Whereas May has traditionally been a month to enjoy plenty of special days in South Korea (parents'day children day, black day), including Buddha's Birthday, it seems it has also become a month to organize a plethora of global conferences that are sometimes overlapping each other.
Following the ICLEI World Congress 2015 in Seoul and the 7th World Water Forum in Daegu and Gyeongju in April 2015, (too) many global events dedicated to sustainable development took place in May 2015 in South Korea.
Here is a selection of those arguably not-to-be-missed gatherings, provided you received an invitation or any information in English about it
Global Education Forum 2015 19-22 May 2015, Incheon. Equitable and inclusive quality education and lifelong learning for all by 2030. Transforming lives through education.
6th Asian Leadership Conference May 19-20 2015, Seoul. 70th Anniversary of the End of World War II: Commemorating the Past, Celebrating the Future. New Forces Reshaping Our Lives
10th Jeju Forum for Peace and Posperity May 20-22 2015, Jeju. Towards a New Asia of Trust and Harmony
Now let's mention some events that, in spite of their excellent speakers and contents, have not been properly promoted and/or have not attracted a wider audience.
The 4th Green Asia Forum, May 12 2015, Seoul. Co-hosted by the Korea Green Foundation, the Seoul National University and Goldman Environmental Foundation.
In preparation for the upcoming adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in September this, and the 21st UN Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in November and December, this 2015 GAF brought together grassroots environmental activists from all over Asia and other continents under the theme
Climate Change and Energy Transition in Asia to discuss the necessity for a transition to sustainable energy sources in a effort to address climate change. All in all, the event was well organized with interesting presentations and speeches, but I hope it is better promoted next time so that more foreigners can attend it.
The Seoul Financing for Sustainable Development Forum, May 18 2015, Seoul. Co-hosted by the he Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
The one-day Forum included three sessions on 'Global framework for financing the sustainable development goals: How can public and private finance be mobilized to ensure high-quality education for all?', 'Global Climate Financing: How can climate finance be mobilized and directed towards the places of need?', and 'New Donors in New Global Development Landscape: How to coordinate old and new partners with consistent global development system'.
Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and Special Advisor of the UN SG, delivered a keynote speech at the special session on Global Framework for Financing the Sustainable Development Goals. Prof. Sachs praised the extraordinary socio-economic development of South Korea over the last decades, through significant investments in education. He suggested that the country takes the lead for the establishment of a Global Fund for Education.
South Korea already hosts the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), and the Green Climate Fund.
Unfortunately, this event did not attract such a wide audience for many reasons, the first one being an obvious lack of promotion. It is also possible that the Forum has been cannibalized by concurrent events but then again, how can you choose something that you are not aware of? I believe all sustainable events should also focus on audience and not only speakers.
I was lucky enough to get a seat at at a table that was apparently reserved for bankers and investors, since that table was, sadly enough, almost empty.
But as Prof Sachs rightly says, cynicism should not be allowed, especially when it comes to global poverty elimination and sustainable development.
As a Communication Specialist, I believe it is my duty to promote such events and initiatives, as actively as positively. But please, sustainable event planners, don't retain information!