Rio de Janeiro, 20 June 2012 - Secretary-General's remarks at signing of agreement on the establishment of the Global Green Growth Institute - as prepared for delivery
President Lee Myung-Bak of the Republic of Korea,
Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark,
Dr. Han, Chairman of the Board for the Green Growth Institute,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am deeply grateful to the Korean Government for establishing the Global Green Growth Institute to help developing countries around the world.
I thank Dr. Han for his strong leadership over the past two years. As the Founding Chairman, he set the Institute on a solid course for progress. Dr. Han has long been an effective global advocate for green growth, and I applaud his many contributions.
For too long, the economy was on a collision course with the environment.
It was growth at all costs – no matter what damage our lands, seas and air suffered.
That approach poisons our environment – and in the long run, it exhausts the resources we need to survive.
If we burn our way to prosperity, we destroy our chances for success.
The solution is sustainable development, a model that helps the planet and its people.
This demands a revolution in the way we think and act.
No more reckless consumption of scarce resources. No more careless pollution of fragile ecosystems. No more mortgaging our long-term future for our short-term needs.
We are here at Rio to advance a new global model.
A model based on scientific innovation, technological breakthroughs and common cause.
A model of protection and conservation that also generates profits and jobs.
I am very encouraged by the commitments I am hearing in Rio.
My Sustainable Energy for All initiative has received enormous support. We have commitments totalling tens of billions of dollars. More than 50 governments have signed on, and others are engaged.
I set three major goals for the year 2030.
First, universal energy access.
Second, a doubling of the global rate of energy efficiency.
And third, a doubling of renewable energy powering our world.
By providing people with clean energy, we promote development. We fight inequality. And we protect the environment.
Sustainable Energy for All will give more than one billion people access to modern energy. Many more will benefit as more partners come on board.
Energy is just one of the many aspects of sustainable development on the table here in Rio. Gender equality, urbanization, education, food scarcity and other pressing issues all demand action.
We have a moral and political responsibility to advance sustainable development.
I am pleased to see governments stepping up as never before.
Companies see the investment potential in a green economy. And environmental activists are helping to foster green growth.
I am well aware that we are in the midst of a global economic crisis. I have just come from a meeting of the G-20 in Los Cabos, Mexico. I urged leaders there to invest in sustainable development.
I am confident that this is the best way to set the world on course for growth.
As a Korean, I take special pride in my country’s global leadership on this front.
Korea understands the opportunities presented by the green economy. In response to the global economic and financial crisis of the past several years, the Government’s multibillion dollar stimulus package dedicated 80 per cent of resources to green growth with a goal of creating nearly a million green jobs.
Korea understands that you can never build national prosperity without protecting the environment.
I am particularly impressed by President Lee’s leadership.
As you know, the Global Green Growth Institute was inaugurated in 2010.
At the time, President Lee pledged that the Institute would “evolve into a permanent common asset of the international community by 2012.”
He is here to honour this pledge.
I am extremely pleased that today in Rio, Denmark, Australia and the United Kingdom are transforming this valuable Institute into an international organization.
This will be one of the many tangible results of Rio+20.
The Institute has been at the forefront of the transition to a green economy.
As a think tank and laboratory, it is supporting the global push for a low-carbon economy.
Through partnerships and projects, it is helping the United Nations to address poverty and environmental degradation.
Together, I am confident we can pave the way to the future we want.
In that spirit, I offer my very best wishes for the great success of this new international organization: the Global Green Growth Institute.
I have confidence that the Institute will contribute to advancing sustainable development around the world.
Statements on 20 June 2012
- Rio de Janeiro, 20 June 2012 - Secretary-General's remarks to Rio+20 Conference Ceremonial Opening Session - as delivered
- New York, 20 June 2012 - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on National Dialogue in Lebanon
- New York, 20 June 2012 - Secretary-General's message on World Refugee Day
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 20 June 2012 - Secretary-General's remarks at Official Opening Session of Rio+20 Conference