2021 Mayors’ Summit Concludes: New Normal Brings Digital Transformations in Cities
The 2021 Smart City Mayors’ Summit has been successfully concluded on Mar 24th in two sessions (on Mar. 23rd and 24th) with 24 city leaders or representatives from across 18 countries sharing how they respond to COVID-19 pandemic with smart technologies in the “New Normal”. Taipei City, represented by Mayor Wen-je Ko, and Deputy Mayor, Shan-shan Huang. This year, the Summit was held both physically in the conference room and virtually as an online livestreaming session. In total, the two sessions drew 264 registered participants from across 30 countries and reached over 2, 200 views as of today, allowing Taipei to spread its successful pandemic control experience to the global leaders in cities and create a new pattern for city diplomacy.
Taipei City Mayor Wen-je Ko stated that because of the effective pandemic control, the Smart City Mayors’ Summit was able to take place in online and offline form this year, inviting the representatives of foreign offices in Taiwan including from the UK, Netherlands, Canada, and Israel. City leaders and mayors from all over the world were gathered online to share their technological strategies adopted for economic recovery in response to the pandemic. At the Summit, Mayor Ko pointed out that the world is entering a very different era of New Normal, which is the critical timing for a digital transformation. Governments should take the lead in building up a digital platform to help businesses in this transformation, elevate citizen’s digital life quality, and motivate cross-border collaborations in social innovation and community thinking. Through the “Taipei Smart City Industry Field Pilot Program”, Taipei aims to construct a rich living lab ecosystem.
Taipei City Deputy Mayor Shan-shan Huang stressed that Taipei will continue to foster its digital infrastructure, such as the 5G network, big data center, and Taipei Pass App. In addition, the recognized online learning and touchless e-payment will be pillar applications in the policy-making during the new normal. She also mentioned that Taipei City is bonding with multiple cities worldwide this year, strengthening international networking and connection. For example, Taipei signed smart city collaboration MOU with the deputy mayor of City of Budapest, Hungary, the restatement of friendship agreement with sister city, Daegu, Republic of Korea, the tourism MOU with Lalitpur Metropolitan City, Nepal, and witnessing the ICT industrial collaboration MOU signing with City of Medellin, Colombia.
Commissioner Hsin-ke, Lu of Department of Information Technology expressed that the Mayor's Office for External Affairs invited foreign offices in Taiwan to this grand gathering. Representatives from Netherlands Office, British Office Canadian Trade Office and Israel Economic and Cultural Office all came to the Mayors’ Summit in person to deliver their remarks in terms of smart cities. Rene Beerepoot, Deputy Representative of Netherlands Office Taipei, said that Netherlands is facilitating city management with technologies such as 5G network, private-public partnership, citizen participation and etc., in order to deploy city’ policies in smart city development. Andrew Pittam, Deputy Representative of British Office, explained that the government is providing subsidies and legislation, i.e. the Bristol program, to support and invite businesses to the 5G living lab as their technological testbeds, and benefit citizens as the same time. Jordan Reeves, Executive Director of Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, mentioned how much he experienced the great convenience brought by Taipei’s smart city applications including EasyCard for public transportation and small-amount payment, as well as the autonomous bus drive on Xinyi Road. Omer Caspi, Representative of Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, on the other hand, addressed that the government has realized and dealing with the issues of slow development in smart healthcare and fintech by presenting a 265 project to expand its digital service, using digital tools and basic systems. Its capital, Tel Aviv, recently established a municipal innovation center, enhancing the quality of human resources, incubating innovative solutions, and introducing to the city as a living lab.
Mayor of Daegu, Taipei’s sister city in Republic of Korea, Kwon, Young-jin, explained Daegu’s active measures “New Deal” in pandemic era, in which the municipality invests US$10 billion in business recovery, building urban resilience, setting up smart city base, and nurturing digital talents to facilitate an industry transformation towards a Daegu Smart City 2.0. Compared to Daegu’s generous support programs, Gábor Kerpel-Fronius, Deputy Mayor of Budapest, Hungary, pointed out that while private sectors have been partnering with public sectors on developing smart applications in response measures, the central government is cutting down budgets in the post-pandemic era. Therefore, the city government has to find a low-cost and sustainable way to turn Budapest into a resilient city.
