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Youths do their part for global governance

By Cao Chen | | Updated: 2021-08-03 17:33
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The team led by Takudzwa Duncan Maluwa from Zimbabwe, an undergraduate in international relations from Beijing International Studies University (far right)  was awarded the only Most Valuable Project. [Photo provided to]

The Rong Chang Cup Youth Innovation Competition on Global Governance in Zhejiang province's Huzhou came to a close on July 31.

Co-organized by Fudan University, the Huzhou government, Shanghai Rongchang Charity Foundation and the Shanghai International Culture Association, the competition featured six teams of 74 contestants from 27 countries who conducted field research in Huzhou, analyzed smart city governance models, and presented solutions for better city governance to judges.

Among the contestants was Duncan Maluwa and his five other team members from China, Cameroon, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. The team proposed a city-level crisis management platform that integrates social resources through technologies to tackle emergencies.

The proposal was awarded the Most Valuable Project award.

"Most people expect smart cities to be all about advanced technology and infrastructure, but they downplay the need for crisis management," said Maluwa, a Zimbabwean who is currently an undergraduate in international relations at the Beijing International Studies University.

In their final proposal, Maluwa's team looked into problems faced by some cities where residents are overly dependent on the government. These problems include inadequate social participation, infrastructure that is not resilient to crises, lack of economic backup and late response and recovery during a crisis.

"Global smart cities are facing challenges, ranging from too much dependence on technology, climate changes, to aging problems. How would cities adapt to these problems? It's difficult to mobilize the government and the society to work hand in hand to quickly respond to emergencies," he said.

To make the smart cities more comfortable for citizens, the team put forward a crisis management platform covering three stages: before, during and post crisis.

"Before a crisis, cities should set some money aside, set up an online economy that allows citizens, enterprises, and NGOs under the leadership of the government to coordinate. During a crisis, there should be quick response and citizens should not wait for the government to come and help them. They can work with the government and mobilize aid from the society," he explained.

"The post crisis period is tricky, as most cities need time to recover, but a smart city must have a resilient system as a basis. It's necessary to educate people on the importance of smart cities and society-government cooperation. Through the competition, I realize that we are one world that needs to be united for a better tomorrow," he added.

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