Norway: aid to South Korean climate group stopped

Norway Beatles exhibition ‘fake’The Norwegian government has taken the decision to stop sending aid money to a South Korean environmental group after stories emerged about its chairman’s lavish spending habits.

The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), which offers advice to third world countries on low carbon growth strategies, was heavily criticised last week after reports emerged in Denmark about its Danish chairman, Lokke Rasmussen, spending over $180,000 on things such as first class air fares and food over the course of 15 trips.

Rasmussen, who fronts Denmark’ liberal party Venstre, was prime minister of the Scandinavian nation from 2009 to 2011.

It is not the first time GGGI’s finances have come under fire, after a 2012 audit in South Korea led to heavy criticism. However, GGGI spokesman Mike Sullivan insisted the group has made considerable progress in addressing the concerns raised following the audit, which was carried out prior to the organisation going global and while it was under different leadership.

He revealed that the group filed a progress report earlier in 2013 outlining the action it has taken to address the issues raised and will be ready to submit another in the next few weeks.

Spokesman for Norway’s ministry of environment Gard Nybro-Nielsen said his country’s government will not donate $10m worth of funds until the results of a separate audit of the group’s finances have been made known. Denmark, which has donated around $16m to the organisation, will also hold off making any further donations before a review has taken place.