“City awash with requests for case presentation”
An increasing number of municipal officials, both local and foreign, are visiting Changwon to learn from this city recognized as the “environmental capital” of the Republic of Korea by international community.
Changwon has been asked to present its experiences or participate in as a panelist by the organizers of various international conferences, including the 2011 Ecocity World Summit in Montreal in August, the Global Green Growth Conference in Copenhagen in October and the Urban Environmental Accords Summit in Gwangju the same month, according to city officials.
The Ecocity World Summit was inaugurated in Berkley, Calif., in 1990, and this year’s conference is expected to draw about 1,500 international experts to the Canadian city from Aug. 22 to 26, under the theme of “People, Ecology, Urbanity, Moving Towards Ecocities.” David Cadman, chairman of ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, and Canadian organizers invited Changwon Mayor Park Wan-su to deliver a keynote address for the Market Panel on Opportunity and Challenge to Realize Ecocities.
The organizers of the Global Green Growth Conference, which will be held in the Danish capital city in Oct. 12-13 with the attendance of municipal officials and environmental experts from 193 countries, also requested Mayor Park to take part in a high-level round-table discussion on conversion of the global economy for green growth from the viewpoint of urban leaders.
In addition, the city has been invited to present its successes – in its smart grid project for three green transport vehicles – in the 2011 Gwangju Summit of the Urban Environmental Accords, which will be jointly hosted by the Korean city, UNEP and San Francisco.
The rush of invitations and requests from the international community can be attributed to the city’s implementation of a series of successful environmental policies. Since declaring itself the environmental capital in November 2006, Changwon has since successfully hosted the 10th COP Meeting of the Ramsar Convention of Wetlands, sometimes called the “environmental Olympics,” as has been exemplary in conducting its smart grid project for three green transport vehicles (the NUBIJA public biking system, electric scooters and electric cars).
Also contributing to Changwon’s reputation was the selection of the city as a “good city to live in” by the UNEP-sponsored assessment in 2010, and the city’s efforts to cope with global economic change by, for instance, joining the C40 Cities – Climate Leadership Group.
Meanwhile, the IPCC AR5 WG III First Lead Authors Meeting, which opened here on July 10, was a big success with 231 scientists and other experts from 194 countries attending, including IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri. The meeting is the first conference for IPCC’s fifth assessment report to be issued in 2014.
At the meeting, the participants decided major contents to be included in the IPCC AR5, such as the reduction of greenhouse gases and its direction, sectorial technology to cut earth-warming gas, and a policy and cost analysis to put the accords into action.
Changwon plans to keep cementing its status as a global environmental leader city through successful hosting of various environment-related conferences. They include the “Wetland Camp for Children from Southeast Asia” (Aug. 19-21), “UNCCD COP 10,” “Eco Mobility and World Bike Festival Changwon 2011” in October, and “East Asian Ocean Conference” in 2012.