Expo 2012: Speech at KNECC meeting
Ladies and gentlemen,
“Green Shipping and Green Growth” and “Maritime and Offshore Oil and Gas” are topics of this meeting. These are areas where Korean–Norwegian relations are already flourishing. There is, however, still great potential and need for closer cooperation on these and other issues.
This seminar is timely. It takes place only a month before the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro. Rio +20 is an opportunity for world leaders to give new impetus and direction to the global and national efforts towards sustainable development. There is a need to connect the dots between energy security, food and nutrition security, water security, climate security, and development.
The classic definition of sustainable development was formulated by former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland in the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987: “development that meets the need of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
Affordable energy, a sense of hope, and prospects of economic growth are all crucial for sustainable development. Today, 1.3 billion people do not have access to electricity. Moreover, 2.7 billion are without safe, accessible and clean cooking fuel.
On 10 October last year the International Energy Agency together with Norway invited partners from all over the world to a high-level conference on financing access to energy for the poor in developing countries. I was deeply moved as I listened to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon tell the conference how he used to study by the light of a candle during his childhood and adolescence. Sufficient access to candles was crucial as his exams approached.
Ban Ki Moon’s story is a stark reminder of how far the Republic of South Korea has come in just a few decades. Korea has taken great strides, and has become one of the most important economies in the world. It is encouraging to see the importance attached to green growth and environmental technologies, both at home and in the international community. Norway shares this enthusiasm for increasing sustainability and protecting the environment. Hence our two nations have much to gain from further collaboration on the vital topics of this meeting.
Since its establishment in 1978, the Korean–Norwegian Economic Cooperation Committee has played a key role in facilitating trade and cooperation between our two countries. In closing, I would like to thank our Korean hosts for their hospitality and for creating this fruitful meeting point for Korean and Norwegian trade and industry.