Creating a Human City: Review of the Suwon Forum 2018

For the past 3 years, CityNet and Suwon City have collaborated to organize the Suwon Forum which is an annual event centered on the creation of an “Asia Human City” and was made to facilitate the sharing of best practices and strategies needed to create a better living environment for the population. This year’s theme was titled “Human Cities for All” and featured topics such as Urban Regeneration, Housing Welfare, Urban Resilience, and Civic Democracy.

This year, on September 17th-18th, I had the opportunity to work as a staff member for the 2018 Suwon Forum. Before attending the event, I had little knowledge to what the concept of a Human City meant, but I discovered that there are varying meanings behind a seemingly simple term.

Within the overall theme, three sessions with sub-themes took place in order to provide insight into the various factors that are needed to create a Human City:

  1. A City Where Everyone is Happy
  2. A City Where People are Always Safe
  3. A City Where Anything is Possible

Speakers and participants weighed in on the numerous aspects behind a Human City and what contributes to its creation. A main element that was highlighted was the need for public participation. For instance, Oswar Mungkasa, the Deputy Governor of Jakarta, shared this when giving his idea of a Human City; a place in which the government and citizens work in collaboration and co-create the city, and one where the population can have a role in developing city policies and implementing them.

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Another aspect that was frequently noted for a Human City was the importance of environmental sustainability through the incorporation of various ecological elements such as greater walkability, the creation of public spaces, and efficient and affordable public transportation through the use of BRT systems. For Taoyuan, Jiunn-Ming Chiou, the Deputy Secretary General of the city, expressed how one of the ways that they are working to achieve a human-oriented city is by improving the air quality and implementing more low carbon practices. One of their initiatives is the use of energy efficient infrastructure and housing, as 86 buildings of the city having attained GREE certification.

As the forum progressed, it became increasingly evident that a Human City was a multifaceted concept with many cities now developing an array of policies to implement in order to achieve this. However, the term itself started in Suwon.

A couple of years ago, the Mayor of Suwon, Tae Young Yeom, gave Suwon this concept of being a Human City. At this year’s Suwon Forum, he expressed the vision for the city; one that welcomes and values people, and is a place in which citizens have a role and opportunity to actively participate. During the forum, much was mentioned about the former king of Suwon who lead many initiatives for his citizens and constructed the Suwon fortress which is now a proud emblem for the history of the city.

On the second day, after the closing ceremony of the event, participants were taken on a site visit to the Hwaseong Fortress mentioned during the event, along with the Haenggung-dong Mural Village and the Hanok Technology Exhibition Hall in order for the forum’s participants to learn more about Suwon’s history and traditional heritage. With a walk through the city, one can see how deeply connected the city is to its culture and citizens. The well-maintained 222 year old fortress, the preservation of the traditional Hanok architectural style, and even small historical representations of past citizens painted along the pathways depict the value that Suwon has for its people, history, and culture.

During the site visits, I noticed that the collaboration from the people of Suwon can be seen throughout the city. In the Haenggung-dong Mural Village, the city is able to represent the people of the past through art representations made by the citizens of the present day. The art in the village also helps represents elements of a Human City as, during the tour, the guide noted how the artists and owners of the houses in the village collaborated on the design for the murals. One of them was even created by the community as the artist had laid out art supplies in front of the wall and allowed citizens to join in the process of creating the mural for the city.

The words “Human City Suwon—사람이 반갑습니다 (people welcome)” were even written in various places throughout the city.

Although having a Human City is a new concept, the practices shared by all in attendance at the Suwon Forum will help spread this idea across Asia, and I’m certain that the Suwon Forum will further this initiative for many years to come.


Serena_bio_imgSerena Spurgeon
Serena Spurgeon received a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Languages and International Studies at the University of North Alabama, and is currently pursuing a Specialization Master’s degree in International Relations at the Univeristà Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, Italy. She was a co-author in political research conferenced at the Midwest Political Science Organization in 2018. Her areas of interest include environmental sustainability, SDGs, human development, and peace and conflict studies.

