Japan and the Republic of Korea Launch Green New Deals
Green stimulus packages gaining momentum as a key solution to the economic crisis
9 January 2009 - Japan and the Republic of Korea have announced that they will invest billions of dollars in green projects to create jobs and spur economic growth, in the latest sign that the Green New Deal advocated by the United Nations is gaining momentum.
Japan has announced that it aims to expand the 'green business' market and create up to 1 million new jobs, with measures including zero-interest rate loans for environmentally-friendly companies.
South Korea, meanwhile, will invest 38 billion dollars over the next four years in a series of eco-friendly projects to create 960,000 new jobs and lay the groundwork for economic growth. The 36 projects include the creation of green transport networks, the provision of two million energy-saving 'green homes' and the clean-up of the country's four main rivers.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: "Investments in clean-tech and renewable energy; infrastructure such as railways and cycle tracks and nature-based services like river systems and forests, can not only counter recession and unemployment but can also set the stage for more sustainable economic recovery and growth in the 21st century."
"UNEP's Global Green New Deal and Green Economy initiative are clearly two ideas whose time has come, as evidenced by the Republic of Korea and Japan's stimulus package announcements alongside those of other key economies and leaders from China to the President-elect of the United States," he added.
Mr Steiner said the announcements also echoed the call by the UN Secretary-General in Poznan last month where he outlined a Global Green New Deal as the best chance for securing a sound and solid climate agreement in Copenhagen in late 2009.
The move by two of Asia's major economies comes on the heels of US President-elect Barack Obama's plans to implement a US$150 billion clean energy programme during his presidency in a bid to create 5 million jobs.
In October, the UN Environment Programme launched the Global Green New Deal and Green Economy Initiative as both an antidote to current economic woes and as a springboard to a low carbon, low impact, high job generating and better-managed global economy.