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United Nations

South Korea to house new UN Green Climate Fund

The United Nations has chosen South Korea as the home for its Green Climate Fund. South Korea is reportedly viewed by many as a bridge between developing and developed nations.

The new United Nations Green Climate Fund, established to manage billions of dollars to assist developing countries tackle climate change, is to be situated in Songdo, Incheon City, South Korea, the board of the fund announced on Saturday.

The former German capital city of Bonn, home to the UN's Climate Change Secretariat, had hoped it would be chosen to house the fund, but it was not to be.

Mexico, Namibia, Poland and Switzerland were all nominated to house the headquarters, along with Germany and South Korea.

The decision, made by the 24 heads of the UN steering committee, will be put to environment ministers for approval at a meeting in Doha, Qatar at the end of November.

Welcomed decision

In 2009, developed nations agreed to raise climate aid, now about $10 billion (7.67 billion euros) a year, increasing to $100 billion from 2020.

The money would assist developing countries curtail greenhouse gas emissions, and better cope with floods, droughts, heat waves and increasing sea levels.

The current fund has been exhausted, and there has been no decision made on how to raise the $100 billion needed.

International charity Oxfam welcomed the announcement to house the headquarters in South Korea.

"South Korea must work to get all developed countries to make immediate pledges to the Green Climate Fund in Doha," David Waskow, Oxfam climate change program manager, told the Reuters news agency.

Bridging rich and poor

South Korea had been favored as the site to be chosen for the fund, as it was seen as a bridge between rich and poor nations, diplomatic sources said.

Strong economic growth in South Korea meant it joined the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development) in 1996.

However, under definitions formulated at the UN climate convention in 1992, it is still considered a developing nation.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle congratulated South Korea on the appointment, but re-iterated he would continue to work to increase Bonn's already strong UN presence.

jlw/slk (Reuters, AP)