Development and Climate Change
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In September 2000, 189 Member States of the UN, including the Republic of Korea, adopted the Millennium Declaration at the UN Millennium Summit, with a view to improving the living standards of people suffering from poverty and underdevelopment. Based on the Millennium Declaration, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set 8 goals and 21 targets detailing the measurable development goals to be achieved by 2015. Through the MDGs, the international community harnessed its political will to eradicate poverty and mobilized various resources, which led to notable achievements in international cooperation, particularly in improving access to primary education and child health in developing countries.
With the conclusion of the MDGs in 2015, the international community continued its efforts for development in the context of establishing a post-2015 development agenda. At the 2012 Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, Member States agreed to establish the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and created the intergovernmental Open Working Group on SDGs, which propose 17 goals 169 targets, based on various reports of UN agencies and Member State discussions.
From January to July 2015, 8 sessions of intergovernmental negotiations were held to reach agreement on the outcome document, which was adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015, entitled “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
The 2030 Agenda, which will guide the international community’s development efforts from 2016 to 2030, consists of 5 sections: the preamble, declaration, sustainable development goals and targets, the means of implementation and global partnership, and follow-up and review. The new agenda applies to both developed and developing countries and stresses the universality through balanced inclusion of social, economic and environmental aspects of development.
Notably, the agenda emphasizes the inclusion of the marginalized and vulnerable groups of people in the implementation process and urges the world to leave no one behind. While highlighting the primary responsibility of States for the successful implementation of the SDGs, the agenda also recognizes the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships as an indispensable prerequisite. In addition, the agenda establishes detailed means of implementation alongside an integrated, systematic, and multi-level follow-up and review framework. 2019 marks the end of the first four-year review cycle since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda. In September 2019, the United Nations will hold the SDG Summit and call for accelerated action in the implementation of the SDGs.
In the preparatory process of the 2030 Agenda, the Republic of Korea has actively participated in discussions by focusing on issues of the rule of law, good governance, education, rural development, women, and the rights of persons with disabilities. Based on its unique experience in achieving political and economic development, the Republic of Korea continues to share its best practices and know-hows. The Republic of Korea held the Presidency of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) from July 2015 to July 2016, playing a leading role in laying the ground work for establishing the follow-up and review mechanisms of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and participated in the presentation of voluntary national reviews (VNRs) under the auspices of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF).
The Republic of Korea will continue to make efforts to a successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda both at domestic and global levels.
The international community adopted the Paris Agreement on a new, post-2020 climate change framework at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21), which was held from November to December 2015. Through the Paris Agreement, all Member States committed to partake in global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to strengthen efforts to maintain the world’s average temperature increase to stay below 2 degrees Celsius through the five-year implementation reviews. During the 2016 Marrakech Climate Change Conference (COP22), it was agreed to finalize the rule-set for the implementation of the Paris Agreement by COP24 in 2018 which was held in Katowice, Poland.
The UN has secured political momentum with the Secretary-General's Climate Summit in September 2014 and the High-Level Event on Climate Change in June 2015 by garnering multi-stakeholders’ efforts to promote climate action. Following the adoption of the new Paris Agreement, the UN Secretary-General held a High-Level Signing Ceremony for the Paris Agreement in April 2016 and the High-level Event for entry into force of the Paris Agreement in September 2016 as a way of encouraging the Member States’ swift entry into the Agreement and implementing the Paris Agreement. With strong international support, the Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016. The Republic of Korea deposited its instrument of ratification of the Paris Agreement in November 2016. To boost ambition and accelerate actions to implement the Paris Agreement, UN Secretary-general António Guterres will host the 2019 Climate Action Summit on 23 September.
At the domestic level, the Republic of Korea presented the Emission Trading Scheme in 2015 and submitted its Intended National Determined Contribution (INDC), as well as voluntarily committing to a 37% reduction of business as usual (BAU) greenhouse gas emission goal by 2030. Furthermore, the Republic of Korea developed the “National Greenhouse Gas Reduction Roadmap”, a strategy for achieving its greenhouse gas reduction goal, in 2016. The Republic of Korea is also playing a leading role in the international community’s efforts to tackle climate change by hosting the Secretariat of the Green Climate Fund in Songdo, Incheon since October 2012 to provide support for the mitigation and adaptation of developing countries.