ Dialogue, brought all these points together, and reiterated the sense of urgency expressed during the Summit. As President Moon Jae-in, ROK, said in his closing statement, we need to “act now for a green future.”

The 2021 P4G Seoul Summit took place over two days, from 30-31 May 2021. The first day featured an opening ceremony and a Leaders’ Session, with Heads of State, heads of international organizations and other dignitaries discussing experiences on: Inclusive Green Recovery from COVID-19; Efforts of the International Community to Achieve Carbon-Neutrality by 2050; and Efforts to Strengthen Climate Action and Facilitate PPP. The second day featured five thematic breakout sessions and a Leaders’ Dialogue. The thematic sessions addressed issues on water, energy, food and agriculture, cities and the circular economy. Each thematic session featured keynote speeches and panel discussions, as well as a P4G Hub-led session led by the P4G Secretariat.

The Summit convened under the theme “Green Recovery and 2050 Carbon Neutrality.” It was held using a hybrid format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with participants able to attend both in person, in Seoul, ROK, as well as online. It was preceded by Green Future Week, which featured a week of events to raise public awareness and “spark action” on carbon neutrality and a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Brief History of P4G

ROK created P4G as a platform for brokering market-based partnerships and impact investments. Established in 2017, in the wake of the 2015 adoption of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on climate change, P4G acts as a delivery mechanism to boost implementation of related international goals and targets through partnerships.

P4G promotes partnerships in five focus areas corresponding to SDGs 2 (zero hunger), 6 (clean water and sanitation), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), and 12 (responsible consumption and production). The platform acts as a bridge to highlight common interests among developed and developing countries.

P4G’s network partners include 12 governments: Bangladesh, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, ROK, South Africa, and Viet Nam. P4G also has five organizational partners: World Resources Institute (WRI), World Economic Forum (WEF), the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), and C40 Cities. Other institutional partners include the International Water Association, Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Partnership, Food and Land Use Coalition, Sustainable Development Investment Partnership, Blended Finance Taskforce, and Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE).

Since its launch, P4G has channeled investments of more than USD 292 million into public-private and multi-stakeholder partnerships for an inclusive and sustainable future.

P4G organized its first global summit from 19-20 October 2018 in Copenhagen, Denmark. With more than 800 participants, the Summit sought to form a global coalition for sustainable growth through innovative partnerships, with particular attention given to cities as important centers of economic activity. Participants from more than 50 countries included Heads of State and Government from Denmark, Ethiopia, ROK, the Netherlands, and Viet Nam, as well as CEOs and green growth champions from the public and private sectors.

The first P4G Summit developed partnerships to scale up the use of electric vehicles in bus transport around the world, promote green urban logistics systems linked to online shopping in China and elsewhere, and combat food loss and waste in Indonesia, among other initiatives. Summit participants endorsed the Copenhagen Commitment to Action, which pledged to enhance action on climate change and the SDGs. This outcome document highlights the need for government, business, and civil society to work together on the transformation toward a sustainable global economy. It points to SDG 17 on partnerships as the key to unlocking market opportunities for concrete, sustainable solutions, and impact.

Just prior to the 2021 P4G Seoul Summit (the second P4G Summit), Green Future Week (24-29 May 2021) featured a series of talks on partnerships to address climate change and the net-zero transition. Many of the discussions highlighted the use of renewable energy and energy efficient technology to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, nature-based solutions for a green recovery from COVID-19, leveraging public investment under pandemic recovery packages, and international cooperation for habitat restoration.

Report of the Summit

Opening Ceremony

The 2021 P4G Seoul Summit opened on Sunday, 30 May, with cultural performances from local youth and other artists highlighting the theme of the Summit: “Inclusive Green Recovery Towards Carbon Neutrality.”

Addressing the Summit, President Moon Jae-in, ROK, 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 ROK will end financing for new overseas coal-fired power plants and will no longer issue permits for new domestic coal power plants. He noted his country achieved economic growth while investing in ecosystem restoration, underscoring the climate crisis could be similarly addressed. He lauded the GGGI’s establishment of a USD 5 million trust fund to support developing countries’ green recovery.

Noting his country’s wish to host the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 28), he closed by saying “our today is what creates our future.”

Leaders’ Session

In this session, over 35 Heads of State, leaders of international organizations, and other high-ranking officials delivered comments, via video message, on three topics: inclusive green recovery from COVID-19; efforts of the international community to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050; and efforts to strengthen climate action and facilitate PPPs.

Kim Boo-kyum, Prime Minister, ROK, opened the session.He highlighted PPPs and global governance, including implementation of the Paris Agreement, urging P4G partners to lead the response.

Yoo Yeon-chul, Ambassador for Climate Change, ROK, moderated the session, with input from Yannick Glemarec, Executive Director, Green Climate Fund (GCF), and Frank Rijsberman, Director-General, GGGI. On aims of the Summit, Glemarec called for a green new deal, with P4G country partners providing a model for this, focusing especially on PPPs. Rijsberman said “green we go” were key words for the Summit, noting COVID-19 has shown that the world’s economies are not sustainable.

Inclusive Green Recovery from COVID-19: Ban Ki-moon, President and Chair, GGGI, and former UN Secretary-General introduced the first theme of the session. He called for building back better by greening the recovery from the pandemic, making responses fully inclusive, scaling up sustainability in developing countries, and investing in green industries.

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister, United Kingdom, welcomed commitments made to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, in the run-up to UNFCCC COP 26. He called for more ambition, innovation, action and finance, including through NDCs that will “match words with deeds.”

Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council, China, said development and the green transition must be advanced concurrently and in a mutually reinforcing manner. He called for: pooling global strength to win the fight against COVID-19; pursuing a green and low-carbon transition; and supporting developing countries by providing additional financial, technological, and capacity-building support.

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, stressed the need for a global partnership to “beat” COVID-19 and build a better recovery, achieve the SDGs, and address climate change. He asked all donor countries to significantly enhance their financial commitments, including allocating 50% of climate finance to adaptation and providing higher levels of grants.

President Joko Widodo, Indonesia, noted the need for global partnerships to ensure all economic production and consumption activities are carried out sustainably. He called for: enabling environments to promote synergies between investment and job creation with green growth; promoting innovation in mobilizing resources that support green growth implementation; and strengthening concrete cooperation that can be effectively implemented and sustained.

