By Cho Kyeung-kyu, Minister of Environment of Republic of Korea
The birth of the Global Environment Facility was one of the most important achievements of the Rio Earth Summit, a milestone in international efforts to protect the global environment.
As the global leader in funding environmental projects, GEF has continued to prove, through its activities, that protecting the environment is an essential element of economic growth for countries in any stage of development.
The Republic of Korea has continuously supported the GEF as a donor. Our accumulated financial contribution has now reached approximately 30 million USD. We also cooperate with the GEF to address regional environmental issues, including the biodiversity of the Tumen River Basin.
While celebrating its 25 years, I cannot over-emphasize the GEF's future importance. Environmental issues continue to be at the top of the global agenda. The impacts of climate change, and of the loss of biodiversity at an unprecedented rate, are felt in every corner of the Earth. If the global community is to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, we will need to mobilize the necessary financial resources for the areas that most need it, and the GEF's role will undoubtedly continue to grow.
The Republic of Korea will continue to be an important partner for the GEF. I hope this 25th anniversary will be a valuable opportunity to remind us of its significance in our shared effort for environmental conservation.