Ministry of Environment (South Korea)

Ministry of Environment (South Korea)
Ministry of Environment,
Republic of Korea
Agency overview
Formed December 24, 1994[1]
Jurisdiction Government of South Korea
Headquarters Gwacheon Government Complex, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Agency executives Lee Maan-ee, Minister
Mun Jeong-Ho, Vice Minister
Official English Site[1]

The Ministry of Environment is the South Korean branch of government charged with environmental protection. The current minister is Lee Man Ee. In addition to enforcing regulations and sponsoring ecological research, the Ministry manages the national parks.



The history of Ministry of Environment (South Korea), the environmental authority of the Republic of Korea, stems from Pollution Section of Ministry of Health and Society established in 1967, which was expanded to Pollution Division, in charge of environmental administration, in 1973. After several reform and expansion of environmental authority, Environment Administration had been launched as an affiliate of Ministry of Health and Society, in 1980. In January, 1990, Environment Administration was promoted to Ministry of Environment under the Office of Prime Minister, in order to efficiently integrate and coordinate environmental issues. In December, 1994, Ministry of Environment was given greater authority to establish and implement its own policies.


The mission of Ministry of Environment is to protect the national territory from threats of environmental pollution and improve the quality of life for the public so that the people can enjoy ambient natural environment, clean water and clear skies. Furthermore, we aim to contribute to the global efforts to protect our one and only Earth. In February, 2008, Korea Meteorological Administration became an affiliate of the Ministry to facilitate countermeasures against climate change.

The tasks of Ministry of Environment

  • Enactment and amendment of environmental laws and regulations
  • Introduction of environmental institutions
  • Building up framework structure for environmental administration
  • Drafting and implementation of mid-long term comprehensive measures for environmental conservation
  • Setting up standards for regulations
  • Providing administrative and financial support for environmental management to local governments
  • Inter-Korean environmental cooperation
  • Environmental cooperation with other countries.

History of the MOE (Ministry of Environment)

Green Growth


The concept of (History) “Green Growth” was first adopted at the “Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development” jointly hosted by Ministry of Environment and UNESCAP in 2005. It was initiated by Korea, the host country, and included in the outcome of the Conference, “Seoul Initiative Network on Green Growth” Green Growth is developed to introduce sustainable economic growth model for the future based on Korea’s experience in implementing environmental protection with economic growth. Green Growth is a concept developed to complement the existing concept of sustainable development (integration of economic, social development and environmental conservation) since the sustainable development is too abstract and broad. Green Growth pursues to shift the pattern of economic growth into an environment friendly one.

The project to develop the concept of Green Growth was participated by many research institutes including Korea Environment Institute, Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade, Korea Institute of Public Finance, and scholars from economics and environment circle.

Concept Environmentally Sustainable Economic Growth Green Growth is made possible when we interlink 'Environmental Performance' and 'Environmental Sustainability'. Policy measures to pursue green growth are eco-tax reform, and disclosure of company's environmental information.

Concept of Green Growth

    • Overview Green Growth is the concept that embodies the harmony of environment (Green) and economy (Growth). It two Green Growth has two implication in term of the relation ship of economy and environment. Green growth 1(Economy→Environment) means that economic growth does not harm but improve the environment.
Green Growth 2(Environment → Economy) means that environment conservation can be the new growth drivers of economy.
    • Green Growth 1 Economic Growth that does not degrade environment
Existing growth model naturally accompanied the coupling of economic growth and environmental degradation.
  1. As the economy grows, use of natural resources increases and emission of pollutants.
Green Growth pursues the decoupling of economic growth with environmental degradation based on eco-efficiency that maximizes efficiency of natural resource uses while minimizing environmental pollution.
Decoupling of economic growth with environmental degradation is the policy goal which has been emphasized by OECD since 1990s to harmonize environment and economy.
  • One should not simply accept Environmental Kuznets’s curve when considering the relationship between economic growth and environmental pollution.
  1. Environmental pollution does not automatically decreased as economy grows, but it can be made possible with the government’s political will and efforts to meet the demand of its citizens.
  2. Without the government’s political efforts, GHG emission increases as the economy grows. In addition, it is impossible to explain rapid increase of environmental diseases, such as atopic dermatitis, with Kuznets’s curve.
    • Green Growth 2 Economic growth that utilizes environment as a new growth engine
Green Growth utilizes green technologies and green industries, enhancing environment friendliness of economic activities, as the new motive for economic growth.
  1. Green technologies will be adopted as the new growth engine since they enhance eco-efficiency in manufacturing of products, and reduce energy consumption and minimize pollutants and wastes in consumption of products.
    • Green Growth1 is the precondition for Green Growth 2
  1. Green technology and industries can work as the new growth engine only when low carbon green growth is diffused to entire society.
  2. Moreover, the economic growth cycle can be transformed into a virtuous circle of 『(Green Growth 1) → (Green Growth 2) → (Green Growth 1‘) → (Green Growth 2’) → ……』.

Major policies

Regulatory Reform

Ministry of Environment has made significant success in improving water and air qualities and conserving ecosystems by introducing various environmental regulations. However, in order to overcome recent economic downturn and strengthen national competitiveness, it is necessary to conduct regulatory reforms without undermining environmental quality to create better business environment, reduce public inconvenience and raise the effectiveness of regulations.

To this end, Ministry of Environment will consider the life cycle and characteristics of companies in carrying out regulatory reforms, and ensure that such reforms contribute to improvements in the daily lives of the general public. Meanwhile, it will make efforts to improve the effectiveness of regulations through further clarification of environmental regulations and better enforcement.

Moreover, a more prudent approach is needed for environmental regulations as environmental issues often involve the conflicts of interests and lack of scientific evidence. Therefore, the ministry plans to prevent social conflicts and environmental degradation by promoting communication among various stakeholders and securing environmental expertise.

Ministers of the Environment

See also


  1. ^ ROK Ministry of Environment website: History of Ministry of Environment.

External links

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