UCLG-MEWA Congress was held on 9-10 July 2019, hosted by Greater Amman Municipality, former President of UCLG-MEWA Committee on Smart Cities. One of the eight sessions held during the Congress focused on “The Challenges and Opportunities for Big Data and Open Data for Local Governments”.

In the thematic panel held on 9 July 2019, the first day of the Congress, big data and open data were discussed in all aspects. The panel was held on the basis of the fact that the growing world population and the correspondingly increasing data constitute a difficult area for local governments to manage. In this respect, the panel aimed to reflect on these concepts, which are quite new for many municipalities, and to share the studies carried out in this field. In the panel, which included academicians, international organizations and local government representatives; examples of good practice in this field, especially big data and open data terminology, advantages and disadvantages of using open data were examined. Eugeni Villalbí i Godes from Metropolis Observatory, moderator of the panel, started by highlighting the importance of the issue for local governments.

The first speaker of the panel, Prof. Dr. Sema Fatma Oktuğ, Dean of Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Computer and Informatics, drew attention to the importance of privacy in data storage and sharing works after thanking the UCLG-MEWA family. Afterwards, Dr. Safaa Karaki Aldwaikas, Ramallah Municipality IT Manager, mentioned that digital solution proposals will be a facilitating role for municipalities in building sustainable systems. Jomana Attyat, Executive Manager of Smart Cities for Arab Forum, gave a speech on the necessity of forming a strategy on this axis and the necessity of implementing these strategies. The last speaker, Sultan Kharabsheh, IT Manager of Greater Amman Municipality, shared the success story obtained with an e-government application with the speakers.

The first administrative meeting of “UCLG-MEWA Committee on Smart Cities and Urban Mobility” formed by the merge of Committee on Smart Cities and Committee on Urban Mobility in line with the decision taken at the Congress constituted another pillar of the Congress. The administrative meeting, which took place immediately after the thematic session, was moderated by Yousef Alshawarbeh, Mayor of Amman, former President of the UCLG-MEWA Committee on Smart Cities. President Alshawarbeh stated that the recommendation taken for the merge of some committees at the UCLG-MEWA Executive Bureau and Council Joint Meeting held in Şanlıurfa in 2018 was approved at the UCLG-MEWA Executive Bureau and Council Joint Meeting held in the morning. Within the context of the meeting, committee members reviewed the report of activity on the committee and accepted the program of activity. Policy papers reflecting the strategic stance of each of the UCLG-MEWA Committees were shared with the participants by Salim Korkmaz, UCLG-MEWA General Coordinator, at the administrative meeting of UCLG-MEWA Committee on Smart Cities and Urban Mobility. In line with the agenda of the meeting, Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General, called participants to determine the host municipality of the next administrative meeting of the committee after the committee memberships were discussed.

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