Inaugural Address at the Opening Session of the 66th Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific by H.E. Dr. Chung Un-chan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea

Excellency Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Excellency Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, Excellency Edward Natapei, Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Honorable Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of the UN ESCAP,

Honorable Ministers,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I offer my heartfelt congratulations on this auspicious opening of the 66 th Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific here in Songdo, Incheon.

On behalf of the Government and the People of the Republic of Korea, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all the delegates from ESCAP members and associate members, representatives of the United Nations and other organizations.

It has been almost twenty years since Korea hosted the 47 th Session of the Commission in Seoul in 1991.

We are, therefore, delighted and honoured to host this Session once again in Korea.

The year 1991 marks great significance for the Korean people. It was in 1991 that the Republic of Korea finally joined the United Nations. At that time, we were not yet fully established in the international community, especially in the United Nations framework. The 47 th Session of ESCAP represented a kind of "debut" for the Korean Government.

Now in 2010, Korea has risen to be a full and active member of the international community. At the beginning of this year, Korea became a member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee.
We are the only country that has transformed from a beneficiary to a donor of Official Development Assistance within just half a century.

Assuming G20 presidency this year during the Seoul Summit in coming November, Korea is also increasing its contribution to international economic cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to underline that the theme for this year's session, the "Financial System and Green Growth for the Achievement of the MDGs" is indeed very timely and appropriate.

It gives us a chance to engage in profound and meaningful discussions on how green growth and the reform of the international financial architecture can help the Asia-Pacific region to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

It is true that until recently, the world had considered industrial development as the most effective way to eradicate poverty and hunger.

However, we now fully understand that if we do not protect the natural environment around us, economic growth and poverty reduction cannot be sustained in the long-term.

Green Growth, a new development paradigm that guarantees sustainable growth, has now become an internationally preferred strategy of growth.

Recognizing the significance of green growth, our government is pursuing the Green New Deal policy under the "National Strategy and Five-Year Plan for Low Carbon, Green Growth" to invest 2% of GDP in the green growth sector on an annual basis over the next five years. The policy will expand and strengthen green infrastructure and create jobs in green industries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The world needs to build an inclusive and supportive financial system in order to achieve the MDGs. Since the G20 Pittsburgh Summit last September, G20 countries have been working closer together to find ways to enhance access to financial services for the vulnerable people.

Korea has been making preparations to contribute to such global efforts by sharing its experiences of rapid development and overcoming financial crises in the late 1990's.

The Korean government is currently under discussion with other G20 countries to establish a global financial safety net to help mitigate the impact of foreign currency liquidity shortages in the developing countries. Drawing from Korea's course of advancement, we are also developing agendas to help achieve the MDGs for the upcoming G20 Seoul Summit.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my sincere hope that this year's Commission Session yields many constructive solutions, presenting a vision for the Asia-Pacific which embraces the promotion of peace and prosperity through much closer cooperation.

I take this opportunity to reaffirm that the Republic of Korea will continue to render full support for the success of this Meeting as well as our common efforts to reach the MDGs in the region.
Once again, I would like to thank each and every one of you for coming to attend this Commission Session. I hope that you will find this meeting to be a most rewarding and enjoyable experience.

Thank you very much.