December 9, 2020
Seoul – WeGO hosted the Northeast Asia Smart Cities Network (NEASCN) Online Pre-Workshop in preparation for an Inaugural Meeting of the network in 2021 and showcased a foretaste of NEASCN in its mobilization of stakeholders to envisage bankable and sustainable smart city action plans. The event enjoyed live participation through Zoom and YouTube of more than 150 national and local governments, institutional representatives from across regions within and outside Northeast Asia.
WeGO’s Program Manager kicked-off the workshop by introducing WeGO and its flagship programs, including WeGO’s vision for the establishment of NEASCN which is envisioned to spearhead bankable and sustainable smart city initiatives within Northeast Asia through expansive partnerships.
Network partners of WeGO each representing a region of Northeast Asia, Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS), Union of Russian Cities (URC), Healthy Cities Network of Mongolia (HCNM), and Korea Land and Housing Corporation (LH), and Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC), opened the first session and discussed how to promote knowledge exchange and cooperation through prospective partnerships in NEASCN. The representatives showcased the current smart city initiatives led by the municipalities in Northeast Asia and suggested probable collaboration prior to its official establishment of NEASCN. On top of this, CLC also shared valuable insights gained through its involvement in establishing ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) and highlighted the importance of active national or city level communications, an inclusive guiding framework, and a sound ecosystem for the management and evaluation of the network.
With a thematic focus on local governments’ smart city initiatives and project financing, the second session prompted discussions among speakers from Shanghai Municipality, ICLEI East Asia Secretariat (ICLEI), Future Consensus Institute (Yeosijae), Hananuri Academy of Northeast Asian Studies, Choson Exchange, as well as with experts from the financial sector including Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) and Asian Development Bank (ADB). Smart and sustainability were echoed in various ways as each region prioritized people-centered, livable, and environmentally conscious development in a range of areas such as transportation, air quality, and tourism through smart technologies. In the discussions, speakers touched upon the challenges and opportunities of smart city projects in terms of the region’s access to fundings and emphasized how the readiness and commitment of local governments play a crucial role.
At the end of the online workshop, WeGO introduced the NEASCN Task Force, which aims at developing a framework including key functions and membership-guiding principles for the network and clarified the next steps to identify partners, enhance engagement, and organize programs in line with the specific contexts of each stakeholder towards the Inaugural Meeting of NEASCN scheduled for 2021.