The 1st Seoul Together Forum; Congratulatory Remarks
Date November 20, 2014 | Venue Seoul City Hall
It is a great pleasure to be here today. I am the mayor of Seoul, Park Won Soon. I would like to extend my sincere congratulations on the launch of the Seoul Together Forum. First of all, I must express my heartfelt thanks to Chairman Kim Gyeong-hee and Kim Soohyun, the president of the Seoul Institute, for making this happen. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the committee for attending this forum. It is a great honor to listen to your insights on the future of Seoul through the Seoul Together Forum, with its meaningful beginning. I truly hope you keep helping move Seoul towards the future.
Today we are going to have an open-minded discussion on different challenges and risks of our future and the future of Seoul. The Seoul Metropolitan Government is confident that the fifth elected administration has been serving faithfully as a primer to change our society through a wide range of projects such as the changing of temporary positions to permanent positions, the halving of the tuition of the city universities, and the sharing of economic community projects. Based on the achievements of the fifth administration, the sixth administration has determined that safety, welfare, creative economy, and urban regeneration will be its core tasks. We are hoping to be the catalyst for the innovation of Seoul by cooperating with citizens, experts, and public officials all together.
As our safety culture slogan says, to prevent disasters, reduce risks, and maintain safety, the city will strive to prevent risks instead of merely taking measures afterwards. We will continue to contemplate and prepare for the future. As we all witnessed during the tragedy of Sewol Ferry, improper responses to risk result in tremendous social and economic loss. In addition, risks with potentially enormous impacts, including natural disasters such as severe earthquakes as well as new diseases such as Ebola are occurring more and more frequently, making it crucial to be able to predict and prepare for the future.
We are therefore planning to adopt a future impact assessment system to prepare for the future using the perspective of futurology to organize the Future Seoul Committee, consisting of experts within the Seoul Institute. If these systems work properly, trial and error will be reduced and the beneficial effects of the projects will be enhanced.
Recently, safety has become an important conversation topic in our society. Citizens are highly interested in the issue of safety and the protection of their lives and properties, as well as the protection of their quality of life.
According to the 2013 Seoul Survey, 57% of Seoul citizens had the impression that dangers in our society such as violent crime, economic crises, accidents, and diseases had increased compared to 10 years ago, and 48.3% expected society to be more dangerous in 10 years. Even though those higher in age, lower in education level, occupational rank, and income experience more risks, countermeasures against these risks are not solid enough. Considering the fact that more risks are excessively concentrated onto the vulnerable, as the mayor of Seoul I cannot help being deeply concerned about this uneven social distribution of risk.
If social systems of equal opportunities and outcomes are established and citizens’ participation in them increases, the social and economic safety net will be even tighter. Another job of the Seoul mayor is to establish a social system in which citizens can express their discomforts and demands and receive prompt responses.
All of you gathered here have a keen interest in the administration of Seoul and have valuable advice to give on various policies. I sincerely ask you to take the opportunity of the Seoul Together Forum to discuss strategies and measures to overcome the diverse risks facing Seoul in line with your own contemplations on the administration of Seoul. The SMG looks forward to the many chances we will have to listen to your advice and discuss with you the future of Seoul. Thank you very much.