Another sister city of Taipei, City of Prague, was represented by Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, who delivered the city’s pillar policies such as open data and open database that the government has to release correctly and transparently to the public in order to fight against the fake news on vaccines or pandemic information. They even established an open system for people to find and go to their nearest testing station in a safe and fastest way. Daniel Quintero Calle, Mayor of Medellín, Colombia, stated that his government built a platform for local relief and subsidy plans, and provides more medical resources that save more time for people. The new community software center helps to offer better education resources and opportunities with the free high-level education programs for teens. City of Medellín also planned to work with businesses on the caring ecosystem, social support, family visits, and mental health, creating a livable eco-city connecting the whole urban space (More summaries of two roundtable sessions can be found in Attachment 1 and 2). Under the experience exchange among global cities, the 2021 Smart City Mayors’ Summit is expected to inspire more innovative services of smart cities in the future.
- Session I, 2021 Smart City Mayors’ Summit
- Session II, 2021 Smart City Mayors’ Summit
Pic 1. Taipei City Mayor Ko delivered a keynote speech at 2021 Smart City Mayors’ Summit
Pic 2. Taipei City Deputy Mayor Huang shared use cases with global leaders or representatives
Pic 3. Andrew Pittam, Deputy Representative of British Office (first on left), and Rene Beerepoot, Deputy Representative of Netherlands Office Taipei (first on right) attended the Mayors’ Summit in person.
Pic. 4. Jordan Reeves, Executive Director of Canadian Trade Office in Taipei(first on left), and Omer Caspi, Representative of Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei visited the Mayors’ Summit in person.
Pic 5. Taipei City government officials attended the Summit (from right to left: Mayor Ko, Deputy Mayor Huang, Commissioner Tom Chou for External Affairs, Mayor's Office, and Commissioner Hsin-ke, Lu, for the Department of Information Technolgy.
Pic 6. The 2021 Smart City Mayors’ Summit
Pic 7. Virtual group photo shooting at Session I, 2021 Mayors’ Summit: Mayor Wen-je Ko, of Taipei City, Deputy Mayor Shan-shan Huang of Taipei City, Deputy Representative Rene Beerepoot of Netherlands Office Taipei, Deputy Representative Andrew Pittam, of British Office, Mayor Kwon, Young-jin of Daegu, Republic of Korea, Executive Mayor Randall Williams of Tshwane, South Africa, Deputy Governor Jiří Snížek of Central Bohemia Region, Czech Republic, Vice President Anne-Marie JEAN of Eurométropole de Strasbourg, France, Mayor Roy M. Loyola, of Carmona, Cavite, the Philippines, Mayor Michael Kašpar of Town of Kolin, Czech Republic, Mayor Chiri Babu Maharjan of Lalitpur Metropolitan City, Nepal, Mayor Mahfooz Moussa CADER SAÏB of Port Louis, Republic of Mauritius, Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, of Prague, Czech Republic, Mayor Timothy Bowles of West of England, the UK, and Deputy Mayor Gábor Kerpel-Fronius of Budapest, Hungary
Pic 8. Virtual group photo shooting at Session I, 2021 Mayors’ Summit: Mayor Wen-je Ko, of Taipei City, Deputy Mayor Shan-shan Huang of Taipei City, Executive Director Jordan Reeves of Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, Representative Omer Caspi of Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, Mayor Oscar Rodríguez of Asunción, Paraguay, Mayor Sheran Palacio of Belmopan, Belize, Mayor Mike Hurley, of Burnaby, Canada, Mayor Joseph V. Schember of Erie, PA, the US, Mayor Lily Mei of Fremont, CA, the US, Mayor Val van den Broek of Langley, Canada, Mayor Daniel Quintero Calle of Medellín, Colombia, Mayor Grant Smith of Palmerston North, New Zealand, Mayor William Peduto of Pittsburgh, PA, the US, Mayor Javier Carballal of Punta del Este, Uruguay, Mayor W. Reed Gusciora, of Trenton, NJ, the US, Councillor Diane Calvert of Wellington, New Zealand, and Smart City Program Director Lillie Madali of Atlanta, GA, the US.