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Republic of Korea to host critical United Nations green business summit and environment award

First global gathering of business leaders after COP15 to be powered entirely on renewable energy

Seoul (Republic of Korea), 21 August 2009 - The Republic of Korea will host the Business for the Environment Summit (B4E) and Champions of the Earth Award in Seoul next year to coincide with Earth Day on 22 April, the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) jointly announced yesterday.

With US$38 billion earmarked over the next four years for a series of eco-friendly investments that are estimated to create 960,000 jobs, the country is considered as one of the leading proponents of the Global Green New Economy, making it a very relevant host for these two UNEP events.

Now in its fourth year, and following successful meetings in Paris and Singapore, B4E is the biggest annual gathering of leaders from business, government, NGOs and the media, which aims to foster dialogue and business-driven action towards a global green economy. The summit is co-hosted by UNEP, the UN Global Compact, and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), and will address topics such as resource efficiency, renewable energies, new business models and climate policy and strategies. It is planned to be the world's first summit powered entirely on renewable energy.

The 2010 Champions of the Earth Awards, which is hosted in conjunction with B4E, honours outstanding environmental leaders in four categories: Policy Leadership, Entrepreneurial Vision, Science & Innovation, and Inspiration & Action. As the UN's flagship environmental award, the Champions of the Earth has been presented annually by UNEP since 2005 to catalysts of positive environmental change who, through the world of politics, business, science, and civil society demonstrate transformational solutions to environmental threats.

Past laureates include Al Gore, Mikhail Gorbachev, former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and bio-mimicry pioneer Janine Benyus.

Speaking after the signing ceremony for the Memorandum of Understanding, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said: B4E 2010 will be a timely opportunity for leaders to reflect on what was agreed at this December's crucial UN climate convention meeting and its implications for making the transition to a low-carbon green economy. The

Champions of the Earth gives us the opportunity to recognize outstanding and catalytic individuals or groups who are driving the shift to a more resource-efficient development path. Demonstrating vision and leadership with its green growth policy and initiatives, the Republic of Korea is the perfect place to host these important events for the environment."

"Korean business needs to play a lead role in the transition of our nation towards a clean, low-carbon economy" said Korean Environment Minister Maanee Lee at the event. "Hosting B4E and the Champions of the Earth will provide an excellent platform for the Korean government and industries to share our green growth initiatives with the rest of the world and to explore new, collaborative opportunities for a more sustainable future".

Organizers will ensure the greening of the events with energy generated entirely from solar power, a paper-free media centre, and local transportation using bicycles and hybrid vehicles. Speakers and audiences around the world will be able to participate using broadband television and social networking technology; and only local, sustainable-farmed food will be served. Emissions from air, train and car travel will be offset by funding renewable energy systems to power orphanages, senior citizen homes and rural community centres around the Republic of Korea.

UNEP has recently signed up with LG Electronics for a three-year partnership on the Champions of the Earth, while B4E is supported by Dow, CNN, Nalco, First Solar and Siemens.

Notes to Editors:

About the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

UNEP is the United Nations agency for addressing environmental issues at the global and regional level. Its mandate is to coordinate the development of environmental policy consensus by keeping the global environment under review and bringing emerging issues to the attention of governments and the international community for action.

About United Nations Global Compact

Through the power of collective action, the Global Compact seeks to promote responsible corporate citizenship so that business can be part of the solution to the challenges of globalisation. In this way, the private sector - in partnership with other social actors - can help realize a more sustainable and inclusive global economy.

About the Ministry of Environment, Republic of Korea

The Ministry of Environment is the central government authority in charge of environmental protection. to facilitate the creation of a healthy and sound environment, the enhancement of international cooperation and the encouragement of citizen's participation in environmental issues. For more information, visit www.me.go.kr.

For more information, please contact:

Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson/Head of Media: Tel. +254-20 7623084/+254 733 632 755 or while traveling: +41 79 596 57 37, Email: nick.nuttall@unep.org

UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner and RoK Environment Minister, Maanee Lee at the signing of the B4E/Champions of the Earth agreement



Further Resources

Champions of the Earth 2009

B4E 2009

UNEP: Green Economy Initiative

The Republic of Korea and UNEP Pledge Green Growth Partnership - Press Release


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