On 13 March 2023, the Geneva Cities Hub conducted two inspiring panel discussions, as the main organizing partner of the Mayors’ High-level Events at the WSIS Forum. The first event showcased concrete projects and scalable best practices of digital solutions for climate change adaptation and energy transition. The event provided the opportunity to hear directly from mayors about local achievements and enabled effective peer-to-peer learning.
The second event, the Mayors’ Interactive High-Level Dialogue with other stakeholders, focused on how to build resilient cities for better climate change adaptation and achieving the SDGs, while exploring synergies between the different levels of governance: local, sub-national, regional and global.
Speakers from different continents agreed that in order to harness the power of digital technology, we need to make sure that it is sustainable and inclusive. It is an important tool for local and regional governments (LRGs) to develop and offer efficient public services to their residents. Relevant international standards can contribute to provide citizens with user-friendly and environment-friendly local services.
Digital technology enables simulations of pro-active adaptations – be it a change in residents’ habits, new infrastructure development, consequences of climate change or disaster response. Real-time data reporting helps better measurement, which in turn enables more effective management and leads to impactful action.
The WSIS Forum 2023 provided a unique opportunity to exchange views about best practices, new technologies and innovations to advance smart development and discuss local and national experiences and best practices to identify and scale up relevant technologies and innovative solutions.
The discussion nurtured examples from local greenhouse gas emission reduction to setting a net zero carbon city target, from coastal area environmental challenges to building a smart canal project, and from initiating a digital detox day to turning e-waste management to local business opportunity. Common points among stakeholders were to put emphasis on inclusivity and trust, as well as joining forces to leaving no one digitally behind. LRG leaders need to embrace rapid change to be able to use the right tools to serve their local community.
We were excited to work with our distinguished partner WeGO to advance the participation and engagement of LRGs in multilateralism, especially on people-centred digitalization in cities. The Geneva Cities Hub follows a multistakeholder approach and promotes meaningful interaction with LRGs in this multilateral forum.
Thanks to all our exceptional speakers, Thomas Lamanauskas, Deputy Secretary General of ITU, Seizo Onoe, TBS Director, Raphaelle Veronica Ortega-David, Governor of La Union (Philippines), Marianne Alto, Mayor of Victoria (Canada), Susan Aitken, Leader of the Council, Glasgow (United Kingdom), Oh Se-hoon, Mayor of Seoul Metropolitan Government (South Korea), Sami Kanaan, Vice Mayor of Geneva (Switzerland), Eng. Nadhmi AlNasr, CEO of NEOM (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), Rodolphe Barbaroux, Advisor to the Mayor of Evian (France) and Jung Sook Park, Secretary General of WeGO.