The Seoul International Forum in Air Quality Improvement 2019 was held this year at Seoul City Hall. The Forum sought measures for cooperation and sharing policies and expertise in order to find a solution to the particulate matter problem in Asia between major Asian cities, Korean and foreign air quality experts, and officials from the international environment field.
The 2019 Forum was the ninth to be held, with participation by 35 cities (21 cities from 5 foreign countries) from a total of 6 countries, including China, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, and Singapore, the largest in scale in the Forum’s history. With emphasized cooperation by Korea and China for the reduction of particulate matter, a grand total of 16 cities from China took part in the Forum.
At a point in time with an emphasis on a Korea-China channel regarding the recent levels of particulate matter and on multilateral cooperation between the two countries, Seoul plans to expand its range of cooperation with other participating cities, not only with Beijing, the existing cooperative channel and the Chinese city with the largest scale of participation.
On May 22, 2019, the first day of the Forum, Isabelle Louis, Regional Director and Representative for the UN Environment Asia and the Pacific Office, opened the event with a keynote address.
At the first session on “Vehicle Emissions Reduction Policies,” Seoul presented and shared its “Network Measures for Living Rights” that was recently announced regarding restricted vehicle operation in green transportation areas (to be implemented on July 1, 2019), the vehicle low-pollution project, and the electric bus supply.
The last session on “Urban Forest for Clean Air” was planned for the first time at the 2019 Forum upon reflection of a proposal for the “necessity of an ‘urban forest session’ at the Air Quality Improvement Forum, as city forests play a huge role in the reduction of particulate matter,” offered by a citizen during the Q&A session at last year’s forum.
On May 23, the second day, there was a center for discussion between international air quality organizations, members of citizen groups, and officials from major Korean, Chinese, and Japanese cities. The discussion addressed in-depth cooperation between cities and citizen-participatory plans.
This forum was an “eco-friendly” forum that minimized use of plastics and disposable goods. In place of paper program books and leaflets, online speaker information, programs, and presentation materials were available through QR codes posted throughout the venue. Participants were provided with nametags made from reusable bands and recycled paper, and beverages were offered in multi-purpose cups.
More information on programs and speakers can be found on the Seoul International Forum on Air Quality Improvement 2019 website (http://www.airforumseoul.com), and inquiries can be made to the Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org, ☎82-2-6952-0653).