By Salman Siddiqui/Staff Reporter

South Korea and Qatar can both learn from each other to deal with environmental challenges arising out of their countries’ rapid economic growth, officials said yesterday.
Addressing the 2013 Korea-Qatar Environmental Co-operation Forum yesterday, Ambassador Yun Kang-hyeon said most countries already recognise the need to immediately address the challenges in the environment sector.
The forum discussed the latest policies and strategies as well as new solutions to face environmental challenges.
“Qatar’s rapid economic growth and expanding population are expected to bring (environmental) issues to the forefront and the challenges facing waste management and water supply will probably increase in the years,” the envoy said in his opening speech.
“Similar to Qatar, the Korean government and the private sector have also affirmed their commitment to create a green economic future, where long-term prosperity and sustainability are key objectives,” he said.
Ahmed Mohamed al-Sada, Assistant Undersecretary for Environmental Affairs at Ministry of Environment, who spoke on behalf of Minister of Environment HE Ahmed Amer Mohamed al-Humaidi, said that South Korea and Qatar enjoyed ‘exceptional’ bilateral relations.
He recalled the landmark official visit of President Lee Myung-bak to Qatar last year that opened new doors on both sides.
“That visit established a foothold for enhanced co-operation in power production and transportation fields, especially natural gas, and resulted in agreeing to further expand the scope of co-operation into construction, medical and healthcare, education, green growth and climate change fields,” he said.
“Today’s forum, in our opinion, provides an excellent chance for the Korean delegation to learn more about Qatar’s numerous investment opportunities as well as share experiences pertaining to Korea’s impressive economic performance,” he added.
The high ranking official hoped that such interactions would constitute an important milestone towards the establishment of a robust and viable economic partnership for the mutual benefit of both countries.
Al-Sada also emphasised on the importance of the systematic partnership between the government and private sectors in both countries as a means to achieve sustainable development.
Yun Kang-hyeon, Director General, Global Economic Affairs Bureau of South Korea, said the delegation he brought to Qatar had expertise in the environmental sector.
He said Korea too achieved remarkable economic progress in the last 40 years, but acknowledged that it came at the cost of some environmental problems. He said every country had to work together to save the environment.
“For the long-term (growth) we have to shift our minds. We have to combine our economic goals and social, human development and environmental strategies to see long-term growth and sustainability,” he added.
Other speakers at the forum included Safar Mubarak al-Shafi, Director General, Cleaning Project, Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning; Nouf Abdulla al-Sulaiti, Head of Planning & Development Unit, Ministry of Environment; Yang Seungok, Ministry of Environment, South Korea; Dr Mohamed al-Mohannadi; Environmental Specialist, Kahramaa; Ahn Won-Young, Doosan Heavy Industry Corporation., Lee Kwang-Pyo, Beautiful Environmental Construction Co, Ltd; Choi Yong-Seok, GS E&C and Song Youngho of Ecophile Co, Ltd.

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