Mayor Park Won Soon has been elected as the new president of ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, the world’s largest, leading network of over 1,200 cities and local governments from 87 countries committed to mitigating climate change and preserving the environment. On April 8, 2015, Mayor Park was voted as the next president at the ICLEI Global Executive Committee Meeting, held prior to the opening ceremony of the ICLEI World Congress.
The ICLEI World Secretariat noted Mayor Park Won Soon’s special interest in, and philosophy of, environmental and ecological awareness and concern, as well as his career focus on enhancing the sustainability of local governments, as the major reasons for his election. In particular, the ICLEI World Secretariat expressed its strong appreciation for Mayor Park’s diverse efforts and understanding of environmental friendliness since his election as president of the World Mayors Council on Climate Change (WMCCC) in 2012.
For three years (2015-2018), Mayor Park will chair ICLEI board meetings and World Executive Committee meetings as the president of the ICLEI, and participate in high-level international events and major intergovernmental meetings, such as the UN General Assembly and UNFCCC COP. In addition, his duties will include discovering sustainable development plans and models for cities and local governments and coordinating collaboration among them. As the president of the ICLEI, Mayor Park will be in charge of presenting and sharing the achievements of the ICLEI World Congress at the UNFCCC COP in Paris in December, where the New Climate Regime (Post-2020) is expected to be launched.
In his inaugural speech, Mayor Park proposed his three core visions and roles: 1) strengthening sharing, collaboration, and connection among cities and local governments around the world, 2) presenting urban greenhouse gas reduction goals and specific implementation methods to the international community, and 3) sharing Seoul’s brand image and expertise in sustainable development. Moreover, in his speech, Mayor Park remarked, “Cities and local governments need to actively participate in the efforts to address climate change in order to respond to the rapidly changing environment and reverse the harmful effects of excessive industrial development.” He then added, “For the next three years, I will do my best to elicit participation from cities and local governments around the world to achieve our greenhouse gas reduction goals in the international climate regime (Post-2020).
The ICLEI was founded at the World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future, held at the United Nations in 1990. Since then, as an official UN observer organization, the ICLEI has represented the interests of cities and local governments in the international community. Since becoming a member of the ICLEI in 1999, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has been actively participating in the ICLEI’s activities, with the Vice Mayor of Seoul Metropolitan Government serving as a member of the ICLEI East Asia Regional Executive Committee. Made up of over 1,200 cities and local governments from 87 countries, the ICLEI is the world’s largest international network dedicated to protecting the environment and addressing climate change. Currently participating in the ICLEI are 51 cities and local governments, including 11 metropolitan municipalities, such as Seoul, Busan, Incheon, Gyeonggi, as well as 40 lower-level local governments.