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Pursuit of Green City

The biggest global trend we have witnessed for the last 10 years is without a doubt, the issue of the climate change and the urbanization. ‘Going Green’ or ‘Sustainable-’ has been the most talked about thing for the last couple of years and attentions requested to save the world is now important than never before. With the rapid population growth in developing countries and 4th industrialization in developed countries, the world is facing another level of the new threat in the history of humankind. According to the Brundtland report in 1987, the term ‘sustainability’ means environment, economic and social development that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In the philosophy and the social consideration, ‘sustainability’ focuses more on the issue of conservation and improvement of the environment. There has been a concern about preserving nature throughout the human history, but the real concern regarding the modern environmental movement began during the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. Now, it is with the paradigm changes of the new technology.

Beginning from that period to today, for less than 200 years humans have harmed the environment with the enormous amount of pollution more than ever (UNFCCC,2017). The development of industry and technology may have borough conveniences to a life of the human, but on the other hand, brought the human conquer of nature. There has been a wide spread of environmental movement during the last century, including from may other international organization such as ICLEI, GCF, GGGI and of course the CityNet. Although a tremendous amount of money and supports have been discussed among them, the speaking of the danger of global warming all around the world need even greater cooperations and cares to meet the decent level of sustainability (GCF,2017). There also are thousands of small individuals organizations regionally doing the small things to save our planet, like Oxfam, CARE, World Vision, and many other NGOs. For the better result, each country and other international organizations’ strong build of ownership and capacity building cannot be left out separately and need to foster a strong engagement with the compliment. Therefore, first and foremost the role of the CityNet, as a connect actor and the arbitrator of the regional governments, make a great contribution to the world’s sustainable and resilient cities.

In general terms, environmentalists advocate the sustainable management of resources, and the protection of the natural environment through changes in the public policy and individual behaviors. Normally, this movement is regarded more a liberal approach, looking toward legislative government intervention to prevent the destruction of the environment. However, through the years, there has also been a conservative movement toward environment called ‘Free Market Environmentalism.’ Free Market Environmentalism is a theory that argues that the free market, property rights, and tort law provided the best tools to preserve the health and substantiality of the environment (Anderson,1991). Ironically, most of this activities are held in the place of the life of the human, as we all know without saying, the city. Henceforth the appearance of the city with the catastrophe of nature and the greed of human, the pace of the urbanization increase immensely. The only human has the key to solve this issue.

The problem of urbanization and the right to live in the clean environment are not anymore for a hardcore environmentalist issue. People who live in developing and developed countries both consider preventing more damages to nature. It is true that we cannot talk environment concerns without talking the money. These days it costs more to be a real environmentalist. If then, how should we make our world more green and sustainable when pursuing the life of environmentalism sounds the only privilege for the people who have the resources and abilities? Some may argue that making environmental behavior or giving an immediate aid will raise aid dependency and diminish self-reliance of the recipient. Often, it is radically described this action as a pouring water into a broken jug. Sometimes things are not so tangible at the right moment, but I trust the effort which has been put together will create a result for something in the end as a person who currently works in the international cooperation field. Indirect and direct response to each city can make a change and global response to the environmental disaster and long-term urban challenges.

Although it is minor individual activities, I do consider myself an environmental person and I do believe the current environmental issue is a big thing and more people need to get involved and practiced in the eco-friendly life. I do not see it as a conflict or a political battle between different ideas. Although the development of industries and advanced of technologies might have borough harm to nature, in a different perspective it has brought more of good as well. For instance, the rivers and lakes are now much more clean by the technology than it was 100 years ago. It is not a fight, it is our friend we are dealing with and the biggest friend to human is out nature. I think the death of Earth, and all the pessimistic analogy regarding the planet’s future is too overblown. I see the positive attributions that people are making to the environment, and with that change of smaller things by more and more people, I see our environment becoming healthier in the futures.