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Uzbekistan, discussed national efforts to implement a comprehensive strategy for transitioning to a green economy, as well as a programme for developing renewable and hydrogen energy. Outlining key directions, he emphasized his commitment to actively cooperate with partners through the UN Trust Fund and the P4G platform.  

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Algeria, underscored the need for developed countries to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement, and their commitment to mobilize USD 100 billion per year to support developing countries. He expressed concern that financial resources intended for climate change mitigation are being redirected to tackle COVID-19.

Inger Andersen, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), emphasized the need for a nature-based recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic and promotion of the socio-economic benefits of investing in nature.

Andrew Michael Holness, Prime Minister, Jamaica, noted that the compounded impacts of COVID-19 and climate change have resulted in Jamaica’s worst economic decline in 40 years. Stressing the importance of accounting for enhanced resilience in recovery, he emphasized linking finance to measures of vulnerability and called for scaling up access to vaccines and appropriate technology.

President Battulga Khaltmaa, Mongolia, drew attention to his country’s recently strengthened commitment to reduce emissions by 2030. He highlighted important renewable energy projects in the region, emphasizing the importance of concrete action to attain sustainability goals.

Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, stressed the need to raise collective ambition and called on civil society to keep up the pressure. She also called for the integration of climate change considerations into fiscal and financial decisions.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Nepal, highlighted her country’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. She pointed to the role of a nature-based green economy and a green market, and to large emitters’ responsibility to provide financial and technical resources for mitigation and adaptation, especially for the least developed countries and mountainous regions.

President Paul Kagame, Rwanda, called for incentivizing investment in renewable energy and reducing fossil fuel subsidies. He emphasized green growth as an important source of high-quality employment, which is key for the future.

Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, highlighted research showing that a fast global programme of green stimulus will create “more jobs than usual,” keeping the world on track to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

President Macky Sall, Senegal, outlined his country’s continuing energy transition to significantly improve energy security. He underscored that while Africa has polluted the least, it suffers the most from climate change, and called for the consequent reduction of the African debt burden.

Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, Singapore, highlighted Singapore’s actions under its Green Plan 2030 national roadmap, including investment in low-carbon solutions, clean energy, and green investment to facilitate Asia’s transition to carbon neutrality.

Ibrahim Thiaw, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), stressed land restoration and sustainable land management’s contribution to a green recovery from COVID-19 by: promoting a greater balance between development and the environment; increasing food and water security; slowing climate change; and fostering biodiversity.

Elizabeth Mrema, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), noted that biodiversity loss and ecosystem destruction significantly contribute to the increased risk of zoonotic diseases. She highlighted the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework as a key universal instrument to protect and restore ecosystems and to achieve economic growth and prosperity.

Fang Liu, Secretary General, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), said the global shutdown due to COVID-19 has provided an important opportunity to build back better to ensure sustainability in the aviation sector. She called for governments to do more to leverage the pandemic bailouts being provided to national airlines by ensuring these funds come with clear “sustainability strings attached.”

Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization (IMO), stressed that the post-pandemic recovery will rely on trade by sea. He said the IMO will expand its existing partnerships between stakeholders and build new ones among the public and private sectors in the maritime business groups, private and development banks, and academia.

Bruno Oberle, Director General, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), urged coordination of the fiscal stimulus packages allocated to respond to the economic impact of COVID-19, as the investments may increase intense pressure on natural resources, even if the stimulus packages include green recovery components. He outlined the IUCN Nature-Based Recovery initiative to ensure that at least 10% of global recovery investment goes towards protecting and restoring nature.

Ricardo Calderon, Executive Director, Asian Forest Cooperation Organization, advocated forest-based solutions and integrating sustainable forest management in COVID recovery plans, emphasizing that forestry is not just a sector but an activity and process.

Efforts of the International Community to Achieve Carbon-Neutrality by 2050: Introducing the second theme of the session, Hoesung Lee, Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), emphasized that science is sending a clear message on the need to take immediate action, with green recovery and carbon neutrality as the main goals. Noting challenges to achieving carbon neutrality, he said developing countries need to receive assistance to design appropriate climate actions.

Charles Michel, President, European Council, highlighted the European Green Deal and underscored: the EU’s target to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050; its massive mobilization of funds; and the importance of investment in digital technology for climate change decision making, innovation, and job creation.

President Sahle-Work Zewde, Ethiopia, elaborated on the alignment of her country’s updated NDC with its ten-year development plan and its low-emissions strategy to ensure carbon neutrality by 2050.

Angel Gurría, Secretary-General, OECD, drew attention to the OECD’s paper, “Inequalities-Environment Nexus,” and its International Programme for Action on Climate to support countries in implementing their Paris Agreement goals, calling for aligning short-term policies with net-zero goals.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany, called for increased innovation to address both economic and environmental goals and underscored the need to mobilize private financing to address climate change to meet the needs of the future.

King Abdullah II of Jordan drew attention to the recently launched Green Growth Action Plan that focuses on green recovery from COVID-19 in Jordan through, among others, improving energy efficiency, and mainstreaming climate change in local development planning.

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, WEF, stressed that to achieve carbon neutrality goals, it will be crucial to “pursue the right innovations, the right business models, and also government policies.”

President Emmanuel Macron, France, stressed three requirements to meet the EU’s emission reduction targets: carbon neutrality as the common goal, translated into immediate action; new investment compatible with the Paris Agreement goals; and fair and inclusive action, with international solidarity to support the most vulnerable countries.

President Alberto Fernández, Argentina, said that in December 2020, his country had submitted a strengthened NDC, which aims to reduce emissions by a further 27.7% compared to Argentina’s initial NDC.

Achim Steiner, Administrator, UN Development Programme (UNDP), said climate change, ecosystem and biodiversity loss, and the COVID-19 pandemic constitute a triple crisis caused by humanity exceeding the limits of the planet. He identified three priorities: a just transition, including a tax on carbon rather than income; investment in green energy and infrastructure, and assistance for all countries to participate in this; and cooperation between governments and all sectors to consider what kind of society we want and how to achieve it.

Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister, Luxembourg, noted his country’s numerous contributions to addressing the climate crisis, including “green steel,” electric car batteries, and green finance for transitioning in developing countries such as Viet Nam. He warned that the world is not on target to achieve the Paris Agreement goals.

