CITYNET Secretariat Opens in Seoul
※ CITYNET: Regional Network of Local Authorities for the Management of Human Settlements
The CITYNET Secretariat held a ceremony on March 26 on the occasion of the opening of its office in Seoul; thus opening an era of CITYNET Seoul and ending the 20-year era of the CITYNET Secretariat in Yokohama.
The relocation of the CITYNET Secretariat in Seoul was approved unanimously by the member cities present at the CITYNET Congress held in Yokohama in September 2009. Seoul Metropolitan Government was also designated as the host city for the 7th CITYNET Congress scheduled for November 2013 at said event.
CITYNET was established in 1987 as the regional network for policy-related exchanges and collaboration between local authorities in the Asia-Pacific region, with Yokohama serving as chair city. Seoul, Colombo, Lyon, Surabaya, and Bangkok play the role of executive cities, and Busan, Incheon, Suwon, Changwon, and Yongin are member cities. CITYNET has 130 members (83 local governments serving as full members, with 47 institutions and organizations including NGOs as associate members).
The Seoul Metropolitan Government expects the opening of CITYNET Secretariat in the city to provide an opportunity to strengthen the collaborative network with other international organizations and play a central role in various sectors such as urban development, economic development, environment conservation, and coping with climate change.
The CITYNET Secretariat in Seoul Metropolitan Government will take over the role that has been performed by Yokohama, control the 130-member strong network, and carry out business that requires collaboration with the relevant international organizations including the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).
The CITYNET Secretariat in Seoul Metropolitan Government will also handle matters such as the problem of health and poverty in connection with the need to establish a people-oriented urban environment and provide support for the establishment of sustainable infrastructure facilities and will make efforts to share useful policy programs with the relevant international organizations in Seoul, including the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (CLEI) East Asia Regional Headquarters (opened in Seoul in October 2012).
In addition, many foreigners are forecast to come to Seoul Metropolitan Government in connection with many CITYNET activities (congress, executive committee, subcommittee, and seminars); such will bring about positive synergistic effects for the convention and tourism programs operated in Seoul Metropolitan Government.
Additional economic and social benefits are also expected, such as the creation of jobs at the CITYNET secretariat and opportunities to train local professionals who will work for international organizations.