References:

https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement

https://www.greenclimate.fund/-/gcf-enhances-asian-coverage-by-bolstering-ties-with-adb

Anderson, Terry Lee. 1946. “Free market environmentalism” Westview Press, 1991.


Rose

By Rose Y. Shim

Rose Y. Shim received Political Science Bachelor’s at UC Berkeley and currently studying Urban Planning at Seoul National University, Graduate School of Environmental Studies. Her interest area is sustainable development and international cooperation in developing countries. Rose has work experience as a researcher with the start of her master’s program, and was mainly in charge of city’s rejuvination and the unification of Korea.

 

Congress Over But What’s Next?

The CityNet Congress 2017 was successfully over. With participation of over 300 guests of honor from around the world, the Congress hosted in Colombo, Sri Lanka from Nov. 5th to 8th also marked the 30th anniversary of CityNet.

It was truly amazing to see how participants from different parts of Asia Pacific were engaged in discussions and networking through different sessions. They not only shared their ideas on sustainable urban development goals (SDGs) but also their deepest concerns: how do they replicate the best practices of other cities, which are so different from their own in size, population, culture, living style, social expectations, political structure, level of economic development, to name just a few?

 

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As a platform dedicated to city-to-city cooperation, whether from North to South, South to South, or North to North, CityNet strives to improve the lives of communities in the Asia Pacific region and worldwide. The complicated and multilayered nature of the region, with some of the richest, poorest, and also highly developing cities in between, however, pose gargantuan urbanization challenges. Through the networking of CityNet, the cities can better identify their situations, obstacles, and disadvantages, and thus come up with solutions.

To help the cities do so, CityNet has mapped out a series of activities for the upcoming year of 2018. These can include capacity building programs, projects and other initiatives, partner development, etc.

Take the capacity building programs for instance. CityNet and its partners are going to provide an extensive number of workshops to help enhance the cities’ urban development capacities. These include Mayors Forum, Financing of Urban Energy Infrastructure and Urban Lighting, Water Management Workshop with ARISU, Climate Change Workshop, among others.

To advocate its members’ voices on the global stage and help them reach tangible results, CityNet also plans to participate in major international conferences such as Ninth Session of the World Urban Forum, Kuala Lumpur.

CityNet will continue encouraging its member cities to be engaged in CityNet Services, National Chapters, Cluster Activities, Urban SDG Knowledge Platform and so on in the upcoming year.  As megacities in Asia are expecting further urban growth in the years to come, the success of the urban future largely depends on the Asia’s secondary cities since two-thirds of the world’s secondary cities are located in Asia and Africa.

Partnerships remain the driving force to support the intimidating tasks the cities face ahead. Through the platform of CityNet, the cities can gather to share their ideas and problems, benefit from feedback and reflection, and draft a blueprint of how to deal with urban challenges in palpable steps.

“Together we can do more, that is the theme of CityNet,” said Mary Jane C. Ortega, Special Adviser of CityNet. And together we can grow.

 

Photos: courtesy of CityNet

Julia

By Julia Szu-tu, CityNet Secondment Staff

Julia is a section assistant at the Department of Information and Tourism, Taipei City Government interested in international affairs and environmental protection.

How can community-based tourism provide meaningful experience to both visitors and residents?

To many developing countries, tourism is one major economic growth drivers due to their pristine beaches and natural wonders. Tourism generates jobs and improves the living standards of many residents of their local communities.

In 2016, the World Travel and Tourism Council reported that tourism sector created 68 million jobs (3.7 percent of total employment representing 2.8 percent of total GDP) in Asia Pacific region. It supported a total of over 150 million jobs, equivalent to one in every 11 jobs.

Despite its benefits, tourism has been causing detrimental effects in many places where it is mismanaged. Over the years, large-scale mass tourism, where quantity of visitors becomes the priority, has contributed to the degradation of the local environment. For example, hotels and resorts that are poorly-designed and built on a natural habitat may cause more harm than good.