Lotay Tshering, Prime Minister, Bhutan, said Bhutan’s focus on the sustainable use of natural resources and equity make conservation easier. He noted Bhutan is leapfrogging over a fossil fuel-based industrialization into carbon neutrality, but that new global health issues reflect the deterioration of the global environment.

Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency (IEA), highlighted the IEA’s recently released roadmap on how the global energy sector can attain net zero carbon emissions by 2050, saying it shows almost half of reductions will need to be achieved through technologies that are still under development.

Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister, New Zealand, emphasized the need to: commit to a long-term neutrality target and then work backwards from the target to ramp up NDCs; ensure all financial decisions support low-emissions development; explore how trade can help address climate change; innovate to reduce emissions from the agriculture sector; and provide easily accessible climate finance.

President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, Burkina Faso, said to achieve carbon neutrality, countries must expedite funding of actions to reduce emissions and increase resilience in developing countries. He stressed that transferring clean technologies suitable for new development requirements should be considered in international cooperation funding, while lifting barriers to fair access.

Sanda Ojiambo, Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact, highlighted a “net zero carbon future as the north star for climate action.” She emphasized the need to hold businesses accountable for climate impacts and for their plans and targets to be steeped in science.

Pointing to growing momentum for bold climate action, Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada, highlighted the Powering Past Coal Alliance, co-chaired by the UK and Canada, aimed at boosting international commitment and cooperation to shift away from coal power generation.

Shinjirō Koizumi, Minister of the Environment, Japan, highlighted Japan’s efforts to accelerate the transition towards decarbonization and decentralization. He drew attention to the potential for extending “decarbonization domino effects,” including across borders, citing a recent Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur partnership on decarbonization as an example.

Francesco La Camera, Director-General, International Renewable Energy Agency, emphasized the advantages of increasing investment in renewables for job creation and GDP growth. He cautioned against allowing a dual track for energy transition in which some countries would rapidly turn green while others remained trapped in fossil fuel dependency.

Frank Rijsberman, GGGI, underscored green investment will bring more employment, which is a critical argument for a green recovery. He said GGGI can help countries with private sector investments, but that some investment, particularly in adaptation, relies on public funds and therefore needs a significant increase in ODA contributions.

Efforts to Strengthen Climate Action and Facilitate PPPs: Kitack Lim, IMO, said that bringing together governments, international organizations, business, and civil society to secure more funding for bankable projects that have market potential can have a significant positive impact in achieving the global goals.

Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister, Belgium, said development cooperation must be conducted in partnership with the private sector to ensure projects can be implemented at scale and at a sufficient pace.

President Sebastián Piñera, Chile, said COVID-19 did not quarantine the climate crisis, explaining that the Chilean green recovery plan aims to mobilize USD 4.5 billion to accelerate climate action.

Erna Solberg, Prime Minister, Norway, said climate policy is “the sum of all our efforts as it is how we transform and equip the country to cope with the future.” She pointed to companies committed to long-term sustainability as key to changing the future.

Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister, Bangladesh, called for giving more attention to the interests of climate-vulnerable countries. She urged P4G to raise awareness of its action-oriented approach and engage more financiers and innovators in its five thematic areas. She stressed the need for closer cooperation among world leaders and for changing global attitudes to achieve the 2030 targets.

Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, Prime Minister, Spain, urged state and non-state actors to work together towards a non-emissions future, calling climate neutrality by 2050 “the new normal,” which will create more jobs than fossil fuel economies. 

Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister, Sweden, announced Sweden’s intention to be the first fossil-fuel-free, climate-neutral welfare state by 2045. He noted this effort requires cooperation from all levels of government and all sectors of society, including business, academia, and civil society.

President Nayib Bukele, El Salvador, noted that as a result of the pandemic, the world is more unequal than ever, and urged countries to collaborate in generating new and more inclusive economic systems where no one is left behind.

President Sauli Niinistö, Finland, expressed concern about the Arctic region, noting it is warming at three times the global average. He stressed Finland’s commitment to maintaining climate issues at the core of Arctic cooperation. Niinistö said economic policies and carbon pricing are fundamental to climate action.

Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister, Fiji, noted the huge disparity between the developed and developing world has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine availability. Underscoring that economic recovery presents both an immense challenge and an immense opportunity, he called for: transitioning to net-zero shipping fleets; cultivating climate-conscious industries like fishing and agriculture; and debt swaps for the delivery of green and blue development.

Tatiana Carrillo, Secretary of the Economy, Mexico, outlined three projects that received P4G support: the Getting to Zero Coalition; the Halving Food Loss and Waste by Leveraging Economic Systems partnership; and the Comprometido con la Comida partnership to further cut food loss and waste in Mexico. She said these projects are examples of effective synergies between enterprises and NGOs in developing successful and high-impact inclusive projects.

Yannick Glemarec, GCF, observed that the deepest global recession since the end of World War II is impacting developing countries most severely. He highlighted actions promoted by the GCF for green recovery, including: exploring innovative instruments to finance green recovery; leveraging sovereign and multi-country guarantee funds; and increasing developing country access to long-term affordable finance.  

Manish Bapna, interim president and CEO, WRI, called for: deploying zero carbon energy technologies at unprecedented levels; expanding the availability of solar and wind power; phasing out coal plants; increasing energy efficiency; transforming global transport systems; and quickly eliminating fossil fuels.

In closing, Prime Minister Kim reaffirmed his country’s commitment to a green recovery and carbon neutrality as a meaningful step in the transition to just and sustainable growth.

Thematic Sessions

Five thematic sessions took place on Monday, 31 May, on topics related to water, energy, food and agriculture, cities, and a circular economy.

Carbon-Neutral Smart Water Management for Climate Resilience: In opening remarks, Han Jeoung-ae, Minister of Environment, ROK, said the call for action to be adopted during the thematic session will serve as a cornerstone that encourages action to improve technology, policy, and governance in relation to water management.

In an inspirational speech, Andri Snær Magnason, writer/environmentalist, Iceland, spoke about time and water, and the urgency of action. Stressing that the world has 30 years to reduce emissions to net zero and fundamentally change the relationship to the future, he concluded that “everything we do now counts and matters.”

Keynote Speeches: Sigrid Kaag, Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, the Netherlands, highlighted the need to scale up water-smart initiatives into commercially viable solutions to accelerate on the path towards carbon neutrality, clean water, and sanitation for all.

