May 5th, 2007 06:35 EST
Urban Training Centre Now Open in Republic of Korea
As the damage from climate change grows increasingly apparent, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has praised a new centre in the Republic of Korea working to address the environmental impact of large cities.
“With this new Centre, Gangwon Province and UN-HABITAT (UN Human Settlements Programme) are joining forces in the cause of sustainable urban development,” Mr. Ban said in a video message for the International Urban Training Centre in Gangwon Province.
Pointing to the “increasingly visible” impacts of climate change, he said, “Your mission has never been more important.”
Mr. Ban pointed out that while cities are engines of economic growth and cultural innovation, “they also contribute significantly to environmental degradation, through their enormous needs for energy, water and land.”
He stressed that in this light, cities must foster better transport systems, better building technologies, better energy use and better urban planning.
“The United Nations family is fully committed to this cause -- especially through the work of UN-HABITAT and the United Nations Environment Programme,” he said. “This Centre has a key role to play, by training policymakers, municipal workers, the private sector and civil society.”