South Korea inks agreement to promote climate technology cooperation

On 17 May 2018, South Korea’s Green Technology Center (GTC - K) and Kazakhstan’s International Center for Green Technology and Investment (IGTIC) inked a business agreement that called for stronger bilateral cooperation on climate technology projects and policies.

According to a press release from South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT, the agreement is part of South Korea’s efforts to address the global nature of climate change and need for stronger bilateral and multilateral cooperation on the issue.

Both the GTC-K and IGTIC are public institutions focusing on driving the green economy. Founded in 2013, the GTC-K focuses on both research and development in  as well as fostering stronger international cooperation on climate technology; Established upon the basis of the 2017 Astana Expo, the IGTIC seeks to drive international partnerships in green economy development .

In addition to the bilateral business agreement, GTC-K is expected to participate in a large-scale consulting project that involves setting future development plans for IGTIC. The consulting project will lay the foundation for the Eurasia Climate Cooperation Framework that includes countries such as Denmark, as well as address the localisation of flare gas reprocessing in oil fields where South Korean small-and-medium enterprises have a stake in.

“Korea, a developed country in Climate Technology in Northeast Asia and Kazakhstan, a partner in Central Asia, contributes to the international community through climate technology cooperation that responds to global climate change”, said Mr Rapil Zhoshybayev, president of the International Center for Green Technology and investment. He further added that the business agreement will also expand bilateral economic cooperation beyond the current scope with the conclusion of the business agreement.

By establishing a basis for bilateral cooperation on climate technology projects and policies, IGTIC seeks to tap into Kazakhstan’s vast potential in renewable energies such as wind, hydro, biomass and geothermal energy via the transfer of Korean technological and policy expertise.  Expanding the country’s energy portfolio and gradually reducing dependence on coal and natural gas, the bilateral business agreement is key in reaffirming Astana’s commitment to green and sustainable energy, as reiterated by Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The push towards a more diversified energy portfolio is a crucial step towards President Nazarbayev’s target of entering Kazakhstan among the world’s top 30 most developed economies by 2050.

The recent business agreement between South Korea’s GTC-K and  Kazakhstan’s IFTIC reinforces long-standing bilateral cooperation between the two countries. In 2012, Both countries undertook a $4 billion USD joint power plant project in Kazakhstan and expanded bilateral copperation in energy, plant technology and atomic power. Under the Lee Myung Bak and Nazarbayev administrations, South Korea and Kazakhstan had sought to further bilateral cooperation in science, technology, healthcare and maritime shipping; the recently concluded agreement effectively expands the scope of bilateral cooperation to encompass climate technology projects and policy.

Prior to this business agreement, South Korea and Kazakhstan have also discussed potential opportunities in bilateral infrastructure and logistics development, digitisation and security cooperation at a joint press briefing in April 2018. 

“South Korea is a long-term strategic partner of Kazakhstan, with thousands of investors already operating successful projects in the country”, said IGTIC Chairman Rapil Zhoshybayev. 

“In renewable energy and circular economy, Korea can help Kazakhstan by sharing its knowledge, expertise and investment capabilities.” 

As of 2017, there are approximately more than 200 Korean companies operating within Kazakhstan, with South Korea’s trade turnover with Kazakhstan increasing 150 times since the two countries formalised diplomatic relations in 1992.

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