Huh Jae-yeong, Co-Chair, Presidential Water Commission, ROK, called for transforming the entire process of water management through effective and smart management, water reuse, reduction of usage volume, mitigation of carbon emissions, and guaranteed participation of all stakeholders in water governance.

Panel Discussion: Cha Sang-kyun, Founding Dean, Graduate School of Data Science, Seoul National University, ROK, moderated the panel discussions.

On wise water solutions to climate resilience through innovative technologies, Ana Giros, Senior Executive Vice President, SUEZ, France, highlighted the potential of digital water tools for, inter alia, improving use of water and optimizing municipal consumption. She stressed that digital technologies will help reduce consumption, deploy intelligent agriculture, and prevent natural disasters.

Meena Sankaran, CEO, KETOS, US, stressed the importance of not only having the best technologies, but also making the right policy decisions in allocating capital and budget. She said people, process, and technology must work in unison to create a sustainable future.

Christelle Kwizera, Founder and Managing Director, Water Access Rwanda, said her organization focuses on increasing the artificial storage of water such that when there is a reduction in rainfall, the water available in aquifers does not decrease. She highlighted rainwater harvesting and the creation of water mini-grids as two technologies being deployed to make water accessible and affordable.

On policies and best practices of water management for climate resilience, Jennifer J. Sara, Global Director, Water Global Practice, World Bank, highlighted some quick wins for water management, including reducing inefficiencies in the water sector, embracing renewable energy, and properly collecting, treating and reusing wastewater. She underlined the need for win-win investment solutions, such as making investments with mitigation and employment co-benefits.

Park Jae-Hyeon, CEO, K-water, ROK, highlighted the need for water partnerships led by the public sector, noting they are in charge of executing policies, and involving all stakeholders.

On policies and good governance for climate resilience in water management, Howard Bamsey, Chairman, Global Water Partnership, stressed that transboundary water management requires good governance and participation of all stakeholders including poor populations, women, and youth. He highlighted the need to democratize data and make it available to all. 

Rodolfo Lacy, Director, Environment Directorate, OECD, said countries have the unique opportunity to rethink their response to the climate crisis, as they plan their recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. He highlighted the opportunity to combine robust water management with an appropriate response to the climate crisis.

Sang-kyun Cha opened the floor for questions and comments from youth delegates. Lindsey Marie Aldaco-Manner, Former President, World Youth Parliament for Water, noted the importance of intergenerational participation in discussions on good water management. Lee Ke-hyun, Youth Delegate, Korea Water Forum, called for mainstreaming social issues, especially environmental justice, in discussions about water management and climate resilience. Kevin Geronimo, Vice Chair, 2nd Asia Pacific Youth Parliament for Water, and Youth Delegate, Korea Water Forum, highlighted that most developing countries lack access to the technologies needed for smart water management. Kim Seung-hyeon, Winner of the Korea Junior Water Prize 2020, described the education app he is creating to show the public the amount of water they can potentially save by making small changes to their lifestyles.

P4G Hub-led Session: This session was moderated by Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy, Executive Director, International Water Association.

Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh, stressed the need for innovation and technological advancement in dealing with water issues. Outlining his country’s efforts in water management and climate resilience, he said they have adopted a “whole-of-society” approach to managing water.

Pia Yasuko Rask, SafeWater Senior Director, Grundfos, Denmark, discussed triggers of transformation, including cooperation and partnerships across sectors and geographies, and highlighted the need to experiment, co-create and innovate. Karin Finkelston, Vice President of Partnerships, Communication, and Outreach, IFC, said the cost and complexity of projects need a long-term solution and called for new ways to engage the private sector. 

In a panel discussion, Vedika Bhandarkar, Chief Global Impact Officer,, India, outlined her organization’s efforts to increase local access to water and sanitation, such as working with the IFC to mobilize resources for households and small enterprises. 

Josien Sluijs, Managing Director, Aqua for All, the Netherlands, highlighted the role of impact investors in providing finance alongside financial institutions. Valentin Post, CEO, FINISH Mondial, the Netherlands, described his organization’s work with local entrepreneurs and small businesses in skills development and sanitation training, pointing to the importance of awareness raising and addressing demand. 

Robert Bunyi, CEO, Kenya Pooled Water Fund, noted the Kenyan Government’s estimates that public money can only provide about 40% of funding required for water access. He described his organization’s work as a “financial arranger” to fill this gap, giving water utilities access to long-term capital to meet their water and sanitation infrastructure needs. 

Delivering closing remarks, Robyn McGuckin, Director of Partnerships, P4G Global Hub, highlighted the Summit as a stepping stone to UNFCCC COP 26 and encouraged everyone to continue to push models forward and ramp up needed solutions.

A Greener Planet with Innovative Energy Solutions: This session was hosted by Kim Ji-yeon, Anchor, Arirang TV, ROK. In welcoming remarks, Moon Sung-wook, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, ROK, called for policies and actions that focus on shifting toward greener models of business and job creation. He reminded delegates that partnerships and collaboration will be critical to achieve tangible change, pointing to P4G success stories as models of how this can be done.

Keynote Speeches: Fatih Birol, Executive Director, IEA, drew attention to the proliferation of net zero pledges globally, lamenting the gap between rhetoric and reality. He said the pathway to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 is narrow, but still achievable.

Michael Bloomberg, CEO, Bloomberg L.P., and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions, stated that effective partnerships and increased ambition are essential to reach the global goals, underscoring coal use as the largest contributor to climate change.

Kim Dong-kwan, CEO, Hanwha Solutions, ROK, said shifting away from fossil fuels can result in stranded assets, noting the use of technology to assist in diminishing this risk.

Herbert Eibensteiner, CEO, voestalpine, Austria, outlined voestalpine’s Greentec Steel project to reduce CO2 emissions from steel production by 30% by 2030. He said energy at affordable prices is critical for more sustainable steel production.

P4G Hub-led Session: This session was moderated by Ian de Cruz, Global Director, P4G Hub. In keynote remarks, Mads Nipper, CEO, Ørsted, Denmark, said his company has reached its initial sustainability goals ahead of time due to enabling policy environments. He commented that leveraging P4G to encourage PPPs is essential to achieve future success.