Mass tourism has also increased the dependence on external market with tourism industries in developing countries and least developed countries being largely run by companies based in foreign countries. In most cases, its revenue has not been equally distributed to communities, as its big share still goes back to international and national offices of tourism operators.

To counter these negative effects, community-based tourism (CBT) offers an alternative view to mass tourism promising a more meaningful impact to both visitors’ experience and community.

By concept, Community Based Tourism (CBT) is any tourism-related activity that is community owned and managed or coordinated at the community level that focuses both on showcasing the local’s tourist areas and improving the well-being of its residents. The program can support sustainable livelihoods and protection of local people’s cultural identity.

CBT can bring about several economic, environmental, and social benefits:

  • Economic benefits

Community-based tourism encourages community’s stakeholders to co-develop and implement relevant projects. This process ensures creation of local jobs and revenue retention in the community itself. This also helps them cope with problems generated by mass tourism by easing economic dependence on external markets.

  • Environmental benefits

Community-based tourism seeks to build on its natural ecosystem. This lessens the risk of causing more danger to the local environment in the long-run.

  • Social benefits

Community-based tourism empowers local citizens bringing about a sense of ownership and cooperation to reach common goals which results to enhancing social cohesion.

Kinabatangan’s Model Ecologically Sustainable Community Tourism (MESCOT) Project in Malaysia offers a good case as to how a well-managed CBT can provide lasting impacts to both local residents and tourists. This project was initially planned to ensure stable income for the indigent villagers who had heavily relied on natural resources to support their living.

Kinabatangan town is located in Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia. It is the large area with 7,800 hectare with a population of 147,000.

The MESCOT project is run under the strict criteria set by Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture. The criteria include optimum standards for security and cleanliness and a minimum of 10 houses for each homestay cluster with three rooms per houses.

The Homestay program offers different activities for tourists which include traditional games like village boat service, building traditional fish traps and cultural dancing performance. All these programs and activities are evaluated and monitored based on service quality, activity packages, homestay management and promotion by Sabah Homestay Association.

There are four key factors which contributed to the MESCOT’s success:

  • Capacity building for the community

Hosts of the homestays undergo the required training on the homestay management. For the first four years of its operation, residents ranging from 18 to 35 years old were trained in ecotourism planning, business skills, English language, and natural and cultural resources research. This ensures all Homestay Programs have the same scheme and structure that will provide visitors with minimum standard quality of service.

  • Planning, implementation, and monitoring agencies

National government has provided full support for participating homestay houses. The Ministry of Tourism provides directions, policies and guidelines for registration and development of the program. It is also in charge of marketing and promotion. The Ministry of Rural and Regional Development provides infrastructure for rural development and training and capacity building for their communities. The Sabah Homestay Association monitors the program management, development and promotions.

  • Promotion of Green economy

MESCOT project has adopted the Green Economy strategy by creating new alternative income sources for local residents who obtained seasonal income by working in the nearby timber camps. With the project introduced, villagers no longer have to depend on natural resources which prevent them from further degrading ecosystem and causing loss of biodiversity.

  • Active involvement of the local community

The success of CBT relies on the goodwill and cooperation of residents. The villagers were involved from the initial project stage, engaging their assistance in forest fire fighting and restoration activities and training their skills in managing visitors.

After 10 years of implementation, MESCOT has created jobs for more than 128 people on a rotation system. Homestay providers earned up to RM 2,000 monthly (USD 467). This project contributes to the improvement of the city residents’ housing condition and living standards.

The case of Kinabatangan provides guiding principles for other local governments that may have yet to reach their tourism potential but must minimize the environmental cost at the same time.

