Smart city leaders discuss human-centered urban development – The Korea Times

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Park Jung-sook, left, secretary-general of the World Smart Sustainable Cities Organization (WeGO), and Doreen Bogdan-Martin, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), pose during an event at Geneva International Conference Center, Switzerland, Tuesday. Courtesy of WeGO

Global city leaders and experts met in Geneva, Tuesday, to discuss people-centered and climate-resilient urban development, highlighting the importance of aligning smart city initiatives with the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, safeguarding human rights, enhancing social inclusion and advancing climate resilience strategies.

At Smart City Leaders’ Talk, a high-level event co-organized by the World Smart Sustainable Cities Organization (WeGO) and Global Cities Hub (GCH), multiple speakers including International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Deputy Secretary General Tomas Lamanauskas and Peggy Hicks, director of Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), talked about the role of international organizations in smart city development.

City mayors from around the globe shared ideas on the importance of robust infrastructure and digital inclusion as foundational elements for successful smart city projects.

“The journey toward building human-centered smart cities is a collective endeavor that requires vision, collaboration and a steadfast commitment to the well-being of all citizens,” WeGO Secretary-General Park Jung-sook said.

In a separate session called Citiverse: Envisioning, Inclusive, Sustainable, and People-centered Cities, co-hosted by the WeGO and the ITU, attendees discussed how innovations in digital connectivity can create inclusive, sustainable and participatory cities.

Doreen Bogdan-Martin, secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), speaks during an event held in Geneva, Switzerland. Courtesy of WeGO

The session also featured keynote speeches from distinguished leaders including Theo Blackwell, chief digital officer of London, Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, mayor of Dhaka South in Bangladesh, and Manuel de Araujo, mayor of Quelimane City in Mozambique.

This session set a new direction for the future of smart cities, elaborating on the need for technologies that prioritize human-centeredness and sustainability within the digital realm.

City mayors and experts also participated in a closed-door dialogue hosted by U.N.-Habitat to develop the International Guidelines on People-centered Smart Cities. The dialogue presented a platform for leaders to share their experiences and provide strategic input on fostering smart cities that prioritize people and communities.

Led by Kazumi Ogawa, the principle coordination officer of U.N.-Habitat, and Andras Szorenyi, the senior policy adviser of the GCH, participants exchanged ideas on enhancing digital capacities within the public and private sectors, leveraging digital technologies for citizen engagement and empowering local governments to spearhead people-centered smart city initiatives.

Additionally, a network of women ministers and leaders in ICT convened for a breakfast meeting, where they discussed their experiences as female leaders in male-dominated fields. The key message emphasized the importance of empowering women through mutual support and uplifting female counterparts worldwide.

Meanwhile, Sami Kanaan, deputy mayor of Geneva and president of the GCH, highlighted Geneva’s commitment to sustainable urban development and international cooperation, and emphasized Geneva’s readiness to support the global movement towards sustainable and equitable smart city development.