Seoul’s Mayor, Park Won-soon, has called for the creation of a new city network to facilitate global co-operation on responding to infectious diseases.
The proposal was put forward during a virtual meeting of mayors and governors from 42 cities around the world, as part of the Cities Against COVID-19 2020 (CAC2020) Summit. The event, hosted by the City of Seoul, is taking place online this week, attended by 120 participants including mayors, academics and other experts.
“Seoul proposes to build an inter-city network to brace for future disasters and infectious disease outbreaks with the joint efforts of our partner cities,” said Mayor Park.
The new organisation, tentatively named the Cities Alliance Against Pandemic (CAAP), would focus on earlier detection of infectious diseases; better information and resource-sharing between cities; and minimising barriers to inter-city travel and economic activity.
Participating mayors endorsed the establishment of the CAAP and jointly declared the Seoul Statement, Seoul Metropolitan Government said. The next steps for the alliance will be decided by the mayors in further meetings.
Some lockdown measures have recently been re-implemented in Seoul and other places in South Korea following spikes in new coronavirus infections. Overall, though, South Korea has been viewed as one of the leaders in handling the coronavirus crisis, although some uses of data have sparked debate about privacy. Seoul, which has a population of around 10 million people, has reported 916 coronavirus cases with four deaths to date.
Mayor Park put the capital’s relative success down to early and aggressive testing and tracing, and social distancing.
In April, Seoul launched the Cities Against COVID-19 website to share its policies and experience and to offer “a glimpse of hope” to cities which have been hit hard by the pandemic. Mayor Park said he hoped the website will enable more city-to-city communication and develop into a forum for “collective wisdom”.
Other leaders who participated in the Cities Against COVID-19 2020 summit, which ends tomorrow, include London Mayor, Sadiq Khan; Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan; Jakarta Governor, Annies Baswedan; and Moscow Mayor, Sergi Sobyanin.