Home > Speeches > Closing Address by Minister for National Development and Minister-in-Charge of Social Services Integration Desmond Lee at World Cities Summit 2024 Mayors Forum on 02 June 2024

Closing Address by Minister for National Development and Minister-in-Charge of Social Services Integration Desmond Lee at World Cities Summit 2024 Mayors Forum on 02 June 2024


      I would like to first thank all of you, for the very active participation - your presentations, your interventions and most importantly, sharing your own experience, the projects, the challenges you faced, how you emerged from crisis, how you built resilience, and how you pulled communities together in your leadership of your city. I really enjoyed hearing from all of you, and learned a great deal from your sharing.

2      Special thanks also to Greg, as always, for your able stewardship of the discussion, and bringing the discourse from participants from every continent on this planet, as well as from many organisations, international, corporate and academic, into a good summary frame.

3      One key theme that struck me from listening to these examples, and also from the sharings, is our mission as city leaders is not just to do more, but to find ways to do things better - whether it is consultation, whether it is balancing our limited resources, whether it is competing with the unknowns, whether it is letting different voices participate and be heard. This is something that we should keep in mind as we go through the rest of WCS.

Learning from one another

4      But let me take the next few moments to encourage all of us to make the most of the opportunities at WCS. We had a good discission here at the Mayors Forum. The next few days will be chock full of engagements and sessions, and I will like all the mayors and governors to make the most of it.

5      First, let’s all keep learning. If there were solutions that stuck out today, I encourage you to follow up with the speaker to learn more about their path to success, reach out to them directly to connect. This is exactly one of the key objectives of our Mayors Forum – to enable cross pollination of ideas and build trust and relationship between leaders of different cities and different regions.

6      We will build on today’s conversations over the next two days of WCS.

      1. We have an exciting series of seminars and dialogues where industry experts, government leaders, academics, and many others, will be sharing valuable insights on solutions for sustainable finance, smart cities, and building cities for our people.
      2. Please also check out the Exhibition hall, where we have cities, corporates, innovators, and young start-ups from Singapore and around the world, who will be showcasing their latest technologies and solutions in person. Look out for ideas that you can bring back to your own cities.

7      So do make plans to attend the events and activities that will benefit you and your city. And if we can be helpful, please approach the Centre of Liveable Cities, we will be very happy to help curate something for you.

Connect with like-minded partners

8      Next, I encourage you to connect with like-minded partners. The brightest minds in urban development from all around the world, across public and private spheres of influence, as well as the research and academic spheres, are here under one roof to explore how we can rejuvenate, reinvent, and reimagine our cities.

9      So, my suggestion is to look out for who can help you in your city’s journey, or who you can help in their journey, and take time to connect with them in the white spaces, build relationships , and open the doors for long-lasting partnerships.

Take concrete action

10      Finally, let’s all move to action. Our work does not end with just learning and building connections. As city leaders, it is our responsibility to translate our discussions that we have taken from this forum and summit, and the partnerships we built into bold, concrete moves back home. There are other cities in other countries that have experimented and succeeded – let us take that and bring it back to our cities.

11      As many of us have shared, the common challenges that we face, like climate change, ageing population and so on, are immense. But so too is our collective capacity for innovation and action. We are city leaders but we are not just purely domestic. We have this platform to learn from others around the world.

      1. So I encourage you to take the valuable lessons that you will learn over the next few days back to your cities;
      2. Adapt it to your local context with your stakeholders;
      3. Bring in like-minded partners from this conference to help navigate challenges;
      4. And ultimately, take action to implement the solutions that will help to secure a sustainable future for your cities and people.

12      And perhaps you can share it at the next Mayors Forum!


13      Thank you all for your valuable insights and contributions to the Mayors Forum.

14      I would like to invite everyone to join us at next year’s Mayors Forum, the 14th edition, which will be held in the vibrant, historic and beautiful city of Vienna, Austria, the 2020 Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Laureate.

15      I hope to see you all again in Vienna next year. Thank you and enjoy the rest of WCS.