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Global Mayors and City Leaders to Discuss Building An Inclusive and Resilient Future

15 September 2023 --- The 12th World Cities Summit (WCS) Mayors Forum will be held in Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 24 to 26 September 2023. The city of Seoul was named the 2018 Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Laureate and will host the event. The event will bring together about 200 participants from around the world, including mayors and city leaders from around 50 cities and regions, and senior leaders from the industry and international organisations. 

2 The Forum will be chaired by Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for National Development and Minister-in-Charge of Social Services Integration, Singapore. He will deliver the opening and closing addresses on 25 and 26 September 2023. The host city will be represented by Mr Oh Se-hoon, Mayor of Seoul, who will be delivering his opening remarks on 25 September 2023. 

Liveable and Sustainable Cities: Forging an Inclusive and Resilient Future

3 The theme for the WCS Mayors Forum 2023 is Liveable and Sustainable Cities: Forging an Inclusive and Resilient Future. As cities strive towards urban development and economic success, it is imperative that we maintain inclusivity in our society, leaving no one behind, particularly the under-privileged. Through interactive sessions, participants will engage in in-depth discussions on four subthemes: 

a) How can Mayors forge inclusive societies and empower communities?
b) The Soul of the City: how can Mayors conserve culture and heritage?
c) How can Mayors accelerate de-carbonisation and strengthen climate resilience?
d) How can Mayors facilitate and promote innovation and creativity?

More information on the theme and subthemes may be found in Annex A

4 Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for National Development and Minister-in-charge of Social Services Integration, Singapore, and Chair of WCS Mayors Forum 2023, said, “WCS Mayors Forum 2023 in Seoul marks the first Mayors Forum to be held outside of Singapore since the pandemic. While the worst of COVID-19 is now behind us, many cities around the world are still grappling with long-term challenges, including inflation, and the consequential effects of the pandemic, which have exacerbated disparities within our communities. The theme of this year’s Forum is a call to action for cities to think about how we can build cities that promote inclusivity and innovation, while safeguarding our culture, heritage and even existence for future generations. The Mayors Forum is a unique opportunity for cities from around the world to gather, to engage in a robust exchange of knowledge and ideas, and to address the challenges ahead in a collaborative spirit.”

5 As an annual convening for city leaders from around the world, this year’s Forum will be attended by cities which include:  

From Asia – Bandar Seri Begawan, Dhaka, Ho Chi Minh City, Johor Bahru, Makassar, Manila, Medan, Phnom Penh, Sanya, Seoul (host city), Singapore (organiser), Suzhou, Taipei City, Taoyuan City
From Europe – Antwerp, Bilbao, Odense, Tallinn, Vienna 
From Africa – Gaborone City
From the Americas – Bogota, Sao Paulo, Soacha
From Oceania – Brisbane, Christchurch, Wellington
From the Middle East – Al-Madinah, Hebron

6 Notable speakers and participants include:  

Ms Ana Cristina da Cunha Wanzeler, Vice-Secretary of International Affairs, Sao Paulo
Mr Austin Abraham, Mayor, Garborone
Dato’ Dr Badrul Hisham, Chief Executive of Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA)
Mr Chiang Wan-an, Mayor of Taipei City
Mr Daithí de Róiste, Lord Mayor of Dublin 
Mr Desmond Choo, Mayor, North East District, Singapore
Ms Els Van Doesburg, Vice Mayor, Antwerp
Mr Erion Veliaj, Mayor, Tirana
Ms Ji Jing, Vice Mayor, Suzhou (2014 Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Laureate)
Ms Low Yen Ling, Mayor, South West District, Singapore
Mr Mihhail Kõlvart, Mayor, Tallinn
Mr Peter Hanke, Executive City Councillor of Finance, Business, Labour, International Affairs and Vienna Public Utilities, Vienna (2020 Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Laureate)
Mr Phan Van Mai, People’s Committee Chairman, Ho Chi Minh City
Mr Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, Mayor, Dhaka South City Corporation
Ms Tory Whanau, Mayor, Wellington

Other notable speakers and attendees may be found in Annex B.

Programme Highlights

7 The host city, Seoul, has planned for two site visits for participants to experience first-hand Seoul’s urban transformation, especially in urban revitalisation and reinvention, as well as resilience through the city’s identity – a combination of traditional, modern and future. Venues include the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Art, showcasing urban and architectural projects concerning land environment and culture, and the Cheonggyecheon Museum detailing the restoration of Cheonggyecheon (Cheonggye stream), which runs past the Mayors Forum venue at Dongadaemun Design Plaza (DDP).  Please see details in Annex C. 

8 The Seoul-Singapore Exhibition will showcase existing and planned policies and projects from the two cities, which focus on the central theme of building an inclusive and resilient future. The efforts of both cities will be showcased through an integrated exhibition which provides the visitor an immersive walk-through experience. The Singapore section of the exhibition features various projects under the sub-sections “Inclusive Singapore” (Queensway Canopy), “Distinctive and Endearing Singapore” (Business Improvement District (BID) programme), “Adaptable and Resilient Singapore” (Punggol Digital District), and “Sustainable City” (SG Green Plan).

9 The Centre for Liveable Cities will launch the 23rd edition of Urban Solutions at the WCS Mayors Forum. This bi-annual publication aims to equip and inspire city leaders, practitioners and allied professionals to make cities more liveable and sustainable. Urban Solutions #23 is themed “Inclusive Smart Cities”, as aligned with the WCS Mayors Forum 2023 theme. Details of the publication is in Annex D.

More details on the WCS Mayors Forum 2023 may be found on our website https://www.worldcitiessummit.com.sg/wcs-mayors-forum-2023. The programme outline for World Cities Summit Mayors Forum 2023 is in Annex E.