Banquet in Green Asia Forum 2015
Date: May 12, 2015 Venue: The Press Conference Room at Korea Press Center
Distinguished guests! I am Park Won-soon, the Mayor of Seoul. I would like to express my warm welcome to those global environmental leaders who traveled from 12 countries to participate in this forum to think about comprehensive solutions to deal with the issues of climate change and energy transition in Asia. It is a pity that another appointment has only allowed me to join this forum for this banquet session, instead of from the morning as I had wished.
The issue of the environment requires closer cooperation among leaders than that of other social and economic problems. That is why 87 member countries, 1,200 cities, 2,000 mayors and city representatives, international organization-related officials, and prominent scholars participated in the ICLEI World Congress 2015, the world’s largest environmental association of local and regional governments, held last April in Seoul. The Congress collectively emphasized the role of governance in dealing with these issues.
In an effort by global cities to show solidarity and to facilitate a variety of political leaders to come up with measures together for resolving global environmental issues, Seoul has adopted the Seoul Declaration, which will serve as a guideline for dealing with climate change among cities. The Seoul Declaration emphasizes the role of local governments as leaders in responding to the issues of climate change, prioritizing strategies to implement for building sustainable cities. It will be a testimony to the endeavor of citizens, civic groups, and NGOs.
At the same time, 35 cities, including Montreal and Paris, newly announced their participation and took the lead in the spreading of the Compact of Mayors at the Mayor’s Forum, which was held during the ICLEI World Congress 2015, followed by the successful announcement of the Seoul Action Plan, which encapsulates the detailed goals of reducing greenhouse gases and how to fulfill those goals. With the great support of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, the Compact of Mayors, which was launched at ICLEI, C40 and UCLG, shows the determination of city governments to join the efforts of reducing greenhouse gases.
Turning these efforts into visible results will require cooperation among local and regional governments, civic groups, and citizens. Through the commitment of Seoul long led by the partnership of civic groups and academia, thousands of Seoul citizens have expressed their determination to fulfill the goal of responding to climate change in 11 fields, including the goal of reducing greenhouse gases to 25% from the 2005 level by 2020, and 40% by 2030.
The launch of the ‘One Less Nuclear Power Plant’ project by the Seoul Metropolitan Government has changed the lives of citizens and expanded the production of renewable energy, successfully reducing 5.63 million tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the capacity of one nuclear unit. Currently, the Seoul Metropolitan Government is working together with a thousand citizens for the phase 2, Seoul Sustainable Energy Action Plan, with the goal of accomplishing 8% power self-sufficiency.
As the president of ICLEI on behalf of local governments, civic groups and citizens, I will convey the meaningful success of their voluntary efforts at COP21 in Paris, which will encourage the Conference of the Parties to actively respond to the issue of climate change, including reducing greenhouse gases.
For the sake of our one and only Earth, we have to work together, to rack our brains together. As the Earth has been passed down by our ancestors, we also have to pass it down to our descendants. I hope that our friendship founded by today’s meeting will strengthen the social responsibility for resolving our collective issues of environment toward a green Asia, and also serve as a stepping-stone for building stronger solidarity with the help of mutual trust and cooperation. If we dream together, that dream can come true. Thank you.