Ana Hajduka, CEO, Africa GreenCo, Zambia, noted innovative models are needed to drive energy access, saying development aid needs to work with local partners on the ground to achieve success. Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities, Denmark, said his company has embarked on 13 sustainable energy partnerships that have generated several usable policy recommendations. He called for accelerating innovation through PPPs in an equitable manner, stating that “this is what P4G is all about.”

In the P4G Hub-led panel discussion, Saurabh Kumar, Executive Vice Chairman, Energy Efficiency Services Limited, India, summarized his company’s work to support the energy “transformation,” saying it uses a scalable model to deliver renewable energy to supply electricity to local communities. Lisa Ashford, CEO, Energise Africa, UK, said her company invests in businesses bringing energy to communities, thus scaling access to energy as a result. She noted a huge financing gap to meet the SDGs, and said more partners are needed. 

Max Correa, Head, Fuels and New Energy Division, Ministry of Energy, Chile, said his country has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, including through 70% renewable energy generation capacity by 2030. He also pointed to the use of green hydrogen as critical, saying Chile aims to become the cheapest green hydrogen producer on the planet.

In closing remarks, Dominic Waughray, Managing Director, WEF, underscored the opportunity for P4G to provide access to partners to scale the initiatives and unlock examples of innovation to enable knowledge transfer from North to South and South to North, as information flows should be both ways.

Panel Discussion: The thematic session’s discussions were moderated by Kim Hee-jip, Professor, Seoul National University, ROK.

Innovation and transformation of energy companies in the age of carbon neutrality: Stéphane Michel, President, Gas, Renewables and Power, Total, France, said the transformation of Total to a holistic energy supplier committing to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 is built on the key pillars of: electricity generation focused on renewable energy; developing the energy customer to include domestic markets; evolving their energy mix; and developing new solutions and technology.

Andrew Marsh, CEO, Plug Power, US, on achieving carbon neutrality, pointed to the use of green hydrogen where renewable solutions are not suitable. Sam Kimmins, Head, RE100, The Climate Group, said companies joining the RE100 initiative are sending a strong signal to the market on the need for cheap, clean power at scale to remain competitive. Yosuke Kiminami, Founding CEO, Renova Inc., Japan, said hurdles to successful renewable energy generation include technological innovation, access to finance, and a dearth of human resources.

Policy direction for global carbon neutrality and sustainable growth: Tomas Anker Christensen, Climate Ambassador, Ministry of Foreign affairs, Denmark, said his country wishes to create an enabling policy environment that is welcomed by all sectors. He noted ongoing discussions to upgrade Danish carbon neutrality targets and said, through PPPs, meeting these targets can be good business.

International cooperation for inclusive green growth: Hong Thuy Paterson, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Support Services, GCF, called for action to address barriers preventing the evolution at scale of affordable, green energy. She outlined the GCF’s support for this and underscored the importance of disseminating lessons learned. Sung Un Chang, CEO, YOLK, ROK, outlined how P4G has been instrumental in testing an innovative solution to addressing both lack of electricity and lack of school attendance—the “solar cow.” She said the solar cow is a device that allows children who are attending school to recharge batteries using solar power for use at home. Responding to a question from Kim, Chang said government cooperation for scaling up the project is essential.

Resilient and Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems: This thematic session was hosted by Jennifer Clyde, Former Announcer, Arirang TV, ROK.

Keynote Speeches: Noting that the amount of people estimated to be living with food insecurity is now at the highest level in the past five years, Dongyu Qu, Director General, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, called for coordinated efforts to address the causes, promoting partnerships and innovation beyond the sector’s boundaries, and progress in achieving all other SDGs.

Agnes Kalibata, Special Envoy for the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit, stressed the importance of shifting food systems from extractive to those that contribute to nature and biodiversity, and enhance resilience. Rasmus Prehn, Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Denmark, emphasized PPPs and referred to the work of ONE\THIRD, a think tank helping to combat food waste and loss, as a successful example of bringing stakeholders together for concrete action.

Kim Hyeon-soo, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, ROK, said the sector presents major opportunities for carbon neutrality and sustainability goals, including through reducing fertilizer and chemical inputs, methane, and food loss and waste, and increasing renewable energy. He expressed hope that P4G would serve as a launching platform for solidarity and partnerships.

P4G Hub-led Session: This session focused on P4G partnerships and was moderated by Claire Kneller, Head, International Food Programme, Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), UK. Kneller noted that while the global food system accounts for roughly a third of global emissions, a sustainable future is not possible without a smart food system. Participants then viewed a P4G SDG Impact video.

In keynote remarks, Choi Byeong-Am, Minister, Korea Forest Service, elaborated on the Peace Forest Initiative with Ethiopia as a replicable example with multiple co-benefits. Bas Rüter, Director of Sustainability, Rabobank, the Netherlands, referred to Rabobank’s new “SDG 12.3 loan,” which offers lower interest rates as an incentive to reduce food waste and emissions, through ambitious targets, credible measurement, and rewards.

During a panel discussion and in response to a question on innovative solutions to unlock investment in sustainable food systems, Bruno Olierhoek, Chairman and Managing Director and for the East and Southern African Region, Nestlé, spoke on the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa initiative to halve food waste by 2030.

Daan Wensing, CEO, IDH – the Sustainable Trade Initiative, the Netherlands, referred to SourceUp, a collaborative platform for supply chain sustainability management, as a model platform for collaboration and partnerships.

Charlotte Sørensen, Business Development Manager, Arla Food Ingredients, Denmark, presented on the development of nutritious biscuits in Ethiopia, produced and consumed locally, including in refugee camps, to address malnutrition and sustainability.

On a question on how a platform like P4G can help scale-up solutions, Sørensen stressed enabling business environments, addressing the whole value chain and locally anchored collaborations, while Wensing emphasized links to the financial sector for financial incentives. Olierhoek underscored circularity and sharing best practices, and Rüter highlighted cooperation and rewards.

In closing the P4G Hub-led discussion, Fekadu Beyene, Commissioner, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission, Ethiopia, said market-based solutions are crucial and called for ambitious voluntary agreements that help generate markets, especially in vulnerable countries.

Panel Discussion: A video on Establishing Sustainable Food Systems Responding to Climate Change was presented. A panel discussion then took place on partnerships using innovative technology to go net-zero in food and agriculture.

