February 24, 2021
SEOUL – WeGO held its first-ever Activities Kickoff Event today, convening its members online to learn about its 2021 programs, celebrate the opening of its Regional Office (RO) in Abuja, and participate in a regional strategy development workshop. Over 100 participants in 31 countries from local governments and other public and private organizations countries attended the three-part online program.
The event started with the 2021 Briefing Session, which was conducted for the first time in 4 languages: Chinese, English, Korean, and Spanish. WeGO’s Secretary General Kyong-yul Lee opened the event by noting the significance of the expansion of the world’s virtual living space over last year and how WeGO is resolved to take advantage of this new landscape to better serve its members.
WeGO then held the opening ceremony for its Africa Regional Office, which is hosted by the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) in partnership with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Digizens Collaborative—also WeGO members.
Following congratulatory remarks by SG Lee, AMAC’s Executive Chairman Hon. Abdullahi Adamu Candido announced that through the new RO, Abuja is committed to ensuring that cities are resilient “to shocks such as the current pandemic, but also to the growing complex demands from urban housing, food security, public safety transportation, to mention a few, and to achieve the SDGs.” As the first RO in Africa, the ARO’s establishment signals WeGO’s commitment to further expand its services and support to the continent’s 55 nations.
The final segment of the day was the Regional Strategy Development Workshop. After a showcase of smart city best practice by Sejong City’s Smart City Director Minju Chang, the moderator of the workshop, UrbanDNA CEO Graham Colclough gave an overview of EU smart city initiatives, emphasizing the importance of region-specific strategies for smart city development.
This set the stage for the breakout discussions that followed, where participants from Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe/Mediterranean/Middle East, and Latin America discussed to identify key challenges and opportunities in their respective regions and assist WeGO in laying out regional plans for sustainable urban development.
Following the positive feedback received from the last part of the event, WeGO plans to continue regionally-based discussions to chart the organization’s strategy for closer cooperation on a geographic basis.
To rewatch any part of the WeGO 2021 Activities Kickoff or view the presentation material click here.