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FM says COVID-19 recovery should be aligned with push to tackle climate change

Diplomacy 17:44 June 24, 2020

SEOUL, June 24 (Yonhap) -- Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Wednesday that efforts to recover from the economic fallout of the new coronavirus should be aligned with the "long-term ambition to tackle climate change."

Kang made the remarks as South Korea is pushing for the Green New Deal, an environmentally friendly initiative aimed at paving the way for sustainable economic recovery from the COVID-19 public health crisis.

"The basic premise (of the Green New Deal) is clear: We cannot return to the old habits and we must build back the economy better and greener," Kang said during the Green Round Table forum, a Seoul-led initiative to advance the climate change agenda.

"We must ensure that short-term recovery measures are aligned with our longer-term ambition to tackle climate change. That is, from the very start we need to make sure that we are on a sure path to fully implementing the Paris Agreement and achieving the SDGs," she added.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha speaks during the Green Round Table, a South Korea-led initiative to advance the climate change agenda, in Seoul on June 24, 2020. (Yonhap)

Adopted in December 2015, the Paris agreement aims to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times, so as to stave off the disastrous impacts of climate change.

SDGs refer to the Sustainable Development Goals aimed at ending poverty, fighting inequality and injustice and tackling climate change by 2030.

The minister cast the COVID-19 pandemic as a "painful reminder" of the vulnerabilities of human beings to the novel virus and called for countries to pay more attention to the climate change issue.

"COVID-19 should be taken as nature's warning that it cannot guarantee the future of humanity if we don't reverse course and start caring for its climate much more vigorously and urgently," Kang said.

"If we do not achieve the transition towards decarbonization through green recovery measures, nature may no longer care for us," she added.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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