The leaders of twenty cities in fifteen countries gathered in Seoul to adopt the “2012 Seoul Metropolitan Government Energy and Climate Declaration” (Seoul Declaration hereinafter) on Saturday, October 20, 2012, which focuses on a sharp reduction of the use of fossil fuels and nuclear energy and the expanded use of sustainable energy.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced the City of Seoul’s adoption of the Seoul Declaration at the World Mayors Climate Conference on October 20 along with the member cities of the WMCCC (World Mayors Council on Climate Change), for which Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon is currently serving as chairman. The global cities declared their intention to participate in efforts to overhaul their energy production and consumption structures and to reduce the impact of the public sector’s municipal operations on global climate change.
Explaining the major contents of the Seoul Declaration, Mayor Park said, “The city of Seoul is doing its utmost to reduce its dependence on nuclear energy and to secure its sustainable development potential. To that end, Seoul is pouring all-out efforts into such causes as improved energy efficiency, expanded use of new and renewable energy, and increased energy independence.” Reiterating his strong commitment to the cause, he added, “The city of Seoul will set as its goal a reduction target of over 30% concerning the consumption of nuclear energy and fossil fuels by 2020.”
A city official explained that as the cities which have signed up to the Seoul Declaration all have different public administration environments at the moment, it was not possible to set a fixed quantitative goal at the Seoul Conference. As such, separate goals for each city will be set for attainment by 2013, in accordance with each city’s level of development and financial situation.
The Seoul Declaration is the second declaration adopted by the WMCCC, following on from the ‘Mexico City Pact’ adopted at the Mexico City WMCCC Conference in 2012. The event is positive proof that many city representatives are paying keen interest to the issue of sustainable energy production and consumption these days, with a view to creating safer and more environmentally-friendly cities for their residents.
The Seoul Declaration was announced at the session titled “Dialogue among world city mayors on climate, energy and citizen participation,” the last event of the “ICLEI-Seoul East Asia Days” held in Seoul for three days on the occasion of the opening of the ICLEI East Asia Headquarters. The declaration was agreed upon one day earlier, on October 19, at a joint conference involving the ICLEI World Board of Directors and the WMCCC, with a discussion among the board members and city representatives.
The declaration is particularly significant in that it calls for public sector initiatives as part of the efforts to overhaul the energy production and consumption structures and slow down the overall climate change processes. It is expected to stimulate the private sector’s participation in these causes in the immediate future.