Mayor Park Won-soon is making an official visit to Colombo, Sri Lanka, Delhi, India, and Bonn, Germany from November 5 to 14, 2017. Of particular note, he will be the first Seoul Mayor to visit Southwest Asia.
Mayor Park plans to visit India, an emerging economic giant, and Sri Lanka who has great potential for economic growth in order to establish a bridgehead for cooperation with Southwest Asia with which Korea has yet formed urban diplomatic relations.
As President Moon Jae-in’s ASEAN envoy, Mayor Park visited three Southeast Asian countries (Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam) earlier this year in May, and now this particular visit to Southwest Asia is expected to serve as a stepping stone to more diverse urban diplomacy for the City of Seoul.
At the first city, Colombo, Sri Lanka, where 2017 CityNet Colombo Congress is being held, Mayor Park will emphasize the importance of strengthening the cooperative relationship among cities in the Asia-Pacific region for sustainable development.
As the President of CityNet, Mayor Park will deliver the keynote speech during the opening ceremony, give a presentation during the general session (panel discussion), and participate in the mayors’ forum to highlight the necessity of joint cooperation for sustainable development and prosperity of the cities. Furthermore, he will announce the ‘CityNet Colombo Declaration’ sharing with the world experiences and know-how and stressing the significance of cooperation. Mayor Park will also run for another 4-year presidency until 2021.
Mayor Park’s visit to India will be focused on economic exchanges. He will attend the opening ceremony of the ‘Seoul-India Economic Exchange Center’ which will serve as a platform that connects start-ups in Korea and the Indian market. The first ever Seoul investment promotion seminar will also be held in India to attract many investors on site.
In Bonn, Germany, Mayor Park will attend the ‘Climate Summit for Local Leaders’ which is an official event for the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Convention. As the president of ICLEI, the largest international council of local and subnational government bodies committed to environmental initiatives consisting of 1,174 member cities, Mayor Park will promote various activities for sustainability worldwide.
He will present exemplary cases of Seoul’s climate change responses during the ‘Climate Summit for Local Leaders’ and chair an ICLEI executive committee. Mayor Park will also attend the 3rd general assembly of the Global Lead City Network (GLNC).
Mayor Park stated that, “Seoul will expand the inter-city cooperative exchanges with major cities in Southwest Asia including India and Sri Lanka that have great potential for economic growth, and promote practical urban diplomacy that aims to solve problems faced by all cities around the world.” He added, “As a city committed to uphold the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, Seoul has completed the ‘One Less Nuclear Power Plant’ initiative and is creating leading models for other cities to share our commitment to climate change response, putting our utmost effort to strengthen the global cooperative network.”