On September 23, Mayor Park Won Soon, who is currently visiting the United States, met with Andrew Steer, the president and CEO of the World Resources Institute, a top think tank on the environment (2012, UPenn’s Global Go To Think Tanks Index Report). They discussed establishing cooperation in the areas of environment, energy, and urban renewal and signed an MOU to enhance such cooperation.
The World Resources Institute (WRI) is a think tank that has about 450 researchers, as well as the active cooperation of 50 countries, including China, India, and Brazil. The institute aims to realize an eco-friendly society that promotes sustainability and economic growth while protecting the Earth’s environmental resources.
Through the MOU, WRI will aid Seoul in spreading the city’s policies and projects in various areas, including energy, residential issues, and transportation, through its global city program and future global reports (i.e., World Resources Report). Seoul agreed to do the same through the activities of the Seoul Institute and other prominent Korean research institutes.
Moreover, WRI and the Seoul Metropolitan Government promised to actively carry out joint research projects geared toward creating a foundation for sustainable and eco-friendly policies, including the second phase of Seoul’s project to reduce the number of nuclear power plants, research related to alternative energy sources, and eco-friendly transportation policies.
Mayor Park also met with Ann Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, and signed a cooperative climate MOU. At the meeting, Mayor Park emphasized that the role of cities are as important, if not more so, than the role of countries in terms of climate policy.
Both cities will pursue cooperative activities, such as the sharing of model policies on responses to climate change, sustainable development, science and technology, and culture, establishing real ties by joining and participating in international institutions and meetings that will be held in each city, and providing training in administrative affairs through the mutual exchange of staff and experts, as well as sharing policy information and knowledge.
In particular, both cities will strengthen cooperation in response to climate change. Seoul, which will host the ICLEI World Congress in April 2015, will cooperate with Paris so that the commitments of cities around the world to respond to climate change and calls to strengthen cities’ voluntary responses to climate change can be transferred to COP21, which will be held in Paris at the end of 2015.
“Along with Paris, an advanced city not only in terms of culture but also in its response to climate change, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will expand practical exchange to establish a cooperative system through which both our cities can grow,” remarked Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon. “Based on this, we will work with other global cities at the ICLEI World Congress 2014, and other events, to establish practical and specific plans to respond to climate change.”