Digital Transformation and Cities Digest


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Message from Seizo Onoe, Director,

Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU

Dear colleagues,

Welcome to the latest edition of the Digital Transformation and Cities Digest.

In this issue, we bring to you updates on the upcoming final meeting of ITU Focus Group on metaverse and Forum on metaverse. We are also excited to share with you details of the 1st UN Virtual Worlds Day and UN metaverse Think-a-thon. Finally, we will update you on the next ITU-T Study Group 20 meeting, the World Summit on the Information Society session on the CitiVerse, and the ITU Global Standards Symposium in October.

As always, we also bring you updates on the latest Digital Transformation Dialogues and our reports and publications.

I hope you enjoy this Digest. If you have any comments or suggestions for improvement, please send an email to


Profile photo of Seizo Onoe, Director, TSB, ITU

Seizo Onoe,
Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU.



In this issue

  • Latest on the UN Virtual Worlds Day
  • Final steps of the ITU Focus Group on metaverse
  • Upcoming ITU-T SG20 meeting and results of the SG20 RG-AP meeting
  • Charting the Next Digital Wave: 5th Global Standards Symposium 2024
  • Envisioning Inclusive, Sustainable, and People-Centered Cities at WSIS+20
  • Latest Digital Transformation Dialogues
  • Latest reports and publications

Upcoming events



UN Virtual Worlds Day

Envisaged to illuminate the transformative potential of virtual worlds, including the metaverse and spatial computing, the 1st UN Virtual Worlds Day will play a vital role in advancing the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The day will be marked by policy discussions and an exhibition showcasing the latest technological breakthroughs in Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), metaverse, and spatial computing.

banner image of the UN Virtual Worlds Day

High-level speakers will include:

  • Doreen Bodgan-Martin, Secretary General, International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
  • Seizo Onoe, Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU
  • Sameer Chauhan, Director, United Nations International Computing Centre (UNICC)
  • Paul Ladd, Director, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)
  • Dmitry Mariyasin, Deputy Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
  • Mounir Tabet, Deputy Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA)
  • Radia Funna, Futurist and creator of the xHuman theory and Chair of the 1st UN Virtual Worlds Day
  • H.E. Mr Nape Nnauye, Minister, Ministry of Information, Communication and Information Technology, Tanzania (United Republic of)
  • H.E. Mr Eliud Owalo, Minister, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Digital Economy, Kenya
  • H.E. Mr Hamad Al Mansoori, Director General, Digital Dubai
  • Luis Bernardo Nava Guerrero, Mayor, Municipality of Queretaro, Mexico
  • Karl-Filip Coenegrachts, Chair of the Board of Directors and Executive Director, Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC), Belgium
  • Jung Sook Park, Secretary-General, World Smart Sustainable Cities Organization (WeGO), Korea (Rep. of)
  • Christina Yan Zhang, CEO, The Metaverse Institute
  • Stela Mocan, Manager, Technology & Innovation Lab, World Bank
  • Anamaria Meshkurti, Tech Investor and Strategic Board Member, AMVS Capital
  • Bertrand Levy​, Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships, The Sandbox.

This historical event will see the launch of the Global Initiative on Virtual Worlds – Discovering the CitiVerse, the Minecraft Education Challenge, and the Working Group on Digital Transformation for Hydrology and Water Resources. It will also include the award ceremony of the UN metaverse Think-a-thon, paying tribute to the innovative minds propelling our digital future.

The metaverse Think-a-Thon 2024 aims to harness the potential of virtual technologies and innovative approaches to generate actionable insights, propose practical solutions, and foster a collective vision for creating smarter, more sustainable cities and communities.

The International Telecommunication Union is proud to have worked with many UN entities on the 1st UN Virtual Worlds Day which will take place on 14 June 2024 at the ITU Headquarters in Geneva.

Don’t miss your chance to be part of this historical initiative, register your participation today, visit 



Final steps of the ITU Focus Group on metaverse and Forum

The 6th meeting of the ITU Focus Group on metaverse was held virtually on 30 April and approved 2 new deliverables: a Technical Report on “Overview of the application requirements of metaverse on emergency management in chemical industrial parks” and a Technical Specification on “Requirements, functional framework and capability of IoT for metaverse”. FG-MV will finalize its work at the final Focus Group meeting in Geneva.