Moderator Hyoeun Jenny Kim, Deputy Director-General, GGGI, noted that changing diets are driving demand for even more resource-intensive food production, and shared a video clip on the Korean Zikooin start-up company, which produces plant-based meat alternatives.

Bruce Campbell, Director, Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), emphasized that problems and solutions are context-specific and referred to various climate-smart initiatives, including a salinity warning system in Viet Nam.

Sean de Cleene, Head of Food Systems Initiative, WEF, highlighted social and institutional innovation as part of building an ecosystem approach to enable systemic changes. Birgitte Qvist Sørensen, General Secretary, DanChurchAid, Denmark, underscored access to finance and a more holistic approach to truly sustainable systems.

Klaus Kunz, Head of Sustainability and Business Stewardship, Bayer Crop Science, Germany, noted the need to transform business models to ensure that farmers will accept these models. Catherine Bertini, Chair of the Board of Directors, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), US, pointed to the role of girls in rural areas as an untapped source of knowledge regarding natural resources, given they often bear the burden of finding water and wood.

Speakers agreed on the importance of context-specific incentives. Bertini underscored nutrition policies and referred to a project of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as an example of farmers accessing resources that would otherwise be unavailable. Campbell suggested focusing on real opportunities for reducing emissions, particularly in rice and livestock production, putting carbon back in the soil, reducing deforestation, and ensuring sustainable intensification.

Partnerships for Smart and Resilient Green Cities: This thematic session was hosted by Moon So-ri, Actress, ROK.

Keynote Speeches: Noh Hyeong-ouk, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, ROK, said while cities brought prosperity to humanity, huge costs were incurred by nature. He called for smart cities using innovation and interactive platforms for civic engagement.

Flemming Møller Mortensen, Minister for Development Cooperation, Denmark, described Copenhagen’s environmental transformations since 2011 and goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025. He stressed partnerships and sharing lessons learned on resilience and on recovery from COVID-19.

P4G Hub-led Session: Leila Yim Surratt, Director of Strategy and Engagement, P4G Global Hub, moderated this session, which addressed city transformations.

In keynote remarks, Nigel Topping, High Level Champion for Climate Action, COP 26, UK, commended P4G’s assistance in helping developing countries take part in the UN’s “Race to Zero” campaign, which aims to move from targets and pledges to plans and actions to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. He said this requires partnerships such as P4G, noting 87 P4G city members have signed up to the campaign

Daniel Gomez, Deputy Minister for National Planning, Colombia, reported on Colombia’s national COVID-19 recovery policy, which is accelerating its 2018 sustainable green growth policy.

Cristina Gamboa, CEO, World Green Building Council, said 70 green building councils are building capacity and strong PPPs, and tackling energy efficiency, through developing policies and best practice standards. She said carbon neutrality is needed in new builds, calling for accelerated awareness-raising and responsible investment.

A panel discussion addressed innovative solutions to unlock investment. Monica Araya, transport lead, Climate Champions’ “Race to Zero” Campaign and ClimateWorks Distinguished Fellow, described the “race to zero emissions” campaign in transport, requiring target dates for curtailing non-electric vehicles in order to unlock finance. She stressed smart financing models through partnership between suppliers, providers of capital, and government.

Bryan Wisk, Chief Investment Officer, Asymmetric Return Capital, recommended a “bankable” city plan and application of models from other asset classes in order to consolidate risk, lower technology costs, and increase attractiveness for international capital investment.

Lars Tveen, President, Developing Regions, Danfoss, Denmark, noting the energy and building sectors each contribute 40% of emissions, said green projects and financial capital can work together, allowing P4G and developing countries to be leaders in reducing emissions and creating jobs.

Dennis Awori, Chair, Toyota Kenya Limited, said his company wants net zero emissions in its operations and products, describing its involvement in an electric vehicle revolution. He said Kenya is committed to promoting a green economy to attract climate financing.

On how P4G-like platforms can help actors scale: Araya asked that it engage the local banking sector in host countries; Wisk called for aligning models with national policies; and Tveen recommended explaining solutions to decision makers to ensure their quick uptake.

Panel Discussion: This discussion addressed P4G partnerships and the role of smart cities. Jorge Saraiva, Leader, European Network of City Policy Labs (, stressed the importance of knowing a city’s “DNA,” identifying ecological limits and minimum living standards, and taking a holistic approach. He supported engaging everyone in value creation and measuring performance.

Sonja Stockmarr, Global Design Director Landscape, Henning Larsen Architects, Denmark, said partnerships are critical for designing sustainable, resilient cities through nature-based programmes in partnership with all stakeholders.

Park Chul, Vice President, Hyundai Motors, ROK, spoke on building a carbon-neutral city by activating innovation to achieve sustainable eco-friendly mobility, reporting on a pilot project on autonomous vehicles that identified requirements for success.

Cho Dae-yeon, Senior Research Fellow, Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement, reported on using digital technology in Korea’s City Prosperity Initiative to develop smart green cities that resolve urban problems, achieve sustainable growth and carbon neutrality, and promote economic development. He expressed hope that ROK’s smart green cities will become the global standard.

Marc Hendrikse, Chair, Holland High Tech, the Netherlands, reported on a Dutch PPP incorporating an entire value chain to create a strategic platform for intelligent transport systems, with partial government funding. He said the project produced useful lessons, including on data privacy and security, speed of transmission, and detection of hazards.

Kim Do-nyun, Professor, Sungkyunkwan University, ROK, moderated a discussion on how smart cities will respond to climate change. Jorge Saraiva stressed fair, inclusive, and sustainable economic recovery, which must consider all values, with hydrogen trucks able to reduce carbon emissions by 40%.

Cho Dae-yeon said emissions will be reduced by switching to hydrogen-powered vehicles, more public transportation, and green infrastructure, with the support of PPPs.

On value chains and PPPs, Marc Hendrikse noted the Netherlands’ long culture of cooperation through PPPs to address flooding, with funding from the national government and treating all parties equally.

On landscape design, Sonja Stockmarr said congestion, pollution, heat islands, and other problems can be solved by establishing large landscapes or nature-based areas in cities.

Circular Economy Measures Towards a Zero Waste Society: Hosted by Lee Seung-hee, Artist, ROK, the session shared the latest global efforts, actions, and innovations in circular economy with a special focus on zero waste.

