June 17, 2021
SEOUL – This morning, WeGO held the Pre-workshop of the Latin America Smart Cities Network (LASCN), WeGO’s new initiative for the Latin American region (LATAM). This open-ended regional network of local governments in LATAM will not only serve as a platform for knowledge-exchange, but also to foster cooperation on smart city development in the region.
Around 100 participants participated in the hybrid event–around 80 online participants and a dozen embassy officials from LATAM countries at the event venue in Seoul–which aimed at introducing the LASCN initiative to interested stakeholders.
Several high-level officials from various cities in LATAM expressed their support for this initiative in the opening of the event, including Costa Rica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Rodolfo Solano Quirós, Brazil’s Minister of Science Technology and Innovation Marcos Pontes, São Paulo’s Secretary of International Relations Marta Suplicy, and Ecuadorian Embassy’s Chief of Mission & Charge d’Affaires Johnny Reinoso-Vásquez.
In the first session on the current status of smart city development in LATAM, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN ECLAC) provided an in-depth analysis of the current general trends and challenges. Speakers from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank presented the work that the respective organizations have been undertaking to facilitate the transition of local cities to smart cities through concrete programs.
Cities in the region were invited to present their most recent urban projects. Mexico City and São Paulo spoke about their efforts to digitalize their respective cities and how they are addressing issues of inclusiveness, connectivity, accessibility and big data management, Lima Municipality introduced their innovative e-commerce platform that allows SMEs to easily sell their products and services online, also as a way to curb challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the panel discussion, all speakers examined ways that the LASCN could facilitate their work and thus the smart city transformation of the region. They expressed the need for the platform to enable local governments to connect with each other to share experiences and similar projects, and to design programs that take into account the development gap between cities. As one of the initial activities, knowledge-sharing webinars on specific topics such as cybersecurity was proposed.
With the momentum gathered during this first event, WeGO will now start planning for the official launch of the LASCN–expected at the end of the year–while pursuing discussions with the relevant stakeholders.
Participants in the Pre-workshop are welcome to give their feedback in the post-event survey. WeGO is also willing to discuss with any interested stakeholders that fill in the contact form on the official webinar page here, where the webinar recording and slides can be found as well.