The first meeting of the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) global initiative has taken place in Geneva, appointing the leadership team consisting of representatives from Dubai Smart City, PwC, and Future Cities Catapult.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) launched the initiative in May to advocate for public policy to emphasise the importance of information and communication technologies (ICT) in enabling the transition to smart sustainable cities.
“The digital revolution can help us create intelligent transport, smart energy systems, resource efficiency and transparent and open societies,” said UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach. “It can help us create sustainable development. However, to achieve this we need trust and predictability, and we need common and neutral standards that can work across borders and technologies.”
Open to all United Nations agencies, municipalities, industry, academia and other relevant stakeholders, the U4SSC initiative will focus on the integration of ICTs in urban operations, building on existing international standards and key performance indicators. The initiative will assist the response to Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals: to “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.
The initiative will focus on three working groups.
Working Group 1 will be headed up by Lluïsa Marsal, Future Cities Catapult, UK, and Tomás Llorente, SETSI, Government of Spain. It will explore the idea of ‘Future Living’, initially by setting the framework with respect to urban planning and related policy, regulation and KPIs. The group’s next objective is to develop a smart governance platform to guide urban planners’ efforts to achieve the urban-development targets of the SDGs.
Working Group 2 will develop policy recommendations to encourage the transition to smart cities and communities, assisting stakeholders in their efforts to move beyond pilot projects and demonstrations to sustainable smart-city innovation. Hazem Galal from PwC and John Smiciklas, Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada will be co-chairs.
Working Group 3, led by Okan Geray of Smart Dubai Office and Kari Aina Eik, Secretary General of the Organisation for International Economic Relations, will put forward policy frameworks with the aim of achieving strong and symbiotic governance models, economic activities and social wellbeing. The group will explore the potential of ICT to improve public services by leveraging open data and inclusive smart governance models.