In introductory remarks, Han Jeoung-ae, Minister of Environment, ROK, highlighted national efforts, including: a circular economy implementation plan; the reduction of unnecessary packaging; and support to circular economy business models.

Keynote Speeches: Lea Wermelin, Minister of Environment, Denmark, highlighted the Danish circular economy strategy, which includes wastewater plants that convert sewage into biogas, as well as efforts to help other countries develop a more efficient and sustainable water sector.

Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, pointed out that in 2019, 54 million metric tons of e-waste were discarded with less than one-sixth of this waste diverted for proper recycling and reuse. He highlighted the Basel Convention’s plastic waste amendments, which are helping to advance circularity by creating conditions for global trade in plastic waste and providing incentives to strengthen national capacities.

P4G Hub-led Session: Kevin Moss, Global Director, Center for Sustainable Business, WRI, moderated the session. In keynote remarks, Faruque Hassan, President, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, explained that with a view to closing the loop, Bangladesh is working to build a circular model with P4G by developing domestic recycling capacity and mobilizing 140 brands to increase the reuse of recycled fibers.

Julius Muia, Principal Secretary, National Treasury and Planning, Kenya, highlighted his country’s commitment to successfully scaling up green manufacturing solutions and creating an enabling environment through the proven P4G roadmap.

Surharso Monoarfa, Minister for National Development Planning, Indonesia, highlighted national efforts aimed at: integrating the circular economy in the Vision of Indonesia 2045; building knowledge on green technology; and developing a circular economy action plan.

During the ensuing panel discussion, panelists reflected on experiences in implementing a circular economy business model. Amy Jadesimi, CEO, Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base, Nigeria, explained how a disused swamp has been transformed into a fully integrated logistics base, creating a new ecosystem and a lot of value for tenants and the environment. Morten Lehmann, Chief Sustainability Officer, Global Fashion Agenda, observed that 40% of material in textile production is waste, noting that if Bangladesh can turn this waste into new materials, then it is a win-win in terms of closing the loop. He emphasized the importance of engaging all players, particularly the informal sector, to turn this waste into a new valuable resource.

Christophe Maquet, Senior Executive Vice President, Veolia Asia, highlighted the 3R (Reduce, Recover, Recycle) Initiative (3RI) partnership, which aims to create a new plastic recovery and recycling crediting mechanism to drive new finance to projects that reduce plastic waste. Ayaan Zeinab Adam, Senior Director, Africa Finance Corporation, noted that a significant amount of infrastructure in the energy, transport and logistics sectors in Africa must still be built. She added that localizing manufacturing would reduce waste, cut emissions, and increase the value capture for African economies.

Panelists then elaborated on how P4G had enabled the scaling up of solutions. Jadesimi noted sustainable solutions are the most profitable but local entrepreneurs need to be financed and engaged. She said partnerships like P4G have been successful in bridging the gap between local players and international actors. Lehmann highlighted the need for creating the right incentives to close the loop, such as enabling environments, supportive policies, and access to investments, and called on P4G to support this. Maquet highlighted the potential of the plastic credit market to combat waste, adding that P4G is a powerful platform which can play an important role in facilitating connections to ensure standards are developed in inclusive ways while delivering impact.

Stephan Sicars, Managing Director, Directorate of Environment and Energy, UN Industrial Development Organization, closed by saying the session had demonstrated that innovative partnerships in sectors and value chains is the right place to test and implement circular economy innovations.

Panel Discussion: This discussion on challenges and solutions to transition to circular economy, was moderated by James Hooper, Professor, Dongguk University, ROK. In a video message, James Quincey, CEO and Chair, The Coca-Cola Company, highlighted initiatives such as the development of regenerative water techniques, as well as efforts to increase access to water and sanitation. He also noted strides in creating a circular economy for packaging through the World Without Waste Initiative and the development of advanced plant-based packaging requiring less oil.

Wanjira Mathai, WRI Vice President and Regional Director for Africa, said Africa is now only recycling 4% of its waste. Noting the surge of personal protective equipment waste due to COVID-19 and general lack of planning, she emphasized the need to rediscover cultural linkages to circularity.

Addressing a question on how the circular economy can contribute to carbon neutrality, Steven Stone, Chief, Resources and Markets Branch, UNEP, noted that 100 billion metric tons of new material finds its way into the global economy every year and is responsible for 50% of all carbon emissions. Rhee Seung-whee, Professor, Kyonggi University, ROK, called for maximizing energy efficiency, reducing consumption, and increasing renewable energy production, emphasizing the need for different stakeholders to work together to achieve a macro vision. 

Roald Lapperre, Vice Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Netherlands, highlighted the major accomplishments of the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan, noting it consists of 35 concrete actions, including a ban on single use plastics, mandatory use of recycled content in plastics and improved repairability, and the removal of toxic substances to improve recyclability.

Na Kyung-soo, President/CEO, SK Global Chemical, ROK, elaborated on his company’s efforts to promote a circular economy by increasing the recycling rate of plastics, as well as the development of chemical and mechanical recycling. Evangelos Gidarakos, President, International Waste Working Group, emphasized that the goal should not be zero waste but rather waste avoidance at an economically and ecologically sustainable level. Lapperre highlighted PACE, a platform for accelerating the circular economy, which brings together all relevant actors. Stone outlined UNEP support through the One Planet network and the Hotspots Analysis Tool, which provides countries with a toxicity profile for each sector.

Leaders’ Dialogue

President Moon, ROK, presided over the Leaders’ Dialogue on Monday, 31 May.

In a keynote presentation, IPCC Chair Lee emphasized carbon neutrality as a science-based global goal, which is compatible with sustainable development and the eradication of poverty, and capable of creating economic opportunities while avoiding serious climate change risks.

Recalling ROK’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, President Moon highlighted his country’s Green New Deal and various large-scale meaningful investments, including in offshore wind energy and green hydrogen production, as well as efforts to address marine debris. He stressed the importance of solidarity, technology support, and capacity building, and emphasized ROK’s willingness to serve as a bridge between developed and developing countries.

Mette Frederiksen, Prime Minister, Denmark, underscored the role of PPPs, which has already allowed Denmark to derive 50% of its energy from wind and solar sources.

President Márquez, Colombia, noted his country will host the next P4G Summit, and highlighted his country’s goals of achieving 51% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. He outlined intended measures to achieve these goals, including energy transition, clean mobility, circular economy, and nature-based solutions.

