UCLG Secretary General Saiz to visit Daejeon to check preparations for 2022 UCLG World Congress

United Cities and Local Governments Secretary-General Emilia Saiz will visit the city of Daejeon to check preparations for the 2022 UCLG World Congress in October, the city government said Wednesday.

Saiz and other representatives from the UCLG will stay in South Korea from Sunday to April 7 to meet with the working group here to discuss detailed plans for the upcoming event and undertake field tours to inspect related venues.

The UCLG World Congress is a large-scale international event, through which around 1,000 city leaders from about 140 countries gather together to boost mutual cooperation and common prosperity among local governments.

The delegation will arrive Sunday and begin its official inspection tour on the day.

According to the Daejeon city government, representatives from UCLG will first meet with members of Daejeon’s organizing committee on April 4 to discuss the progress that the city made in preparing the event.

A picture shows the newly built Daejeon International Convention Center. (Daejeon City)
A picture shows the newly built Daejeon International Convention Center. (Daejeon City)

UCLG representatives will also make their visits to local venues that will be used during the event, including Daejeon International Convention Center and a newly built international convention center.

Daejeon decided to establish the new convention center after the city was announced as the host of the 2022 UCLG World Congress in 2022 and finished construction this month.

The UCLG members will also check nearby lodging facilities and the public transportation system required to accommodate visitors throughout the event.

On Tuesday, UCLG Secretary-General Saiz will meet with Daejeon Mayor Huh Tae-jung to discuss cooperation needed to advance preparations for the event that kicks off in six months.

It is the third time for Huh to meet with Saiz. Huh first met the secretary-general in November 2019 in Durban, South Africa, where Daejeon was selected as host of UCLG World Congress in 2022. Huh and Saiz also met in October 2021 in Barcelona, Spain, to sign an agreement related to hosting the international congress.

The delegation from UCLG will also check local cultural facilities and tourist attractions on April 5. Hanbat Arboretum, the Lee Ungno Museum and Expo Civic Square are some of the locations the representatives will visit.

The Daejeon city government said cultural facilities in Daejeon are ramping up their efforts to introduce new programs in line with the launch of the 2022 UCLG World Congress in October.

Lee Ungno Museum, for instance, is preparing a special exhibition to highlight the late artist Lee Ung-no’s major works of art and open the exhibition coinciding with the UCLG World Congress in October.

On April 6, the delegation will be invited to the border village Panmunjom, located in the Demilitarized Zone in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, as part of its gesture to promote peace.

According to the committee, it plans to allow distinguished guests to the UCLG World Congress to visit the DMZ during the event in October.

The Daejeon city government is also trying to invite representatives from North Korea to the UCLG World Congress, in cooperation with the Unification Ministry, although it is uncertain if North Korea will send its delegation to the event due to political and COVID-19 pandemic circumstances.

Daejeon also expects that the upcoming international event will work as an opportunity to strengthen the position of the city in the international community and contribute to vitalizing the local economy.

The forum, which will be in its seventh year, is anticipated to welcome around 5,000 visitors and generate an economic ripple effect of 60 billion won ($49.6 million).

The 2022 Daejeon UCLG World Congress is the largest-scale international event to be hosted in Daejeon since the Daejeon Expo in 1993.

The event comprises an opening event, the main conference, workshops, a town hall meeting and exhibitions. It will be held for five days and four nights at the Daejeon Convention Center and another international convention center that has been newly built.

Daejeon won the bid to host the 2022 UCLG World Congress in November 2019, when the previous forum was held in Durban.

In July 2020, the UCLG World Congress was given the green light by a review committee under the Ministry of Economy and Finance, making Daejeon eligible to receive financial and administrative incentives from the central government.

In July last year, authorities here launched an organizing committee to speed up planning and promotion of the event.

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