Mark your calendars for the 7th and final meeting of the ITU Focus Group on metaverse, scheduled for 12-13 June 2024.

It will be a culmination of an impressive 1.5 years of diligent work. Since its inception, the Focus Group has been at the forefront of exploring the metaverse's potential, laying down the groundwork for its safe and effective use across various sectors. This final meeting promises to be a significant milestone in our collective journey towards a digitally integrated future. Immediately following the Focus Group meeting, on 13 June, we invite you to participate in the 5th ITU Forum on 'Integrating virtual and physical worlds in the metaverse with digital twin'. This Forum will serve as an exciting platform for delving into the groundbreaking work carried out by the ITU Focus Group on metaverse. It promises to facilitate stimulating discussions on the convergence of the physical and virtual worlds, a transformative development that is redefining the digital landscape.

banner image of the 5th Forum on metaverse

Both of these landmark events represent the dedication and effort of the ITU and the wider expert community in shaping the future of digital transformation. As we gear up for these important gatherings, we look forward to your active participation and the collaborative strides we will make towards a digitally inclusive world.

To learn more and register for both events visit 



Upcoming ITU-T SG20 meeting and results of the SG20 RG-AP meeting

The next ITU-T Study Group 20 “IoT, smart cities and communities” meeting will take place from 1-12 July in Geneva, Switzerland. This important gathering will focus on the latest Recommendations awaiting approval and discuss the preparations for TSAG and WTSA-24. The meeting presents an open platform for deliberations on the future of Internet of Things, smart cities and communities.

One of the key agenda items for this meeting will be the review of the outcomes from the second meeting of the ITU-T Study Group 20 Regional Group for Asia and the Pacific that took place on 23-24 April 2024.

The ITU-T Study Group 20 meeting will showcase the collective efforts of our global community towards advancing digital transformation. The deadline for sending Contributions is 18 June 2024.

To learn more and register your participation visit



Charting the Next Digital Wave: Fifth Global Standards Symposium 2024

Join leading experts from around the world on 14 October 2024 for the Fifth Global Standards Symposium (GSS-24) in New Delhi, India. Chaired by Dr Rajkumar Upadhyay, this high-level forum will focus on the theme "Charting the Next Digital Wave: Emerging Technologies, Innovation, and International Standards."

banner image of GSS2024

The Symposium will feature thought-provoking discussions on international standards and their role in AI governance, including panellists sharing their insights on the future of AI. In honour of World Standards Day, leaders will also discuss the importance of international standards in shaping emerging technologies and fostering innovation. The event will feature an exclusive session with ministers, CEOs, and mayors focusing on the future of innovation. Additionally, the winners of the ITU BSA Application Challenge, promoting blockchain-based passwordless multi-factor authentication, will be announced.

One of the highlights of the Symposium will be the U4SSC KPI Ceremony, an important event featuring mayors from cities that have successfully implemented the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on Recommendation ITU-T Y.4903. This ceremony will provide a unique opportunity to witness the achievements and progress made by cities committed to smart and sustainable urban development.

The Symposium will explore the intersection of open source and international standards, the transformative potential of AI and the metaverse, and the progress of cities committed to smart and sustainable development. Don't miss this opportunity to dive into the next digital wave, to learn more and register visit




Envisioning Inclusive, Sustainable, and People-Centered Cities at WSIS+20

The CitiVerse represents a revolutionary approach to urban development, envisioning a network of interconnected virtual worlds that harmonize with and enhance their physical counterparts. Far beyond mere technological advancement, the CitiVerse holds the promise of fostering inclusive, sustainable cities.

Join smart cities experts for a WSIS session co-hosted by ITU and WeGo exploring the transformative potential of the CitiVerse. Discover how this innovative concept can reshape urban development, fostering inclusive, sustainable, and participatory cities. From reimagining smart city initiatives to empowering communities through technology, we will discuss the key pillars of a people-centered CitiVerse.

Do not miss your chance to delve into the critical components of building people-centered CitiVerses, exploring the critical work of the Focus Group on metaverse highlighting key deliverables, case studies, economic impacts, and the future frontiers of urban innovation in the digital era. Together, let us harness the transformative power of the CitiVerse to create more liveable, sustainable, and equitable cities for all.

