Home > Speeches > Concluding Remarks by Minister Lawrence Wong at the World Cities Summit Mayors Forum Session 2

Concluding Remarks by Minister Lawrence Wong at the World Cities Summit Mayors Forum Session 2

Ladies and gentlemen, we have come to the end of yet another productive Mayors Forum. I want to thank all of you for your continued support of this event. Some of you are here for the first time; while many of you are repeat attendees. I am not sure if there is anyone who has been here since the first event – Mr Bart De Wever, Mayor of Antwerp has been with us for at least five years; I know Mr Park Won-soon, Mayor of Seoul has been coming for quite a number of years. We particularly thank you for your very strong support. For those of you who are with us for the first time, we certainly welcome you and look forward to your continued participation to help us grow this network of city leaders.

This year, we owe special thanks to Mayor Federico and his team for their very strong support of the event, their excellent arrangements, and their warm hospitality.

We started the World Cities Summit 10 years ago on the belief that urbanisation is a major trend – more and more people are going to live in cities, and how we organise ourselves in cities will be a major issue for countries and cities all over the world to grapple with. We should have the humility to acknowledge that none of us have all the answers, and we can all benefit by learning from each other’s experiences.

Year by year, as we organise this event, we have certainly benefited from the sharing by many cities. This year, the sharing by all the cities here have been very insightful, have certainly been inspirational, and the experience in Medellin shows us that there are concrete things that city leaders can do that can make a difference.

The topic of trust is an important one. It is wide ranging. As we discussed yesterday and today, there are many aspects of trust that we can talk about – be it inclusion, public engagement, climate action – a whole range of issues.

We have a declaration that we had endorsed earlier. The secretariat will also be working on a final report from this event, so that they can compile the many suggestions that have been given, and you can take back the final report as a summary of what we have discussed over the last two days.

From our conversations, I think it is very clear that trust is one of the most valuable assets in our society and our cities. To use military language, trust is a force multiplier. With trust, everything we have is amplified and enhanced. The work we do is enhanced tremendously. At the same time, we all recognise that trust takes time and effort to build. Trust is also easy to lose. Once it is lost, it is difficult to restore, so it is best not to lose it in the first place. Keep preserving it, safeguarding it, and build on the trust that you have year by year.

Doing that will take effort, but all of us have shown through the insights, the sharing and the experiences that as city leaders, there is a lot we can do to build trust. After all, cities are at the forefront of policy innovation and urban solutions. We have the tools and resources to make a difference in our respective cities. By doing so collectively, we can make an impact.

The work that we do, the declaration that we made, and the shared commitment that all of us have put together in the declaration to build high trust cities – these should give us confidence, especially as we look ahead and see the growing signs of division, fracture and even tensions between countries in the world that we live in.

I do not think I have to elaborate more on that. We all know the global issues that are before us. But what can give us hope and confidence is that no matter what happens in the world with geopolitics, at the city level, all of us – as city leaders – can continue to cooperate and demonstrate our ability to work together. By doing that, by making a difference in our own cities, cumulatively, we can all make an impact of shape a better future and a better world for our citizens.

On that note, I would like to thank all of you once again for your participation and invite all of you for next year’s Mayors Forum. It will be held in Singapore from 5 to 9 July 2020. If you are planning your schedules ahead, we welcome all of you to Singapore next year. In the year after, it will be held in Seoul. We can already look forward to an event in Seoul in 2021, because we alternate the events between Singapore and the winning city of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize. Beyond Seoul, it goes back to Singapore in 2022, and after that, it depends on who is the next winner of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize.

It is very heartening to see that, year by year, the network of city leaders and mayors is continuing to grow. This is the first time that we are having this event in Latin America. I am very happy to see such strong participation from city leaders in this part of the world. Next year, we are moving back to Asia and Singapore. It is a long way to travel. But just as I have travelled here, and many Asian leaders have travelled here, more than 30 hours, we hope you will travel to Singapore next year too; and maybe over time, we can have more flights between our regions so that we can be better connected and it is easier to access and travel to our respective cities.

On that note, thank you very much and we look forward to seeing you again. Thank you.