February 12, 2020
ABU DHABI – WeGO took the stage at three UN-organized sessions on sustainable and inclusive urban development and the SDGs, to share its contributions to smart cities and broaden its international network, at the 10th World Urban Forum (WUF10) held February 9-12 in Abu Dhabi.
Over 18,000 attendees from around the globe gathered at the world’s premier conference on cities, organized by UN-Habitat and hosted this year by WeGO member Abu Dhabi. The theme of the event focused on harnessing culture and innovation as drivers of sustainable urban development to achieve the New Urban Agenda and SDGs by 2030.
In a panel discussion led by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) to review the key outcomes of the 7th Asia-Pacific Urban Forum, a regional offshoot of WUF, WeGO emphasized the importance of national and regional smart city networks such as the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) for localization of the SDGs. Cities in the audience were encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities provided by WeGO to benchmark the best practice of cities such as Seoul, and to develop their own smart city action plans in partnership with the range of public- and private-sector stakeholders brought to the table by WeGO.
In another session organized by the UN Office for Sustainable Development (UNOSD), WeGO presented on how it supports inclusivity and smart tech through its activities, products, and services tailored to the needs of cities in the Global South, and other programs such as its co-organized annual startup competition Citypreneurs. Local officials in the audience from cities across Africa expressed interest in working with WeGO, and continued one-on-one consultations at the organization’s booth in the exhibition hall.
Among several new flagship programs announced by UN-Habitat at WUF10 was one on “People-focused Smart Cities,” which aims to raise USD 10 million in funding and USD 1 billion from MDBs and the private sector over the next 8-10 years to establish a multi-stakeholder digital urban innovation fund toward investments in bankable projects. At its launch, WeGO declared its full support for the program, and pledged to mobilize its own network to finance and carry out smart city projects, as well as to contribute through capacity building training programs and knowledge resources.
On the sidelines of WUF10, WeGO reconnected with members Abu Dhabi—a founding member in 2010; Brussels Capital Region—with which it co-organized a smart city symposium last year in Seoul; Kampala—beneficiary of last year’s feasibility study and pilot project on smart parking; and Moscow—with which it discussed ways to support the upcoming Moscow Urban Forum.
WeGO also strengthened current and prospective partnerships with Citynet; Fira Barcelona—organizer of the Smart City Expo World Congress—and its new initiative Tomorrow City; Global Resilient Cities Network—known for its 100 Resilient Cities; Metropolis; and the Smart City Institute Japan, among others.