Recently, it has been announced that the Seoul Metropolitan Government has signed Memorandum of Understanding with the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Asia and the Pacific on 2 May to not only encourage the adoption of, but also implement the city’s best
innovation policies in developing Asian cities.
Prior to this, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the
UNDP in Asia and the Pacific had jointly adopted the Seoul Communique and
developed the City I-Leaps program in June 2016 to provide novel ideas to
address issues caused by rapid development.
City I-Leaps enabled South Korea to “share (Korea’s) experiences to benefit others” by leveraging on the fact that “Seoul has
emerged at the forefront of social innovation in urban governance”, said Park
Won-soon, the mayor of the Seoul Metropolitan Government at the launch of the
program in June 2016.
In order to gauge interest in the program, the Seoul
Metropolitan has since held Urban Innovation Exchange Workshops in preparation
for the gradual implementation of pilot projects under the “City I-Leaps”
In addition to the MoU, the Seoul Metropolitan Government
and the UNDP in Asia and the Pacific have also agreed upon three beneficiary
cities — Makassar in Indonesia, Hulhumale in the Maldives and Colombo in Sri
Lanka — that will serve as testbeds for pilot projects. The Seoul Metropolitan
Government plans to send urban development experts to each of these beneficiary
cities so that ideas and solutions can be better tailored to suit the unique
needs and challenges faced by each beneficiary city.
Recent successes in some beneficiary cities have already caught the
attention of other developing Asian cities seeking an opportunity to learn from
According to Paavani Reddy, a governance specialist at the UNDP in Asia and the
Pacific tasked with the City I-Leaps program,
“(the) successful case (of Makassar in Indonesia) is drawing great
attention from other Asian cities such as Colombo in Sri Lanka and Chandigarh
in India”, with many interested participants enquiring about joint workshops
and consultative support.
City I-Leaps seeks to not only promote urban innovation
via projects on local governance and innovation, but also foster stronger
collaboration and know-how in design and systems thinking among policymakers.
With the joint MoU between the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the UNDP in
Asia and the Pacific, it is expected that both parties will strengthen
cooperation in knowledge dissemination and programme outreach, further
expanding the impact of the City I-Leaps program.