On June 2, 2020, the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) held an online mayoral meeting as part of CAC Global Summit 2020, in which mayors of 42 international cities participated. Mayor Park Won Soon made his keynote speech “Seoul’ Proposal for Overcoming Urban Crises in the Pandemic Era” where he introduced “S-quarantine,” the disease control and prevention know-how of Seoul, and suggested the establishment of an organization of cities for joint response to infectious diseases. The tentative name of the organization is “Cities Alliance Against Pandemic” (CAAP). It will become the world’s first organization of municipal governments in the field of infectious diseases. The proposal aims at a preemptive response to pandemics, such as COVID-19, and the establishment of a pandemic-response model that can be applied to all member cities around the world.
Mayor Park Won Soon of Seoul along with mayors of other cities declared the “Seoul Statement ” as they agreed on the idea of establishing the CAAP (tentative name) and their roles in the organization. The Seoul Statement comprises key concepts, including the early detection and preemptive response to infectious diseases, the sharing information on infectious diseases and joint practices between municipal governments, the rapid support of human and material resources during crises of infectious diseases, people-to-people exchanges between cities to cultivate professional manpower to respond to infectious diseases, and free movement and support for economic activities between cities to overcome socioeconomic crises.
Mayor Park Won Soon introduced the concept and practice of “S-quarantine” used to respond to COVID-19 in three key phrases: rapidity, transparency and innovation; leadership in line with the central government as well as shrewd citizenship exhibited by social distancing and wearing masks; and solidarity and cooperation of the international community.
The SMG has since the conference opened the online Cities Against COVID-19 (CAC) platform to share the disease control and prevention policies as well as know-how of the SMG following the requests of other international cities. The SMG expects that CAC Global Summit 2020 as an online conference will become a strong momentum to reinforce the capacity of municipal governments to respond to infectious diseases.
Mayor Park Won Soon said, “Infectious diseases do not discriminate countries or races; outbreaks can occur anywhere and can be widely transmitted in any megacity,” and added that “I propose for the establishment of an organization comprising international cities to enable transparent disclosure of information and rapid support of human and material resources based on solidarity and cooperation. I expect it will become a necessary organization for the post-coronavirus era. The SMG will make ceaseless effort to work together with international cities to make safe urban environments for global citizens.”
June 2, 2020
Our Present Day
We are living in the era of cities. However, cities are now facing a crisis. With the global outbreak of COVID-19, citizens’ lives are under threat and the very existence of cities is at stake. Cities offered a place for civilization to be born and bloom, but now carries risks and danger. We, in each and every city, are striving hard to resolve our common task which is to overcome this crisis caused by coronavirus.
Witnessing the worldwide transmission of COVID-19, we reaffirmed the fact that viruses know no border or race and that they are highly infectious in cities where numerous people live in close quarters.
We aim to build cities where citizens can lead a safe and healthy life under the safeguard of prompt responses to and thorough prevention from infectious diseases. It will help us find the key to addressing an infectious disease when cities around the world precisely design a disease control manual together, implement organized preventive measures, and strengthen city resident’s capabilities to deal with infectious diseases based on the well-placed public healthcare system while sharing each city’s experiences built up over the course.
We agree that solidarity and cooperation among municipal governments is the most effective way to respond to an infectious disease. Today, we, at the Mayoral Meeting of the Cities Against COVID-19 (CAC) Global Summit 2020, share countermeasures to infectious diseases and ultimately wish to build a healthy city through unwavering city-to-city cooperation.
An unknown path is about to unfold ahead of us. This path will lead us to a world where we have to learn how to live with viruses. It surely is not an easy one to take, but we believe that only if we take a step on the path with our hands joined together, the path will be explored rather safely.
Proposal for Building an Intercity Network
Understanding a general agreement on the necessity of city-to-city solidarity, we wish to build an intercity network which enables prompt joint responses to emerging infectious diseases in an effort to:
1. Detect an infectious disease at an early stage and cooperate on preemptive responses.
2. Share information on an infectious disease with the partner cities and make efforts for joint practice.
3. Provide human/material resource support to the partner cities upon the outbreak of an infectious disease.
4. Cooperate in the people-to-people exchanges to nurture a specialized workforce fighting against an infectious disease.
5. Reduce barriers to travel and economic activities between cities to overcome socioeconomic crises caused by an infectious disease.