Local residents must co-develop and implement their own programs that can support both their livelihood and protect their natural environment as well. It is essential that national governments can supervise other aspects of CBT management that are beyond the scope of the local governments. This includes extensive, capacity-building programs and facilitation in building consensus in many of its different community discussions. Most importantly, the key success to CBT depends on how residents can take pride and care of their home.

References:

Community-Based Tourism in Developing Countries: A Case Study, 2011, an International Multidisciplinary Journal of Tourism (http://www.chios.aegean.gr/tourism/VOLUME_6_No1_art04.pdf?origin=publicati)

Community Based Tourism: Group Report and Recommendations, UNWTO (http://cf.cdn.unwto.org/sites/all/files/pdf/community_based_development_group_seesion.pdf)

Tourism and Poverty Alleviation, 2010, WTO (http://step.unwto.org/content/tourism-and-poverty-alleviation-1)

sion1
By Sion Kang

Sion Kang recently completed her dual bachelor’s programs of International Studies and European Union Studies at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) in Seoul, Republic of Korea. Her interest lies in the field of sustainable development and macro-economic policy in developing countries. She has a work experience at an NGO in Lao PDR, and was mainly in charge of devising and implementing educational activity and fundraising program and researching capacity building and knowledge exchange.

Migrants and Cities: Recognizing the Roles of Cities to Promote Social Inclusion

Currently, there is unprecedented human mobility across the world, caused by various factors including lack of employment, motivation to pursue better education & living, security, and even environmental issues pushing migrants to flee from their home regions. Whether it is cross-border migration or rural-urban migration, cities globally has been increasingly known to be the popular destination for migrants to settle in. Whether is related to the current global phenomena of Syrian Refugees, uprising climate refugees, the mobility of women caregivers in Southeast Asia, migrant workers in Gulf region, up to day to day migration, flagging the cross-sectorial discussion between urban and city development with migration is necessary to further seek solutions in related problems. With the increasing phenomenon of human mobility, migration has brought both positive and negative consequences for the destination cities where they migrate to. However, the 2015 World Migration Report from IOM states that the issue of migration is overlooked in the discussion of urban and city development and to some extent, is often perceived negatively (IOM, 2015).

The issue of migration is inseparable with the efforts to manage migrants, particularly on the integration aspect. It is argued that migrants bring positive impacts to the hosting community by bringing new knowledge and culture, manpower resources, agent of diversity, and even essential economic and social contribution to their home community, among others. However, these contributions that migrants bring to the hosting cities and communities are again, still under-discussed. However, diverse sectors of society may not always have the sufficient conditions to keep a cohesive social inclusion into a populated city. The problems where ‘your migrant neighbors’ are sources of community problems that lead to discrimination, social conflict, differential treatment, and to some extent, social disintegration are no longer new problems globally.

Regardless of the overlooked positive contribution from migrants, cities can play a role to promote the contribution from new members to the society and to remove the negative stigma of migrants by promoting social inclusion among both incoming and hosting society. The efforts of cities in improving social cohesion and inclusion lies at the core of social policies of education, health, as well as the promotion of social mobility, all this managed under the city, provincial, and national governments.

When it comes to managing social inclusion at the community level, there are countless interactions among individuals and community groups that take place that may perpetuate the social disintegration among migrant and hosting communities. In this regard, it is the role of city governments to further seek local solutions to manage the community diversity by reaching out to both migrant and host communities as well as to mitigate the potential social exclusion and disintegration that may take place in communities or neighborhoods (MPI, 2013).

Participation can also become an element to promote social relations between newcomers and locals in which city governments can play a role as facilitators. There have been initiatives between public sectors (city governments) and non-governmental organizations, private sectors, urban practitioners, civil society representatives, migrant and diaspora groups to further discuss and cooperate on urban governance issues which are seen as the ‘opportunity structures’ among migrants and hosting society (IOM, 2015). Another example that is recently gaining popularity in homogenous society such as the Republic of Korea, is where localized policies and activities conducted by non-governmental organizations and migrant shelters provide spaces and programs where migrants and locals can interact together to increase the understanding between the two groups (Fitriana, 2016).