Ursula von der Leyen, President, European Commission, said now is the right time to rethink societies and economies, and to rebuild for a greener and healthier future, stressing that this is what the EU Green Deal is about. She said Europe is committed to becoming the first carbon neutral continent by 2050 and that, in July, the EU will adopt a package of legislation called “Fit for 55,” which will detail how the Union will meet its target of 55% net emission reductions below 1990 levels by 2030.

Phạm Minh Chính, Prime Minister, Viet Nam, said green recovery, green economy, and the circular economy must be pursued at the national and regional levels under the framework of the SDGs. He called for a green transition and new institutions to support the transition.

On achieving net zero emissions by 2050, Mark Rutte, Prime Minister, the Netherlands, urged “getting everyone on board” and going “all in.” He also called for determining what is required to achieve a 1.5°C pathway in the short and-medium term, including: greening finance; moving away from coal at home and abroad; and transitioning from carbon neutrality to climate neutrality.

John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change, US, highlighted the Biden administration’s “ambitious new target” aimed not only at making up the difference for being absent for the last four years, which he called “inexcusable,” but also at trying to achieve and keep alive the 1.5°C temperature goal. He also announced the intention of the US to: double public climate finance to developing countries by 2024 or sooner; work towards achieving the USD 100 billion commitment; and work with the private sector “to bring trillions of dollars to the table for investments in climate-related initiatives.”

Prayuth Chan-ocha, Prime Minister, Thailand, highlighted Thailand’s Bio-Circular-Green Economy agenda announced in early 2021, which encourages collaboration with all sectors. He also elaborated on plans to roll out 50 million electric vehicles by 2025 and to plant 100 million trees.

Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), urged all countries to follow the example of ROK’s 2050 target and Green New Deal for inclusive green recovery. She announced that the IMF is customizing its policy advice for an inclusive green recovery and called on other institutions to do the same.

Hun Sen, Prime Minister, Cambodia, called for, inter alia, creating a favorable environment to mobilize additional resources for action on climate change and developing green infrastructure and green industrial development.

Sebastian Kurz, Chancellor, Austria, said green recovery must be made a reality through a green new deal and financial package that directs all financial stimulus packages towards green projects. He noted Austria’s ambitious climate goals, encompassing carbon neutrality by 2040 and focusing on renewables rather than nuclear energy, with the aim of having a 100% renewable energy supply by 2030.

President Carlos Alvarado Quesada, Costa Rica, said forests, protected by women and indigenous communities in developing countries, represent an ancient technology to fix carbon while providing habitat, protecting water, and supporting mental health, and stressed nature-based solutions and payment for environmental services.

Noting that COVID-19 has shown the need for collaborative responses to global crises, President Francisco Sagasti Hochhausler, Peru, called for the intellectual property regime to be revised in relation to health and energy, and for investment and finance to be aligned with sustainability.

Closing Ceremony

Introducing the Seoul Declaration during the closing ceremony, President Moon said now is the time for meaningful action and expressed hope that P4G would serve as a catalyst for such action. The Declaration calls for, inter alia: an inclusive green recovery from COVID-19 as a progressive strategy that reflects a just transition, taking into account different national circumstances as well as socially and environmentally vulnerable communities; and efforts to strengthen the sustainability of the ocean and prevent additional marine pollution. The Declaration also underscores the importance of PPPs and the role of civil society, local governments, and youth. The Declaration was unanimously adopted.

President Márquez, Colombia, expressed his delight that Colombia would be hosting the P4G Summit in 2023. He hoped the Summit will continue to trigger new action so every business and NGO will acknowledge the need to address climate change. Urging everyone to “act now for a green future,” President Moon closed the Summit at 11:40 pm KST.

Seoul Declaration

In the Seoul Declaration, the outcome document of the 2021 P4G Seoul Summit, the Leaders recognize the climate crisis as an urgent global threat whose impacts extend beyond the environment. They reaffirm that the fight against COVID-19 provides important lessons for a global response to the climate crisis, and that the pandemic should be overcome through green recovery as a progressive strategy.

The Leaders also, inter alia:

  • underscore the importance of PPPs and the potential of those pursued by P4G, including PPPs that scale tangible and market-based solutions;
  • acknowledge green recovery should steer efforts to rebuild the economy from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to limit the temperature increase to well below 2°C aiming for 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, in line with the Paris Agreement.
  • strive to pursue green recovery as an inclusive process that reflects a just transition, taking into account different national circumstances as well as socially and environmentally vulnerable communities;
  • welcome the ambitious NDCs already submitted by countries and encourage other countries to submit enhanced NDCs at the earliest possible date;
  • encourage energy transitions to ensure ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement;
  • recognize that climate change, desertification and land degradation, and biodiversity loss are three of the greatest environmental challenges of our time and encourage approaches that will help respond to them in a way that maximizes co-benefits and minimizes trade-offs;
  • agree on the severity of marine pollution and the need for global solidarity to address marine plastic issues;
  • realize that developing new green technologies and scaling up existing ones will expedite progress in achieving net zero emission; and
  • will strengthen international cooperation to develop, improve and disseminate such technologies and investment that are necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Inspired by the discussions during Green Future Week and the thematic sessions, the Leaders will, inter alia:

  • continue to promote global PPPs;
  • drive investment in innovative solutions for sustainable water management;
  • strengthen international cooperation to promote an energy transition;
  • strive to achieve sustainable and resilient agriculture and food systems centered on the water-energy-food nexus;
  • pursue smart and resilient green cities where humans coexist in harmony with nature i, recognizing that climate action will improve the quality of life and ensure sustainable development;
  • promote the transition to a “zero-waste society” in which resources are used in a sustainable and efficient manner;
  • encourage an increase in public and private sector funding for green investments, acknowledging the crucial role of private investors and financial institutions to deliver on a net zero future; and
  • enhance the role of local governments in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs and encourage solidarity among them.

The Leaders, further:

  • welcome the active role of civil society in raising public awareness and underscore the importance of their full and effective participation in climate action;
  • recognize that Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) values are important standards that guide corporate evaluations while encouraging businesses to commit to improve their ESG performance; and
  • will proactively share new ideas and the entrepreneurial spirit of the future generation through P4G partnerships as well as develop youth-driven platforms such as the Global Youth Climate Challenges (GYCC) in the process.

Further information


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