Incheon Mayor Song Young-gil
By Yi Whan-woo
Songdo, the heart of Incheon City, is in the final stages of competing for the right to host the headquarters of the Green Climate Fund, the tentative decision for which is expected Oct. 18-20.
The final decision is scheduled for the 18th Congress of the U.N. Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) due to take place at the end of November at Doha, Qatar.
At present, six countries are contending for the auspicious right to host an organization such as the World Bank and the Asia Development Bank, with Korea, Germany and Switzerland believed to be on the short list. The others are Mexico, Namibia and Poland.
With the countdown to the final decision well on the way, there is ferocious competition, the main reason being that the establishment of the fund headquarters at a certain location is expected to generate 100 trillion won worth of economic benefit.
“The effect of bringing home the headquarters is 100 times more than the hosting of the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games with annual related revenues amounting to 400 billion won,” said Incheon Mayor Song Young-gil.
In explaining the project to The Korea Times recently, Song said there are abundant reasons why GCF has to be headquartered in the new thriving district of Songdo in Incheon.
“We are currently in the process of completing the I-Tower, a 33-story building which is exclusively designed for U.N. organizations, we are planning to provide the entire 15th floor rent-free to GCF in addition to the office amenities and facilities,” Song said.
“We are living up to all expectations of UNFCCC in terms of low-carbon and eco-friendly environment,” he said, adding that the recycling of wastewater will reach 40 percent by 2020 and the recycling of waste 76.3 percent, living up to expectations as a “Compact and Smart City.”
At present, 10 international organizations, including the East Asia and Northeast Asian office of the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), are located in the Songdo district, testifying to the efficiency of its infrastructure.
The initial proposals for the establishment of the GCF headquarters began in March this year with the Korean government designating Incheon as the most appropriate and competitive location.
The meeting of directors initially assigned to form the headquarters was held in Geneva in August with the next being planned for Songdo on Oct. 18.
“The Korean government has been heralding the need for green growth and this is part of the campaign. We believe we have the right combination to accommodate the new headquarters and its purpose,” Song said.
According to estimates by the organizing personnel, the initial manpower will be around 300-500 people with the figure rising to as much as 8,000 permanent staff.
“GCF will eventually become an organization which will be on a level with the International Monetary Fund (currently funded at $845 billion),” Song forecast.