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Sunday, 26.05.2024
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With a new award kicking off this year, the World Smart Sustainable Cities Organization (WeGO) declared, Tuesday, that it will encourage and help cities around the world to adopt emerging technologies and help them do it.

At a conference in Seoul, the global smart city promotion organization said it has launched the Seoul Smart City Prize. The award is to recognize and showcase ongoing or planned smart city projects. The prize was launched jointly by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, which launched WeGO in 2010 with 50 member cities and has since been its chair city government.

The award program has been conceived to promote innovative and inclusive smart city models supporting the vulnerable in the digitalized era, according to WeGO.

Winners of the program will be acknowledged during the Seoul Smart City Prize Ceremony during the World Cities Summit (WCS) Mayors Forum 2023 to be hosted by Seoul. Recognized municipalities will also be given a chance to participate in a capacity-building training program designed to enhance human-centered city development.

The city government will demonstrate to the selected finalists how their projects would unfold in reality by conducting a feasibility study for each of the winning projects. The study includes a pilot program, triangular cooperation and a collaborative demonstration, based on development stages of the finalists' projects.

"It is undeniable that the fast digitalization we are experiencing is bringing numerous benefits to cities, but it also comes with new threats and challenges," WeGO Secretary-General Park Jung-sook said. "Our role is to prepare the decision makers to adapt to these inevitable changes, to create a global platform for knowledge and skills exchange and cross-collaboration. We are also determined to promote the importance of the concept of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) for smart city development."

Themed under "human-centered," the 2023 Activities Kick-Off Event at Seoul Global Center in downtown Seoul showed the organization will realize the theme by incorporating ESG's impact on smart city development.

Last year, the organization published the WeGO Smart Cities Index that analyzed member cities in terms of how "smart" their urban development has been so far by collecting local data from them. The findings, according to WeGO, enable the member cities to understand how well their smart concepts performed in terms of ESG. The report also prompted the cities to benchmark the world's best practices.

"The role of cities is tremendously important in all countries. We have to invest in them to help create smarter solutions to facilitate them better," said EU Ambassador to Korea Maria Castillo Fernandez, who attended the event. "Cities' international cooperation is key and that's what we have been doing in the last 10 years. For example, we have put together Rotterdam with Busan to introduce a better shared mobility and ports that are smart and sustainable. We have also put together Seoul and Dublin."

To better understand the smart city index in different cities in a more human-centered sense, WeGO has partnered with the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland. "With the people-centric index, WeGO member cities and partners can assess their development stages, benchmark their performances and study other cities," said the Seoul-based organization.

The exclusive event on Tuesday saw a list of guests from across the world. Kim Jin-man, director-general of Digital Policy Bureau under the Seoul city government, was among the dignitaries, as well as Seoul Smart City Prize Committee Chairman Yim Sung-bin and ambassadors from the UAE, the Philippines, Peru, Thailand and Kazakhstan.

WeGO, named after its original title of World e-Governments Organization, has been building up a global network in search of regional offices in Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Latin America. The regional offices ― Chengdu in China, Beyoglu in Turkey and Abuja in Nigeria ― are a "vital extension" to boost their global presence, according to the organization. The member cities and their representatives are to gather for the 7th WeGO General Assembly in 2026.


Autor(en)/Author(s): Ko Dong-hwan

Quelle/Source: The Korea Times, 21.02.2023

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