Gwangju set to launch urban environment summit | YONHAP NEWS   Leave a comment

GWANGJU, Oct. 11 (Yonhap) -Hundreds of mayors and environment experts from more than 100 cities across the globe were to gather Tuesday in this southwestern city for an urban environment summit in a bid to address the wide range of environmental issues facing cities, organizers said.

The 2011 Gwangju Summit of the Urban Environmental Accords (UEA), hosted by the Gwangju metropolitan government, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the U.S. city of San Francisco, welcomed some 600 mayors, scholars and activists to the city about 330 kilometers southwest of Seoul, with the summit scheduled to open later in the day.

Signed in June 2005 by mayors from 52 cities to celebrate World Environment Day, the UEA has emerged as a hallmark of urban leadership’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The four-day summit, under the theme “Green City, Better City,” brings together representatives from nearly 130 cities and international organizations.

A total of 115 cities, including Curitiba, Brazil, and Barcelona, Spain, have registered for the event, adding to hopes that the summit will attract a record number of foreign officials and mayors to discuss the future of the global environment. Mayors from 23 different cities and deputy mayors from 11 cities are slated to attend.

The 115 cities are comprised of 52 from Asia, 37 from South Korea, 12 from Europe, six from Africa, six from North and South America, and two from Oceania.

A dozen international organizations, including UN-Habitat; the World Bank; and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, are participating as sponsors.

In addition, a handful of well-known officials and activists have joined the panel of keynote speakers. They include Achim Steiner, executive director of the UNEP; Joan Clos, executive director of U.N.-Habitat; and Earth Policy Institute President Lester Brown.

The summit will delve into two major topics: developing a system to evaluate environmental policies and trying to revive a previous effort to set up an emissions trading framework.

Summit attendees will try to develop a practical and universal index to evaluate cities’ eco-friendly policies. The existing standards are either outdated or do not consider the differences between developed and developing countries.

The other goal of the summit is to set up a framework for the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) as part of global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A joint study with the UNEP has been under way since 2007.

The CDM was created under the Kyoto Protocol as one of several ways to facilitate carbon trading in an effort to get cities to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The 1997 protocol obliges nearly 40 developed countries to reduce their emissions over a five-year period through the end of 2012 by an average of 5.2 percent from 1990 levels.

But the CDM has not led to a functional carbon trading system, and so summit attendees are hoping to discuss the agreement and hammer out a new framework for emissions trading.

At the close of the summit, the participants are expected to announce the Gwangju Declaration and Gwangju Initiative summarizing what they discussed, which includes opening an office to implement the aforementioned two goals and forming a consultative body of environment-friendly cities.

Meanwhile, a group of well-known officials and activists are also slated to discuss environmental issues at symposiums and forums on the sidelines of the summit on subjects such as finding a solution to the endangered Earth and environmental issues facing metropolises and developing countries.

khj@yna.co.kr

(END)

via Gwangju set to launch urban environment summit | YONHAP NEWS.

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Posted October 10, 2011 by arnoneumann in Environment

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