Be a part of this forward-thinking event and help shape the future of smart cities, to learn more and register visit



Latest Digital Transformation Dialogues

The ITU Digital Transformation Dialogues (DTD) have expanded the successful digital transformation webinars platform, looking deeper into pivotal digital transformation topics, featuring insights from senior leaders and leading experts.


generic banner image of the Digital Transformation Dialogues webinar series


Upcoming events


Webinar: Connected Communities: Harnessing the Power of Digital Public Infrastructure (21 May 2024)

With a range of industry experts this webinar will provide a platform for sharing of experiences on the concept and implementation of the DPI, the importance of digital public goods for DPI, and discuss areas where technical standards are needed.


Ask the Expert Session: Assessing the circularity of ICT goods (22 May 2024)

This session jointly organized with ITU-T Study Group 5 will provide a platform to present Recommendation ITU-T L.1023 on Assessment method for circularity performance scoring which contains a three-step methodology to identify an information and communication technology (ICT) good’s circularity.


Webinar: Land Reborn: Greening the Digital Footprint for Land Restoration (5 June 2024)

This webinar, jointly organized by ITU, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and UNEP offers a unique opportunity to delve into the intersection of digital transformation and land restoration, providing insights that are crucial for creating a more sustainable and resilient future.


Past sessions have covered the following topics:

Webinar: UN 2.0 Week Side event on Harnessing the metaverse and virtual worlds for global impact

(26 April 2024)
In an era where digital landscapes are rapidly evolving, this webinar explored the revolutionary power of virtual worlds, highlighting the United for Smart Sustainable Cities initiative, and investigated the metaverse’s capacity to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
Watch here.


Ask the Expert Sessions: Breaking barriers in the metaverse: Improving accessibility (25 April 2024)
This event explored the work of Working Group 8 of the ITU Focus Group on metaverse, and the potential of the metaverse to significantly improve accessibility by providing innovative solutions that enhance inclusivity and participation for individuals with various abilities.
Watch here.


Webinar: Metaverse 360°: Exploring Accessibility, Inclusion and Human Rights  (22 April 2024)
The “Webinar – Metaverse 360°: Exploring Accessibility, Inclusion and Human Rights at Dominicana Innova” was an innovative event designed to address crucial issues related to accessibility, and human rights. It was jointly organized by ITU, the Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations Office in Geneva, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and OGTIC.
Watch here.


Fireside Chat: Ethical Horizons: Navigating Responsible AI in the Digital Landscape (16 April 2024)
This fireside chat with Natasha Crampton, VP, Chief Responsible AI Officer, Microsoft, explored the realm of responsible artificial intelligence, looking at ethical considerations and societal impact of AI technologies, providing a comprehensive understanding of the evolving landscape.
Watch here.


Webinar: Immersive Inclusivity: Enhancing Virtual Worlds with Accessibility (2 April 2024)
This webinar, jointly organized by ITU, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology looked at the value of enhancing virtual worlds with accessibility features and making immersive digital experiences more inclusive.
Watch here.


Ask the Expert Sessions: Guardians of Authenticity: Battling Counterfeiting (28 March 2024)
This session looked at the crucial role of digital transformation in both perpetuating and combating the issue of counterfeiting of devices leveraging the standards developed by ITU-T Study Group 11.
Watch here.


Webinar: Unleashing the Power of Digital Water Solutions: Exploring the flow of emerging technologies

(22 March 2024)
This webinar, jointly organized by ITU, WMO, and UN Water looked at emerging technologies such as AI and IoT, and how using them water utilities and management authorities can gain insights into water usage patterns, detect leaks or anomalies, and streamline the distribution of water resources.
Watch here.




Latest Publication

Guiding principles for artificial intelligence in cities

The U4SSC Deliverable on Guiding principles for artificial intelligence in cities provides a broad set of suggested principles, enablers, governance methods, policy instrument alternatives and a simple methodology for instilling AI principles in cities. For more information click here.

  Cover page of U4SSC Guiding principles for artificial intelligence in cities

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