Mayor Oh Se-hoon issues blanket invitation to Seoul
SINGAPORE — At the World Cities Summit (WCS) in Singapore, Mayor Oh Se-hoon described Seoul’s vision for digitalization and decarbonization, and invited mayors around the world to next year’s Mayors Forum in Seoul.
Oh attended the WCS at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Center in Singapore on Sunday and Monday.
The biennial Summit is a platform for government leaders to address urban challenges, share solutions and forge partnerships to create better cities.
In 2018, Seoul won the fifth Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, sometimes called the Nobel Prize for cities, and will be the host of the WCS Mayors Forum (WCSMF) next year. The WCSMF is a program organized along the sidelines of the Summit every year.
On Sunday, Oh attended the WCSMF as a guest speaker and delivered a speech on this year’s agenda of digitalization and decarbonization. Through a seven-minute English presentation, he introduced his city’s vision for “people-oriented digital connectivity” and “decarbonization in solidarity with the world.”
“As we all know, the world, as a whole, is standing at a significant turning point in history,” Oh said.
“They will no longer be able to thrive with the existing growth formulas, especially in light of the fast-growing digital transformation, the climate change crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and many other challenges,” he said.
Stressing that the ultimate goal of digitalization is to “further improve connectivity,” Oh introduced Metaverse Seoul, a metaverse platform for administrative services without time and space constraints; transportation policies based on big data and AI technologies; and Seoul Learn, a program that bridges the education gap.
On decarbonization, Oh said, “Since all of us are part of a global community, we share the same fate and destiny in the face of the climate crisis.”
Seoul announced its goal to cut 30 percent of the city’s emissions by 2026 and complete decarbonization by 2050, and plans to renovate old buildings into low-carbon buildings and new buildings to be built with mandatory zero-energy designs.
“Korea has achieved remarkable growth over the years,” said Oh.
“Unfortunately,” he added, “this rapid growth has also caused severe polarization in society — the gap between the rich and the poor has become wider than ever before.
“That is why the Seoul Metropolitan Government is placing top priority on ‘going together with the vulnerable,' and is pursuing various policies to support the underprivileged,” Oh noted.
To representatives of some 90 cities and from international organizations, the Seoul mayor introduced his Safety Income program, which guarantees a minimum income for households below the median income; the Seoul Learn project, which offers online lectures for teenagers for free; and high-quality public housing that erases discrimination against tenants.
After the forum, Oh met with Michael Ludwig, the mayor and governor of Vienna, and Mihhail Kõlvart, the mayor of Tallinn in Estonia, and discussed policies.
“During the summit, city leaders shared various concerns and I gained insights on how to create a better city to live in,” Oh said.
“I will make every effort to successfully hold the WCSMF next year under the main theme of [Seoul’s slogan] ‘Going together with the vulnerable,’” Oh added.
"Seoul is a beautiful city," Low Yen Ling, the minister of State at Singapore's Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, told the Korea JoongAng Daily. "You can not see only from the video but also from Mayor's Oh's delivery, I think it was very passionate.
"Seoul is a very deserving winner of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize. So all the mayors have been looking forward to going to Seoul for the WCS, and I’m glad that’s going to happen next year," she added.
Regarding bilateral relations between Seoul and Singapore, Low said, "The global economic weight is shifting to Asia now, and I think there’s so much we can do together by strengthening our collaborations on all levels — from business, investment, trade, and relationship between people to people."
"We all face similar challenges, like the greatest collective action problem of our time in climate change," said Fiona Argyle, the mayor of Nedlands in Australia.
"I know that Seoul City is going to have different things," Argyle said. "It’s very important for me to come to Korea, and I know that I'll learn so much."
BY SEO JI-EUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]