Empowering Tomorrow's Leaders: Commemorating the Conclusion of KGGTF's 2024 Youth Internship Program


waving cove


By: Hanna Choi, KGGTF 2024 Youth Intern

KGGTF’s Youth Internship Program, comprising 15 exceptional interns, concluded as they embarked on the next chapter of their professional journeys. The closing ceremony, jointly hosted by the World Bank Group KGGTF and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, took place on May 21 at the Seoul Global Center to commemorate the completion of the 6-month internship. 124 participants, including speakers and panels of 12 international organizations, and professors, deans, career development centers from seven universities, and students from various universities participated.

Collage RF








To extend congratulations, Hyoung Gun Wang, the Program Manager of WBG KGGTF, delivered his opening remarks. This was followed by congratulatory remarks from Kwangsun Ahn, Deputy Director at the Development Finance Division, Ministry of Economy and Finance, and words of encouragement from Jiyeon Janice Ryu, the WBG Resident Representative of IFC Korea, and Jie-Ae Sohn, the Senior Communications and Media Consultant at WBG KGGTF and a professor at Ewha University. The forum was also graced by the presence of the head of Korea MIGA Jaeyoung Jin.

Jie Ae


Special lectures were delivered by Sungwoo Kim, the Head of Environment and Energy Research at Kim & Chang, and Yeochang Yoon, a Researcher at the Korea Development Institute Global Knowledge Exchange and Development Center (KDI GKEDC).



Kim shed light on the “Climate Technology Trend,” addressing the pressing need for continued efforts to reduce CO2 levels amidst environmental challenges. With the record-breaking CO2 level (424ppm by May 2023), the tipping point of 1.5 Celsius degrees was crossed in February 2024. Nonetheless, efforts to reduce the level of CO2 must persist with energy transition, according to Kim. The five key technologies projected to drive major energy transition are solar, wind, electric vehicles, heat pumps, and green hydrogen. Furthermore, the technology readiness level relative to technology maturity for technologies such as sodium-ion battery, solid oxide H2 electrolysers, direct separation CCS in cement, 100% electrolytic H2-DRI, and small modular reactors has improved in the NZE scenario due to accelerating clean energy innovation. Decarbonization of industries has been growing with 56% of the companies having more focused energy transition strategies in 2023. Additionally, Kim highlighted the drivers for climate tech investment: (1) technology deployment & price drop, (2) enduring costs to become first-mover, and (3) competition based on industrial policies. Kim wrapped his lecture by underscoring the importance of addressing challenges posed by dominant Chinese climate tech and the potential impacts of AI on climate change.



Yoon discussed “Korea’s Transition to Low Carbon and Green Growth for a Sustainable Future,” emphasizing the government of the Republic of Korea’s ambitious targets for carbon neutrality by 2050 with a 40% reduction of GHG emissions compared to the emission level in 2018 by 2030. The incentive structure of climate policy in the ROK is formed with carbon pricing (K-ETS, energy taxes), Climate Response Fund (2.3 trillion won as of 2024), and support measures. ROK has been operating ETS to cost-effectively achieve its national GHG reduction targets and employing various types of energy taxes as implicit carbon pricing mechanisms. Despite revised and improved allocation rules and market operations of K-ETS, the ETS allowance price trend seems to drop. K-ETS covered approximately 9% of building and transportation sectors which accounted for 20.6% of the total national GHG emissions in 2018. Moreover, the structure of the energy tax system in ROK is complex due to the application of multiple types of taxes such as the individual consumption tax (ICT), transportation-energy-environment tax (TEET), education tax, and local automobile tax. Yoon raised concerns about the negative economic effects, regressiveness, and skepticisms surrounding the carbon tax. The lecture analyzed the efficacy of existing climate policies, including carbon pricing mechanisms and energy taxes, and raised pertinent concerns regarding their economic implications and public perception.



Following the enlightening lectures, representatives from invited international organizations such as the Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCo), CityNet, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), ICLEI East Asia, UNDP Seoul Policy Centre, the United Nations Project Office on Governance (UNPOG), and UN Women introduced their respective organizations’ roles in the global arena. The lightning talk also fostered networking opportunities for the attendees.




The interns then presented their sectoral reports on Agriculture/Digital, Environment, Energy, Urban-Transport, and Water. Over the past 6 months, they meticulously researched and constructed comprehensive reports on KGGTF’s grant programs within their assigned sectors. Each team not only analyzed the cases in depth but also provided insights from a youth perspective on how green growth has been implemented in the case studies. These five presentations provided a platform for representatives from the invited international organizations (FAO, AFoCO, UNDP Seoul Policy Centre, CityNet, GGGI, UNPOG, Iclei East Asia Secretariat), K-partners, such as K-eco, and the audience to engage in further discussions on the issues pertinent to each sector.

As the KGGTF Youth Internship Program of 2024 came to a close, it left a legacy of inspiration for young professionals to champion sustainability and contribute to a greener future.