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Global leaders pledge inclusive green recovery at P4G summit

President Moon Jae-in speaks during the Leaders' Dialogue session of the P4G climate summit held at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in speaks during the Leaders' Dialogue session of the P4G climate summit held at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)
Foreign leaders and heads of international organizations on Monday pledged an inclusive green recovery for carbon neutrality and urged joint efforts to help developing countries join the initiative.

The unified message came as the P4G summit wrapped up its two-day run in Seoul. It was the first time South Korea had hosted a multilateral international meeting on the environment.

“We reaffirm that the fight against COVID-19 leaves important lessons for the global response to the climate crisis and believe that the pandemic should be overcome through green recovery as a progressive strategy,” the Seoul Declaration stated.

“The extent to which the green recovery is implemented may reshape our economy and society and also be a turning point in our journey to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The joint statement was adopted following the final Leaders’ Dialogue session chaired by President Moon Jae-in. Fourteen other world leaders joined the discussions online and shared their views on the green recovery, carbon neutrality and public-private partnerships.

The participants included John Kerry, US special presidential envoy for climate; Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen; Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha; Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission; and Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

The Seoul Declaration also contained concrete commitments, including limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 Celsius degrees in line with the Paris Agreement, reducing dependency on coal-powered energy generation, and better responding to marine plastic issues.

During the closing ceremony, Colombia was announced as the host nation of the next summit.

This year’s Seoul event -- the second of its kind, following the inaugural summit in Denmark in 2018 -- originally was to be held last year but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Seoul officials said it was meaningful for the event to be held this year as it marks the year of implementing the Paris Agreement and Korea’s carbon neutrality goals.

Korea aims to cut its carbon emissions by 24.4 percent from 2017 levels by 2030 as part of its blueprint to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

During the opening ceremony on Sunday, Moon pledged to raise the emissions target and to unveil the advanced goal at the upcoming 26th UN Climate Change Conference, or the COP26, to be held in Glasglow, Scotland, in November. He also expressed Korea’s intent to host the COP28, which is slated for 2023.

P4G stands for Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030, a multilateral initiative for inclusive solutions to challenges in advancing the sustainable development goals and the Paris Agreement.

Korea was an inaugural member of the initiative, along with Denmark, the Netherlands, Vietnam and Ethiopia. Currently, 12 member countries make up the initiative.

The Seoul event has also helped elevate the status of the summit by inviting nonmember countries like the US, China, Japan and the European Union and other developing partner nations and international organizations.

During the Leaders’ Session on Sunday, more than 60 top government officials and heads of international organizations delivered prerecorded video speeches, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Japan’s Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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