SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, May 3, 2018 – The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) and the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) in Asia and the Pacific signed a memorandum of understanding, May 2, to promote and export the city’s best innovation policies to developing Asian cities.
The agreement came after the Seoul Communique jointly adopted by the SMG and the UNDP in Asia and the Pacific in June 2016 to establish the “City-I-Leaps,” an initiative that will engage and support cities and local governments in other Asia cities seeking innovative solutions to solve urban problems caused by rapid development. Since then, Seoul has prepared for the City-I-Leaps’ establishment while holding the Urban Innovation Exchange Workshop to confirm Asian cities’ desires to learn about Seoul’s best innovation cases.
Many Asian cities are paying special attentions on Seoul because the city has achieved a successful implementation of the administrative innovation that combines with social innovation, and gained accumulative experiences in dealing with various urban problems in the face of rapid development for the past 50 years.
The SMG and the UNDP in Asia and the Pacific concluded an agreement to pick up three cities in Asia that seek for innovative policies to solve their urban problems, and to apply Seoul’s best policies as a pilot project to beneficiary cities. They include Makassar (Indonesia), Hulhumale (Maldives), and Colombo (Sri Lanka).
Seoul will dispatch experts to each of the three cities so that they are able to customize Seoul’s policy know-hows to each city’s situation. The specific areas Seoul will support are the public transportation system improvement for Macassar; smart city for Male; and efficient public administration service development for Colombo. Detailed implementation plans will be made in cooperation of the UNDP’s each country office.
Paavani Reddy, a governance specialist at UNDP in Asia and the Pacific, who is responsible for the City-I-Leaps project, said, “In case of Makassar, we have made remarkable achievements in pilot projects for the last one year.” She added, “This successful case is drawing great attentions from other Asian cities, such as Colombo of Sri Lanka and Chandigarh of India. They are asking how to join the City-I-Leaps project, and also requesting for joint workshops and consulting supports.”
Makasar has a great lack of public transportation, so it is facing serious traffic problems. Most of commuters there use a private mini bus called “Pete-Pete.” As a preliminary pilot project for Macassar, Seoul made an analysis of complex public transportation systems and did experiments to create a user-friendly and smart public transportation system. As a result, it started providing smart transport services to 101 students from seven schools since May 2017, and it is now expanding the services throughout the city.
Meanwhile, Hulhumale of Maldives is seeking to develop citizen-centered services to become a smart city; and Sri Lanka’s Colombo is keenly interested in developing more efficient public services, including establishing an innovation research institute to induce social innovation.