Discuss the GREEN with Youths: UAC meets Green Conference

On 20th November 2020, Mr. Doug Watkins, the Chief Executive and staff members of EAAFP Secretariat participated in a conference at University of Utah Asia Campus, titled: ‘UAC meets Green: Towards a Green New Deal through Urban Ecology’ which was hosted by the University of Utah Asia Campus (UAC), Incheon Songdo, Republic of Korea (ROK).

Recently, the Korean Government declared the Korean New Deal with the core aim on recovery from the current crisis and lead to the global economy in the post-COVID-19 era as an inclusive country focusing on people and transforming towards sustainability and innovation. The Korean New Deal has two main pillars which are: the Digital New Deal to promote digital innovation and dynamics in the economy, and the Green New Deal to accelerate the transition towards low-carbon and eco-friendly economy. These two pillars are to be reinforced with the social safety nets. However, the core focus on the economic recovery on Korean New Deal became a controversial issue with no linkage with Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) and the lack of the biodiversity conservation aspect among environment actors.

With the focus on this ongoing issues of the Korean New Deal, during the conference, the EAAFP Secretariat gave a presentation to speakers and students at UAC and actively engaged the discussion about the “Green New Deal” policy, for the global climate crisis and provoking underlying global challenges in the Post-COVID era.

© University of Utah, Global Campus

The conference began with a welcoming and opening remarks from three panelists. First, Dr. Hoon Chang, the Director of Korean Center for Climate Change-Policies under the Ministry of Environment gave remarks. He mentioned his hope to this seminar and workshops to embrace important topics towards the new Korean Government policy. Likewise, in her remark, Dr. Oyun Sanjaasuren, the Director of External Affairs at Green Climate Fund (GCF), highlighted the importance of Net-Zero Carbon Emission which President of Ro Korea, Mr. Moon’s pledge for a 2050 Net-Zero Carbon Emission goal and added on it is pleasing that young generation is well aware and trying for transformation reform. Lastly, Mr. Doug Watkins gave a brief presentation of EAAFP and close connectivity between the urban city and biodiversity during his remark, introducing the important habitats for migratory waterbirds in the urban city. He raised examples like Namdong Reservoir—near Songdo Tidal flat [EAAF145], and Cheonsu Bay [EAAF046] and emphasized that the Green New Deal policy could allow people to recognize this importance linkage and enhance it in Phase II of the Policy.


Following the remarks, there was a special guest lecturer, H.E. Joanne Doornewaard, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to South Korea, presenting on the ‘Netherlands Climate Agreement’. She introduced the necessity for climate change policy and elaborated its necessity with Dutch Climate Agreement as an example and explaining on how the agreement has been designed and managed step-by-step following 1) awareness-education, 2) society-participation, 3) public support, 4)green financing and 5) transform. The presentation concluded that the society first needs to ask for the need of changes to government, where the government shall support with policies and set target, such as Net-Zero in 2030 to 2050 and seeking to increase the renewable energy implementation.

Next session of the conference was a presentation on urban ecology projects done by Dr. Reazul Ahsan, from the Faculty of Urban Ecology at UAC, and his students. Dr. Reazul Ahsan gave a brief introduction of the project noting the connectivity with the physical, natural environment with built-in environment are crucial and invited his students to present their works. The students presented on their projects titled: “Smart City approach to address climate-induced water crisis: Songdo as a case” and “Post pandemic approach to manage urban resources to achieve sustainability: Songdo as a case, which they researched and analyzed on the post-pandemic reality and the perspective of urban ecology.


After a short break, the conference continued with a panel discussion, where Mr. Doug Watkins and Dr. Hoon Chang were the panelists. The main topics of the discussion were on biosecurity, urban security and Korean Green New Deal. Mr. Doug Watkins mentioned that creating more programs to introduce area like Namdong Reservoir to protect the migratory waterbirds will help to foster people an awareness of linkage of urban and nature. While discussing the Korean Green New Deal, Dr. Hoonchang noted that some of the issues mentioned during the presentation of students were already being discussed and reflected.

The conference concluded with last remarks from Dr. Hoon Chang and Mr. Doug Watkins, noting though there are still many processes and steps going on for the Korean Green New Deal, reducing carbon emission is essential and it is important for Green New Deal to further enhance more ‘GREEN’ and collaborative approaches. Furthermore, the pandemic gave another chance to realize the fading “GREEN” and foster the importance of global operation and reduce this invisibility towards ecology.

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