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Seoul mayor speaks at Citynet convention

Park says the city has a duty to share expertise in sustainability
Nov 07,2017
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Mayors and representatives of member cities of Citynet, including Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, fourth from right at the front, and Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, fourth left at the front, at the organization’s eighth congress, a quadrennial gathering to discuss member cities’ roles in sustainable development, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Monday. [SEOUL METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT]
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said Seoul has a duty to share with the world its experiences in sustainable development, speaking at the quadrennial convention of Citynet in Sri Lanka on Monday to some 300 representatives and experts from nearly 50 member cities.

“Through economic development, Seoul has embraced so many different challenges in regard to traffic congestion, building houses, water purification and so on,” said Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon during the conference that gathered representatives from nearly 50 cities in Colombo on Monday. “But we are realizing that obtaining more green space for city residents and developing recyclable energy is more important than direct economic development.

“Since Seoul became the president city of Citynet, we have made efforts to share our experiences and policies with fellow cities around the world, in areas such as transportation management, water supply, environment protection, urban renewal, and e-governance,” Park said. “Currently, Seoul is sharing 53 different policy solutions with 39 cities in 28 different countries, including the member cities of Citynet.”

Seoul, which joined Citynet in 1989, is the president city of Citynet from 2013 to this year. It hosted the Citynet Congress, a quadrennial convention of member cities, in 2013.

“Some of the more advanced cities like Seoul and Yokohama have best practices in sustainable urban development,” said Vijay Jagannathan, secretary general of Citynet. “What we have learned as a network of cities in the Asia Pacific region is that sharing of knowledge can be done within the region from more advanced cities and also among other developing cities. Now there are possibilities of developing platforms with new technology for cities to come up with agile solutions together.”

Seoul’s collaborations with member cities of Citynet include exporting public transportation management systems, traffic information systems and public transportation payment systems to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Ulaanbaatar, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh and Mumbai. It is also collaborating with Colombo on possibly implementing Seoul’s e-government system for taxation.

“We are currently collaborating with a team in Colombo to see if an implementation of Seoul’s e-tax system can be applied here,” said Kwon Sun-ki, director of the Global Urban Partnership Division.

Mayors and experts from dozens of cities at the convention on Monday agreed that cities can do more when they work together.

“Together we can do more, that is the theme of Citynet,” said Mary Jane Ortega, special adviser to Citynet.

“The Philippines is in the ring of fire, so it is prone to earthquakes and fires,” said Mar-Len Abigail S. Binay-Campos, mayor of Makati. “We will benchmark other cities like Seoul and Yokohama and other partners in Citynet.”

“National disasters and unexpected disasters are striking cities and one issue we have to discuss is how do we find the resources,” said Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. “So the cities have to share what we have through a common platform.”

Citynet was founded in 1987 with 27 member cities as a network to share policies and ideas on sustainable development of cities. The organization has since then grown to have 138 member cities and organizations this year.

Mayor Park, visiting Sri Lanka from Monday to today to attend its congress titled “Our City, Our Future: Sharing Local Solutions for Sustainable Development,” also announced the Citynet Colombo Declaration on Monday.

“We firmly commit to work together as a robust network of innovative and interconnected cities and urban stakeholders who will shape our sustainable urban future,” Park read from the declaration at the congress. “In this spirit, we declare 2018-2028 as the decade for realizing our common vision of sustainable development through shared local solutions.”

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]