Gwangju will radiate in the international spot-light this October as it co-hosts the Urban Environmental Accords (UEA) Gwangju Summit 2011 with sister city San Francisco. The Summit will feature four international conferences, dialogue focused on policies that address urban environmental issues plus exhibitions and events to present new technologies to the public. The inspiration behind the summit is that to achieve success in tackling environmental problems, issues need to be managed locally by cities and their mayors. 105 cities have been invited to attend, including those as diverse and distant as San Francisco, Vienna and Phnom Penh.
It seems only natural that Gwangju would host the Environmental summit since proclaiming itself an environmentally conscience city with Mayor Kang Un-Tae at the helm. Dedicated to improving Gwangju’s ecological beauty, Kang has already displayed his commitment by planting 10,000,000 trees around the city. Besides, it can not be argued that the pioneering carbon bank, city’s numerous green parks and restored animal habitats will make the perfect backdrop for such an event.
The action takes place October 11-18 at the majestic Kimdeajung Convention Centre (KCC). During the summit participating cities’ local governments will discuss new measures to reduce greenhouse gasses, share case studies of cities excellent environmental policies, establish an innovative new urban environmental evaluation index and apply the world’s first urban clean development mechanism; which you may recognize as ‘carbon credits’. Impressive keynote speakers include Earth Policy Institute Director Lester Brown, prominent IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] Chairman elect and Noble peace prize winner R.K. Pachauri and CNN [Cable News Network] head honcho Ted Turner. Alas, reign in your enthusiasm, as yet, it has not been decided if a public audience is permitted.
Yet even for those of us not in public office, there are plenty of exhibitions to please. Cities that are particularly eco-friendly are invited to share case studies of how they operate a sustainable metropolitan city in the City Exhibition. And while the UEA summit remains independently funded by Gwangju city, companies will display their environmentally conscience technologies to the public. Allowing a wonderful opportunity to view innovate green technologies which may make it into our homes as quick as the I-pad.
Many will be excited at the opportunity to see an electric car in practice, as one will be in operation around the venue courtesy of the UAE summit. Also taking place at the KCC is the 2011 International Climate and Environmental Fair, an annual event rejigged to co-inside with the summit. Complete unadulterated delight for the tech-savvy environmentalist among you.
The pinnacle of the summit will surely be the signing of the Gwangju Declaration. In which, cities show their willingness to contribute to environmental conservation by reducing greenhouse gasses. The hope is that a carbon credit system between cities will be enacted to support the environment without hindering economical systems.
Equally as pioneering is the construction and implementation of the urban environmental evaluation index, which will establish the criteria used to determine the success of cities in their sustainable plight. It is anticipated that this index will be adopted as a measure of urban success well into the future. The index will be used to present the UNEP-Gwangju Low-Carbon Green City Award, an acknowledgement of cities’ achievement to successfully address environmental issues. These measures will be particularly useful when the commitments to lower greenhouse gas emissions agreed upon in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol expire in 2012.
Spirits are high as preparations continue for what will be a significant moment in promoting ecologically sustainability. Gwangju has stepped forward as a progressive city considerate of its carbon footprint, helping forward-thinking cities to navigate the sustainability of their urban environment through co-operation and good conscience. For more information on the UEA Gwangju Summit 2011, in English or Korean, click on http://2011uea.com