There are and there will be more countless examples where cities play roles to manage issues of incoming migrants and bridging them with hosting society. However, when it comes to managing incoming migrants, the discussion goes beyond the provision of housing, education, or income sources for the newcomers. It also deals with the social cohesion among members of community groups that include migrants and hosting community. In reducing the social disintegration and foster the social inclusion, it takes the political commitment from city governments and relevant partners to further recognize and acknowledge the connection between migrants and cities within their urban governance priorities considering the countless human mobility across the world.

References:

Fitriana, C. E. 2016. Social Integration of Migrant Workers in Hosting Society: The Case of Indonesian EPS Workers in Ansan, South Korea. Unpublished Thesis: Graduate School of International and Area Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.

International Organization for Migration (IOM). 2015. World Migration Report 2015. Available at: http://publications.iom.int/system/files/wmr2015_en.pdf

Migration Policy Institute (MPI). 2013. The Roles of Cities in Immigrant Integration. Available at: http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/role-cities-immigrant-integration

By Cresti Eka Fitriana

Cresti is from Indonesia and she holds Master of Arts in International Development Studies from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) in Seoul, Republic of Korea. She is a former awardee of Korean Government Scholarship Program (KGSP) and is specialized in areas including migration & development, social policy & inclusion, and ASEAN region. She served as a Program Intern in the CityNet Secretariat from August to November 2016.

The 10th Seoul ODA International Conference

On August 31st to September 1st 2016, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Korea in collaboration with the Korea International Cooperation Agency ( KOICA) successfully organized The 10th Seoul ODA International Conference in The Lotte Hotel, Seoul, Republic of Korea. For years, the Seoul ODA Conference has been a platform in the field of international development cooperation in Korea.

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In the landscape of international development, last year marks an important time for the global agenda with the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement 2015 under the UNFCCC, and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA). The global agenda serves as an international consensus to advance development efforts globally, as well as to provide new approaches on the way development intervention is practiced.

The new framework of SDGs has brought more inclusive approaches in sustainable development including the economic, social, and environmental aspect altogether. Official Development Assistance (ODA) has always been an essential part of the global and national practice of development. Therefore, the shift in development approaches would also influence how ODA is carried and utilized across development actors globally.

In this regard, the 10th Seoul ODA international Conference serves to facilitate the reflection of past efforts during the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as the projection of development interventions under the era of SDGs. The conference was divided into three sessions with each session serves as a platform to discuss related topics regarding the role of ODA under the SDGs framework.

The first day was started with two topics including Lessons Learned from the Past, and Means of Implementation of SDGs. Speakers were not only from the public and international organizations, but also from private sector, academics, and civil society organizations.

The first session, ‘Lesson Learned from the Past’ covered different topics on the achievements, pitfalls, and challenges of MDGs as well as what MDGs contributed to the development interventions globally. Speakers representing different development organizations including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Korea, USAID, and Vietnam Institute for Development Strategies were present. Among them, the topic of Goal Number 3 MDGs (Gender Equality and Women Empowerment) was agreed to be one of the most successful efforts across the globe. However, the issue of inequality still remains as a pitfall of different ranges of development interventions. Hence, taking this as a point of consideration and lesson learned, the issue of tackling inequality came up within the new framework of SDGs.

The session ‘Means of Implementation’ covered different topics on diversifying resources in supporting the SDGs. The session is moderated by Kilaparti Ramakrishna, the Director of UN ESCAP East and North-East Asia office. Different speakers from various backgrounds including UNCDF, Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation, KOICA, and Impact Investment Exchange Asia were present discussing the positioning of ODA as well as other resources to finance the implementation of SDGs. It was agreed that, although ODA has been an essential part of the discussion of financing development globally, financing the SDGs which are much more ambitious and universal also needs more ambitious sources to achieve the goals by 2030. Among all speakers in this session, Durreen Shahnaz, who has been working in impact investing in Southeast Asia, introduced the concept of impact investing, the concept of investments intended to create positive social impact beyond financial return, as additional sources in the diversification of SDGs funding.

