Park ditches ‘green growth’ in environmental policy shift

Korea has been credited with establishing “green growth” as an international goal.  Former President Lee Myung-bak touted it as the next big thing, harmonizing environmental protection and economic development.

A slew of projects, including a river restoration, were pushed in its name and Korea carved its place in the international community by bridging rich and poor countries whose priorities clashed. Like many of his policies, however, “green growth” is now at risk of sinking into obscurity, as the new government conducts a comprehensive policy review.

President Park Geun-hye and her officials are openly skeptical toward Lee’s green packages, saying they were too oriented toward economic growth. They hinted at a shift back to the goal of sustainable development, which Lee had ditched as outdated. Government agencies are investigating the controversial river project over not only its negative impact on water quality but also unsavory ties between the government and contractors.

Cheong Wa Dae has sharply scaled down the Presidential Commission on Green Growth, which was set up by Lee in 2008 as the main driver of the policy, and demoted it to an office under the prime minister. Even the post of ambassador for green growth has been abolished, stoking concerns of a reduced role for Korea in global environmental activities.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

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