2nd WeGO General Assembly Welcome Dinner Address
Date: November 12, 2012
Venue: Barcelona, Spain
I am Park Won Soon, president of WeGO and the mayor of Seoul. Honorable Mr. Xavier Trias i Vidal de Llobatera, mayor of Barcelona and host of tonight’s dinner, mayors and delegates from cities around the world who have joined us tonight to participate in the 2nd WeGo General Assembly, IT experts and representatives of UNPAN and the World Bank, it is a great honor to make your acquaintance this evening.
The World e-Governments Organization of Cities and Local Governments, or WeGO, held its inaugural assembly in 2010 based on the 2008 Mayors’ Forum and 2009 CIO Forum, and tomorrow, it will hold its 2nd General Assembly under the theme, “Smart Government with All”. I believe this has been made possible only through the passionate interest and support of the member cities.
It has been just over one year since I took office as the mayor of Seoul, and during the past year, I have endeavored to make the Seoul Metropolitan Government a “Smart Government”. First of all, I established “Information Disclosure 2.0,” which discloses the documents and meeting minutes of the Seoul Metropolitan Government. We also used smart technology to create the “Seoul Information Communication Square,” allowing us to quickly and efficiently disclose the city’s public data. In the past, this benefit was only granted to citizens who requested the disclosure of relevant information, but with the Seoul Information Communication Square, we have created a system through which we can share the city’s information without any citizen having to ask first.
On November 1, we installed the “Social Media Center” in Seoul. This is an initiative that seeks to change the paradigm of the city’s administration through smart technology-based social media, namely Twitter and Facebook. Citizen opinions submitted to the Social Media Center are immediately delivered to the relevant departments, and the entire process of discussion and resolution of an issue is open to all citizens. Last summer, Seoul suffered a serious weather event—a heavy downpour of 30 millimeters per hour. During this disaster, social media proved its worth. News of the situation was swiftly delivered through Twitter and Facebook, which triggered our disaster response system, enabling us to prevent significant damage. The Social Media Center accelerates the provision of customized administration services through direct communication with the citizens, and also promotes greater communication between the city and its people by actively incorporating their opinions. This process of communication will strengthen the citizens’ trust in our administration. In other words, “Smart Government” means “Reliable Government”.
I believe the building of trust through “Smart Government” also applies to the resolution of problems between cities. Our modern society is facing many problems that go beyond the boundaries of a single state or nation, calling for the entire world to work together to solve them. In contrast to cooperation between states, where historical issues and national interests make it hard to reach agreements, cooperation between cities is much more unhindered and efficient.
The key to resolving these rising urban issues and providing the kind of administration that our citizens demand is to build a network of cooperation and sharing among cities and make use of new, ever-advancing IT technology.
Through our meetings today and tomorrow, I hope you will all be able to start building this global inter-city network and strengthen your cities’ e-government capabilities.
I hope our meeting will be a memorable one and that you will take back with you beautiful memories of Barcelona. May you all have an enjoyable evening. Thank you.