Dr. Joong-keun Lee, Chairman of Booyoung Corporation Limited (Co., Ltd),
H.E. Mr. Seung-soo Han, Chairman of the Global Green Growth Institute and Member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation,
Honourable Hyung-oh Kim, Member of Parliament,
Dr. Yeon-cheon Oh, President of the Seoul National University,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
An-nyung-ha-se-yo, yeo-ro-bun (Good evening, everyone)!
With a great pleasure and excitement, I am standing here today. Just now, Dr. Lee, Chairman of Booyoung, and I signed the contribution agreement, through which Booyoung committed USD 3 million to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), for our programmes and projects aiming at resolving the urban issues in the African countries.
We live in an age where the world's population will have grown to 7 billion by the end of this month and where more than half of them live in towns and cities. Projections indicate that this will increase to two-thirds in just over a generation from now. How we manage this rapid urbanization will be the key to our very survival and prosperity.
Korea is a successful case of rapid urbanization. After having gone through colonialism and war, Korea shifted from a traditional rural society to a modern urban society with its economy being number 11 in the world. I learned the key to its success was based on education and careful national development plans.
The new approach that we are promoting emphasises: (1) preventive planning – planning in advance; (2) planning at the scale of the problems; and (3) planning in phases, beginning with ensuring adequate physical access and basic urban services, especially water and sanitation.
Cities are generators of wealth and employment, incubators of innovation and creativity, and provide the best opportunities to improve livelihood. Cities give great economies of scale and opportunities for efficiency to infrastructure development. People flock into cities looking for better lives, educational opportunities and jobs. With proper urban planning, cities can provide all these to us.
In this regard, the Booyoung Corporation Limited’s contribution of funds to our programmes and projects in the African cities, is most graciously accepted by our office and the entire world. I am aware that Booyoung is a socially committed company, and has contributed a great deal to building and improving educational facilities in Korea and some Asian countries through its Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) programmes. I admire the leadership of Dr. Joong-keun Lee, Chairman of Booyoung, who is not only an excellent entrepreneur but also a far-sighted visionary. We are aware how hard Dr. Lee and all the staff members of Booyoung have worked, and I, as the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, would like to assure that your contribution will be used well to improve lives of African city-dwellers. This valuable contribution will be used to benefit cities all over the Africa and contribute to sustainable urban development. On behalf of UN-Habitat, I would like to say “Kamsa-hamnida” to Dr. Lee and Booyoung.
I would like to stress that the challenges facing cities are numerous and daunting, and no entity, public or private, governmental or non-governmental, academic or practitioner, can face these challenges alone. I would like to invite all of you to join us in our quest for more sustainable urban development. Together, we can conceive how to turn our cities, the greatest achievements of human civilisation, into better cities for the future.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Kamsa-hamnida, yeo-ro-boon (Thanks).