SINGAPORE: Twenty-six cities from the 10 ASEAN countries have been named pilot cities for the ASEAN Smart Cities Network, according to a concept note released by the regional bloc on Friday (Apr 27).
The concept note, released as leaders from the 10 countries meet in Singapore this week for the 32nd ASEAN Summit, outlines the proposal to establish the ASEAN Smart Cities Network.
An initiative spearheaded by Singapore, the network is envisioned as a collaborative platform where up to three cities per ASEAN country work towards a common goal of smart and sustainable urban development. Cities include Singapore, Johor Bahru, Phuket, Yangon, Phnom Penh and Vientiane.
In explaining the rationale for the network, the note cites the challenges of rapid urbanisation, and its implications on issues like city congestion, water and air quality. Technological and digital solutions can be used to resolve these issues and enhance quality and accessibility of services, it says.
Many ASEAN member states have already designated certain areas as smart cities or launched smart city projects, according to the note. The ASEAN Smart Cities Network will synergise these efforts and bring the smart cities together, “thereby contributing to ASEAN Community-building”.
CORE ELEMENTS OF THE ASEAN SMART CITIES NETWORK
Highlighting some of the core elements of the network, the note says that member cities will develop action plans specific to their cities. These action plans contain specific projects and actions that the member city will undertake from 2018 to 2025.
An ASEAN Smart Cities Framework will also be jointly crafted by member cities that will articulate the bloc’s definition of a smart city, outline key principles and identify core outcomes.
An initial draft of the framework was prepared by Singapore and circulated to member states last month. The aim is to get it endorsed at the first ASEAN Smart Cities Network meeting, slated to be in July. ASEAN leaders will adopt the framework at the 33rd ASEAN Summit in November.
As part of the framework, member cities can each pair up with one of ASEAN’s external partners to cooperate on smart cities development.
LEADERS COMMIT TO BUILDING RESILIENT, INNOVATIVE ASEAN IN FACE OF GROWING GLOBAL UNCERTAINTIES
At the Summit, the ASEAN leaders also released a vision statement that reiterates several key principles that underscored the grouping’s collective vision and commitment. This is in line with Singapore’s chairmanship themes of resilience and innovation.
According to the statement, the leaders recognise the increasing change and growing uncertainties in the global landscape, and are committed to building a resilient and innovative ASEAN that is able to “navigate these challenges in a coordinated, integrated and effective manner”.
Among other things, the leaders agree to commence work on an ASEAN Extradition Treaty to strengthen the grouping’s capacity to combat transnational crimes. They also agree to work actively towards the conclusion of an effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
The ASEAN leaders also released a separate statement on cybersecurity cooperation. In the statement, the leaders recognise that cybersecurity is a “cross-cutting issue” that requires coordinated expertise from multiple stakeholders from across different domains to address effectively, and notes that the cyber domain potentially represents an opportunity for “significant regional economic and technological development”.
Hence, they reaffirm the need to build closer cooperation and coordination with each other on cybersecurity policy development and capacity building initiatives.