SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, November 24, 2020 – The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) on November 17 designated the Seoul Metropolitan Government as a role model for disaster risk reduction and presented the city with a certificate as part of its Making Cities Resilient (MCR) campaign.
The designation recognizes Seoul’s outstanding capacity to counter climate and disaster risk, as well as its innovative and sustainable accomplishments to mitigate disaster risks and ensure the city’s resilience.
Cities chosen as role models in disaster risk reduction must show exemplary results in at least three out of ten essential attributes for its MCR campaign, launched by the UNDRR in 2010. The campaign encourages cities to shore up disaster resilience and to become more sustainable.
4,360 cities in 228 countries are taking part in this global project, including Seoul and other 175 autonomous entities in Korea. The UNDRR has designated a total of 52 “role model” cities in 28 countries as of November 2020.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government joined the MCR in 2013, assessing its overall disaster risk management, and in 2019 handed in to the UNDRR examples of its accomplishments according to the specified ten attributes, winning the body’s recognition on November 17.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government won high praise in creating a digital-based Smart City using fourth industrial revolution core technology such as the Internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), as well as steps to adhere to the Paris Agreement on climate change such as backing solar-powered and eco-friendly automobiles, as well as voluntary efforts by the public to resolve safety issues.
Establishing a Smart city: The city cited examples of its infrastructure with IoT sensors that collate citywide data on fine dust and noise pollutions as well as policies to install intelligent closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras throughout the city to share data organically.
Adhering to the Paris Agreement on climate change: The city expanded its urban green spaces, planting 12.45 million trees in the last four years, replaced 900,000 ageing boilers and heaters, and provided a roadmap to increase eco-friendly vehicles such as electric and hydrogen cars.
Strengthening the resilience of social infrastructure: Securing 76.7% of earthquake-resistance rate public facilities, expanding facilities for storm and flood including 120 rainwater pumps, and readjusting old infrastructure
Voluntary efforts by the public to resolve safety concerns: Seoul designated public safety “watchdogs” and honorary “safety sheriffs” capable of administering CPR, and guide emergency evacuations, as well as a reward system for safety warnings.
Forming a disaster resilience organization: Private and corporate entities joined hands to help create Seoul’s “Plan for a Safer City.”
The UNDRR featured its designation for Seoul on its website (www.undrr.org) as of November 17 and also plans to introduce examples of Seoul’s policy on disaster resilience in its MCR campaign reports and promotional materials.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government hopes that the UNDRR’s designation, which recognizes the city’s capacity to handle disasters, will enhance its image as a safe city and facilitate an active exchange of policies with other cities designated as role models.
Meanwhile, the UNDRR added the “public health” category in the MCR score card as the infectious diseases like COVID-19 are becoming a serious problem and started its MCR 2030 (2021-2030) campaign. In line with the new campaign direction, the Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to share and promote the city’s best policies related to disaster risk reduction.
Han Je-hyen, Deputy Mayor for Safety Management at the Seoul Metropolitan Government, said, “Since Seoul joined the UNDRR’s MCR campaign in 2013, it has been promoting and expanding the campaign to the world’s cities.” He added, “Seoul will continue its effort to protect the citizens and their properties from diverse disasters. Also, we will explore and present best cases to make global cooperation and solidarity for making better resilient and sustainable cities.”