The two days conference was closed by the discussion of ‘New Approach of Inclusiveness in the Era of SDGs’. As a more ambitious global agenda, the SDGs were seen to be more inclusive globally. Unlike MDGs that were focusing in developing countries, SDGs targets a universal coverage including developed countries. In addition, the sense of participatory and ownership are also two important parts in the SDGs implementation which countries could adopt in the process of designing their own development priorities.

Seoul ODA conference has been conducted annually for 10 years and will be serving as a place of development practitioners to share their insights and knowledge on development efforts in the upcoming years.

 

By Cresti Eka Fitriana

Cresti is from Indonesia and she holds Master of Arts in International Development from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) in Seoul, Republic of Korea. She is a former awardee of Korean Government Scholarship Program (KGSP) and is specialized in areas including migration & development, social policy & inclusion, and ASEAN region.

The 7th ASEAN-ROK Transport Cooperation Forum

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The 7th ASEAN-ROK Transport Cooperation Forum (June 1st– 3rd , 2016) was held at The Plaza Hotel, Seoul, Republic of Korea. It was hosted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The forum opened its door with introductory speeches of Jeong Ho Choi (Vice-Minister of MOLIT), Bonifacio, Sherielysse (Chairperson of ASEAN STOM) and Chang Woon Lee (President of KOTI).

The forum was divided up into following sessions:

  1. Convergence of Cities and Transport
  2. Convergence of Information, Energy, and Transport
  3. Convergence of New Technology and Transport
  4. ASEAN-ROK Cooperation in the Transport Sector.

The sessions touched on interesting topics regarding transport, such as the autonomous vehicles and efficient urban transportation system through utilization and dissemination of smart technologies. Overall, the bigger picture of the forum was to underscore the importance of city-to-city connectivity and mobility, sustainable development and international cooperation, which altogether addresses the common issue of over-densification of urban areas within the ASEAN member states. The forum on Day 1 was followed by company and country reports, as well as technical tour and culture experiences during the remaining two days.

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Youngmin Chang, CityNet’s Director of Programs, represented CityNet during Session D by giving a presentation about “CityNet’s Current Situation and Plan of International Cooperation in ASEAN Countries”.  CityNet’s organizational focus tied in with the theme of the forum in that they both stress international cooperation through partnerships, sustainable development, and development of Asian-Pacific cities. CityNet not only actively cooperates with the local authorities such as the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG), but also engages in exchanges between its international members through organizing platforms such as the CityNet Services.

However, CityNet goes a step further to address various factors other than transportation that shape the urban fabric: affordable housing (Affordable Housing KLRTC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. March 2016.), climate change (Cities and Climate Change, Jakarta, Indonesia. May 2016.) and waterworks (Waterworks ARISU, Seoul, Republic of Korea, planned for September and November 2016.). Some of the notable achievements of CityNet include co-development of the Urban SDG Knowledge Sharing Platform with UN-ESCAP and SMG, as well as development and launching of CityApp Sidoarjo with Microsoft and Sidoarjo Regency.

Concluding with recapping of one of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 targets – By 2030, provide safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all-, Youngmin Chang reinstated the common goal of CityNet and the attendees of the 7th ASEAN-ROK Transport Cooperation Forum: to construct a better transport system for Asia-Pacific cities through convergence strategies, hence addressing the urban challenges as well as providing ‘opportunities-for-all’ to enjoy sustainable, smart, and efficient urban transportation.

By Jiyoung Jo

Jiyoung Jo is a rising Senior at New York University majoring in Metropolitan Studies and Environmental Studies. Her interest lies in the field of sustainable city planning and urban design, and she has a wide range of work experiences at both public and private sector in New York.