Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon was awarded Paris’ highest honor, Grand Vermeil, for his contributions to Seoul-Paris ties, the Seoul Metropolitan Government said Wednesday.
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon (left) poses for a photo with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo as he receives Grand Vermeil in Paris on Wednesday. (The Seoul Metropolitan Government)
The mayor became the first Korean politician to receive the prestigious honor given to political and cultural figures around the world, such as former President of Israel Shimon Peres and Karl Lagerfeld, creative director of fashion house Chanel.
Since 1911, the Council of Paris has been awarding the medal to figures who have contributed to building cooperative relationship with Paris or advancing the development of art, culture, or sports.
Seoul and Paris have been working closely especially in the environment sector, such as shaping policies for urban restoration and air quality improvement, the city government said.
Earlier this year in March, Seoul, Paris and London jointly announced the creation of a system to grade vehicles based on their emissions in real-life conditions, after growing uncertainty about automakers efforts to skirt rules intended to limit pollutants.
“Seoul and Paris share many things in common. Projects such as pedestrian-friendly roads and measures to fight climate change are what both of our cities eye on,” said Park as he received the medal.
Since both cities have a lot to learn from each other, programs such as employee exchanges can accelerate the development of the two cities, Park said.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who received an honorary citizenship of Seoul in October, will visit Seoul in February to get an insight from Seoul’s urban restoration projects. In 2014, Paris announced an urban restoration plan called “Reinventer Paris (Reinvent Paris)” to transform underutilized city spaces.
Park arrived in Paris on Tuesday to attend the One Planet Summit, marking the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement.
The summit is co-sponsored by the French government, the United Nations, and the World Bank. Park is attending as the district government representative and president of Local Governments of Sustainability, at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron.
During the summit, Park emphasized the most important part of responding to climate change is citizen participation, giving the example of the city government’s “2022 Solarcity Plan” which the city government announced last month that it will inject 1.7 trillion won ($1.5 billion) to ensure one out of three households in the city are equipped with solar panels in five years.
By Kim Da-sol (firstname.lastname@example.org