Climate Governance Integrity Campaign
On the 25th of February 2017 (Saturday), TI-Korea staff members and youth volunteers occupied a corner in Gwanghwamun Station to stage a campaign on climate change finance issues. We are in the hotspot of the ongoing vibrant civil activities that fight for the impeachment of South Korea’s leader, Park Geun-Hye.
It was around 2:30 PM when we found our space, where we settled down and set up our campaign placards mounted on stands. Next to us was a squad of police standing by and ready to stop any troublemaker in the vicinity.
Our campaign placards outline the basic introduction of the Green Climate Fund, Transparency International’s advocacy on climate governance issues, question and answer, samples of the effects of climate change in South Korea, and a diagram describing a policy-making process for an effective climate change policy.
The campaign aims to promote awareness among citizens on the issues of climate governance integrity and to raise questions about the inclusiveness, transparency, and integrity of the nation’s environmental policies. The questions are meant to get some impressions about the public’s general understanding and knowledge of South Korea’s climate governance integrity.
In our campaign placards, we asked four questions as follow: Q1. Do you think our environmental policy included adaptation and mitigation provisions? Q2. Do you think ordinary citizens should get involved in environmental policy-making? Q3. Do you think that the environmental policies are established with integrity and for public gain? Q4. Are the energy resources policies being implemented transparently and with integrity? With those fundamental and straightforward questions, passersby and active participants expressed their thoughts by sticking stars (colored stickers) to indicate their answers on the campaign boards, while some did not stick stars but expressed strong and blunt comments.
People’s Responses and reactions
Individuals who took a look at our displays express varied reactions that reflect on their knowledge and personal background, political views, and understanding about environmental and climate issues.
One older guy reacted strongly saying that some environmental problems and other forms of corruption related to it were due to a particular political figure who caused all the present mess. Another older person commented that environmental campaigns are left-leaning activities.
Moreover, another passerby advised us that we should study climate change accurately and scientifically because in truth landmass rises when icebergs melt. His comments are responses to our display which describes that the sea level around Korea, in particular, Cheju Island, is three times higher than the global average.
The 2016 Report by World Wide Fund For Nature also states that the ocean temperatures are rapidly increasing and much faster than the global average. Not only did thousands of poultry and pigs died in South Korea, but also Koreans due to fast increasing temperature. Moreover, shockingly, if all people in the world, on average, live the Korean lifestyle, we need three planets to support us and survive (Korea Ecological Footprint Report 2016, WWF).
Our mini-public survey has yielded some answers to the questions posed. For example, some participants people indicated that the national environmental policy does not include climate change adaptation and mitigation (30 people) compared to two individuals who indicated it does. Regarding citizens’ participation, active passersby indicated that they prefer to get involved in the environmental policy-making process, and nobody indicated that he or she is not interested in participating.
While many participants indicated (30 individuals) that the environmental policies are being fully implemented with transparency and integrity, a few (8 participants) indicated “No.” (Q3). For the last question, participants indicated that the policy on energy resources, including the nuclear energy, are being implemented with less transparency and integrity (40 indicated “No,” 11 “Somewhat,” and O for “Yes”).
Recommendations for improvements
The quick Q&As need some improvement and refinement. Further studies on the nation’s environmental policy integrity and climate finance policy and its related transparency issues should be undertaken. Another relevant point is that the answers should not be limited to the “Yes,” “Somewhat,” and “No” but there should be an “I don’t know” choice.
We need some improvements and innovation in our methods and campaign props. A slogan of the campaign can be useful and help both the audience and us better.
A thorough study of South Korea’s environmental and climate finance policies and the extent of their implementation could be good ideas. This scheme can form a foundation for future advocacies and campaigns for an effective climate finance governance integrity.
Last, some questions that focus on South Korea’s climate finance for both local and international activities and programmes could be another area that we can campaign for.