<Statement of the Korea CSOs Network to the 2021 P4G Summit>
The rainy season in Korea in 2020 was particularly long. At that time, the message created by an activist of a local environmental group gained a widespread sympathy. “The name of this rain is not the rainy season, but the climate crisis.” The climate crisis is the result of carbon capitalism, symbolized by the competitive industrialization of the nation-state system and human-centered over-development. The ecosystem, which has been constantly exploited for the sake of capital and humans, has reached its limit, and the long-repeated warnings about global pandemics have become a reality. Since COVID-19, every moment in daily life has become a disaster scene.
The predicted disasters, climate crises and pandemics aggravated socioeconomic inequality. However, even in the COVID-19 situation, the world's military expenditures increased by 2.6%, and the vaccine nationalism rose in the governments of the economically powerful states. The vaccine nationalism has clearly shown us the limits of market-oriented disaster response as well as what happens when the public is lost in the government during a crisis. So far, the public-private partnership (PPP) has contributed more to the polarization of society by promoting political and economic interests of each party than to promoting wider public goals and interest.
Amid ongoing climate crisis, P4G was launched with a stated goal of promoting sustainable growth through vibrant green economy. Long fatigued by the instrumentalization of “green” by governments and corporations, grassroots civil society organizations are, however, worried and concerned that P4G might become another “green washing.” For example, the ROK Government, hosting this year’s P4G Climate Summit, is pressing to build a new coal-fired power plant instead of bringing forward timely measures to achieve the 2050 Carbon Neutral Strategy that it had earlier announced. Such two-faced actions of the ROK Government being a great obstacle in trust-building which is at the core of building a climate governance, numerous NGOs have declared boycott to 2021 P4G Climate Summit. Reflective of the situation, Korea CSOs Network to the 2021 P4G Summit conveys the following concerns to P4G.
The first concern is about P4G’s commitment for public interest. P4G emphasizes market-driven solutions that can create a sustainable economy. However, the world today unambiguously demonstrates that market-driven growth has failed to expand the realism of public good. It is too idealistic for P4G to assume an approach of a business model, despite its purported social purposes, as an alternative to the current disaster. It is an assumed approach without careful reflection and evaluation on the failed sustainability so far. In order to achieve P4G's ambitious goal of promoting the public interest through market-driven solutions, all partners should have done a careful review and design of how the commercial benefit generated in the market-driven process will contribute specifically to the promotion of public interest. Common sense suggests that before selecting a case solution and investment, partnership consensus must be reached on the nature of the fund and a specific concept of the public interest on which the fundraising and distribution will be based. This neglection leads to the second concern.
The second concern is about fairness. Not establishing in partnership what specific public interest is to pursue and under what criteria partners can assess the outcomes, amounts to having no consensus on how to use and control of public fund in a fair manner. The deliberation in P4G so far has shown little credit in the topic. The third concern arises from this lack or invisibility of objective and just criteria for selecting, assessing, and making decisions on public investment cases.
The third concern is about openness. P4G has already selected 50 cases of P4G partnerships and is making funding investments without sufficiently sharing the discussion and process at the public level. The available information is about the five sectors there the 50 partnerships operate - food and agriculture, water, energy, urban, and circular economy - and that they include both for-profit and non-profit actors. Other vital information such as the criteria of evaluating the partnerships is not shared, except the one that at least one developing country should benefit. A fourth concern arises from the fact that the transparency of P4G's decision-making process is not guaranteed.
The fourth concern is about citizenship. P4G as a global network is structured so that the decision-making process for business models is centered on actors at the national and global levels. Therefore, the space in which local people’s right to self-determination can be exercised during a P4G partnership operation is very limited. This discrepancy will increase the possibility that local constituents will be sidelined during the project process. In this respect, as the P4G partnerships are designed for market-drive, they are likely to lower civic initiatives and reduce spaces of civic participation.
P4G calls for accelerated transition to a green economy through carbon-free energy, to escape the current climate crisis. But a wide spectrum of grassroots civil society organizations around the world responding to the climate crisis think that the climate crisis cannot be averted merely by changing the means of transition. P4G believes it can overcome the crisis it faces without slowing the pace of economic growth, but grassroots civil society groups say they should question the growth itself. Because the Earth is limited, and unlimited growth is not possible. In the year of 2020, the global military spending increased by 2.6% while the global GDP decreased by 4.4%. A 10% reduction of the global military spending will afford the cost of countering the climate crisis for the next 10 years.The tragedy of the commons is not inevitable. Tragedy takes place in unmanaged public lands. Thus, that market growth will address public needs and interest is as risky as leaving common land unmanaged. The key lies on how to build a system for sustainable management of the commons.
Therefore, the P4G Korean Civic Committee clearly marks that the success of P4G is not in a small number of success cases, and strongly calls for P4G to be a public deliberation where positions of different stakeholders collide and intersect to create common alternatives. What we need now is not 'market-driven solutions', but rather 'public solutions' synthesized from disparate but complementary entities and experiences that encompass private and commons, corporations and governments, consumers and citizens, and humans and non-humans. To this end, the P4G Korean Civic Committee demands the following:
First, at every biennial P4G Summit, formally host a parallel civil society forum to converge deliberation from grassroots civic groups.
Second, promote all member governments of P4G to keep policy consistency in green transition and sustainable development.
Third, in selecting and assessing a P4G partnership project, guarantee participation of all the stakeholders relevant to the project.
Third, disclose the criteria of selecting and assessing P4G partnership projects.
May 14, 202
Korea CSOs Network to the 2021 P4G Summit
Member Organizations(alphabet order)
Energy Peace, Green Environment Youth of Korea(GEYK), Green Future, Green Party-Daejeon, Hankyoreh Economy & Society Research Institute(HERI), Institute for Climate ChangeAction, Korea Center for City and Environment Research(KOCER), Korea Center for Sustainable Development(KCSD), Korea DifferentlyAbled Federation(KoDAF), Korea Disabled Forum(KDF), Korea Environmental Education Network(KEEN), Korea Fair Trade Organization, Korea Green Foundation, Korea LOHASAssociation, Korea NGO's Energy Network, Korea Social Economy Network(KSEN), Local Sustainability Alliance of Korea(LSAK), Organic Farmers Korea, Sejong Council for Sustainable Development, Si.Si.Han Institute, SDSN-Korea, PeaceMOMO, Teen World