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 celebrate the culmination of the ITU Focus Group on metaverse and the inaugural UN Virtual Worlds Day which demonstrated how virtual worlds can drive progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. We are happy to share with you details of a new Global Initiative on Virtual Worlds which will build on the work of ITU study groups, particularly ITU-T Study Group 20 as well as the Focus Group on metaverse and the United for Smart Sustainable Cities initiative.

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

  • ITU Focus Group on metaverse concluded its work
  • ITU Forum discusses integrated virtual-physical worlds
  • 1st UN Virtual Worlds Day leads the way in harnessing metaverse for the SDGs
  • Global Initiative on Virtual Worlds launched at the 1st UN Virtual Worlds Day
  • 1st UN Executive Briefing on Unlocking the potential of virtual worlds and the metaverse for the SDGs
  • Latest Digital Transformation Dialogues
  • Latest reports and publications

Ongoing and upcoming events


ITU Focus Group on metaverse concludes its work

The ITU is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the 7th and final meeting of the ITU Focus Group on metaverse (FG-MV), which took place on 12-13 June 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland. This landmark event marked the end of an extensive standardization journey that began with the establishment of the FG-MV under the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group on 16 December 2022.

Over the course of its mandate, the FG-MV has brought together thousands of experts from around the globe, fostering a collaborative environment dedicated to laying the groundwork for an open, interoperable, secure, and accessible metaverse. The group's efforts have been instrumental in analysing the technical requirements of the metaverse, identifying fundamental enabling technologies across various domains, including multimedia, network optimization, digital currencies, the Internet of Things, digital twins, and environmental sustainability.

The final meeting of the FG-MV was a testament to the group's dedication and hard work, as it approved a further 21 reports and technical specifications, bringing the total to 52. These deliverables represent a significant contribution to the international standardization landscape, providing a solid foundation for the future development of the metaverse.

The ITU extends its gratitude to all the experts who have participated in the FG-MV, whose efforts have paved the way for a future where the metaverse can be harnessed to its full potential, benefiting individuals, businesses, and societies worldwide.

As the FG-MV concludes its work, the ITU remains committed to advancing the standardization of emerging technologies and looks forward to the continued evolution of the metaverse in alignment with the goals of sustainable development and digital inclusion

To learn more visit


ITU Forum discusses integrated virtual-physical worlds

The ITU hosted the 5th ITU Forum on Integrating virtual and physical worlds in the metaverse with digital twin on 13 June 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland. This unique event served as a platform for metaverse experts from around the world to discover the groundbreaking work of the ITU Focus Group on the metaverse.

banner image of the 5th Forum on metaverse

The Forum focused on practical applications and essential requirements for the metaverse, grounded in the transformative capabilities of digital twins. Participants explored how the integration of virtual and physical worlds is redefining user experiences and reshaping various industries. A highlight of the forum was the unveiling of a reference model for the metaverse, rooted in the power of digital twins. This blueprint serves as a framework for seamless integration between virtual and physical realms, paving the way for a cohesive and interconnected metaverse experience.

Sessions were dedicated to discussing key outcomes and results from the ITU Focus Group on metaverse, offering valuable insights into the metaverse's potential and the challenges it presents. The forum also explored use cases and reference models for integrated virtual-physical worlds with digital twins, providing a comprehensive understanding of how these technologies are converging to create the metaverse of the future.

The Forum served as a testament to the ITU's commitment to fostering innovation and collaboration in the virtual worlds. As the metaverse continues to evolve, the ITU remains at the forefront of exploring its potential and ensuring its development aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals.

To learn more, visit


1st UN Virtual Worlds Day leads the way in harnessing metaverse for the SDGs

The inaugural UN Virtual Worlds Day, held on 14 June 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland, marked a significant milestone in the convergence of technological innovation and the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals. This one-day event showcased the transformative potential of virtual worlds and the metaverse, as they stand at the forefront of technological advancement. banner image of the UN Virtual Worlds Day

The event's key outcomes were a testament to its visionary approach:

Event highlights included:

  • A high-level segment that brought together senior government and corporate leaders to discuss policy and regulatory challenges in the metaverse and virtual worlds.
  • The Award Ceremony of the UN metaverse Think-a-thon, where youth leveraged their ideas and virtual world technologies to create innovative solutions for the SDGs. RtVall, Hust_Delia and Holnetverse's project emerged victorious in this competition.
  • A unique metaverse exhibition that offered participants an unprecedented opportunity to experience the cutting edge of virtual worlds and the metaverse.

The first UN Virtual Worlds Day was a resounding success, demonstrating the power of collaboration and innovation in the virtual worlds, organized by ITU jointly with World Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITCILO), the United Nations Futures Lab Network, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations International Computing Centre (UNICC), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Tourism, the United Nations University (UNU), the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (UNDPPA), the United Nations Innovation Network (UNIN), the United Nations Guatemala, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its interagency initiative Resilience Frontiers, and the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).


The day was also made possible thanks to sponsorship by the Aston Group, ETRI, Refex, and SITE. As the metaverse continues to evolve, events like the UN Virtual Worlds Day will play a crucial role in shaping its development to ensure it aligns with the UN sustainable development goals!


To learn more, visit


Global Initiative on Virtual Worlds launched at the 1st UN Virtual Worlds Day

On 14 June, during the UN Virtual Worlds Day in Geneva, Switzerland, the Global Initiative on Virtual Worlds – Discovering the CitiVerse was officially launched by Seizo Onoe, Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU, Sameer Chauhan, Director, UNICC, and H.E. Mr Younus Al Nasser, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Data & Statistics Establishment, Digital Dubal.

The key aims of the initiative are to:

  • Identify the needs of cities in the context of virtual worlds.
  • Facilitate the exchange of best practices and solutions.
  • Establish guiding principles for the development of virtual worlds.
  • Foster a network of cities committed to innovation in virtual spaces.
  • Create an innovative sandbox for collaboration and experimentation.

The Initiative is structured around three key pillars, each with its own focus and related tracks:

  • Bringing Virtual Worlds to Life: This pillar will develop strategic guidance, build awareness, and create evaluation and awareness frameworks for the development of virtual worlds.
  • Connecting Cities with the Virtual and Real Worlds: Focusing on the operational aspects of the Citiverse, this pillar will integrate emerging technologies, identify key use cases, share best practices, and provide an environment, tools, and events for city experimentation.
  • Tunnelling the CitiVerse: This pillar will create a community of practice and mechanisms to engage with city leaders, academia, and industry, fostering collaboration and knowledge-sharing.

The initiative will actively collaborate with partners from across the UN Family and other entities committed to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Initiative also offers opportunities for sponsorship of its events, trainings, talent travel grants, and pilot projects which shape the future of virtual worlds, including the CitiVerse.

To learn more, visit


1st UN Executive Briefing on Unlocking the potential of virtual worlds and the metaverse for the SDGs

The 1st UN Executive Briefing on unlocking the potential of virtual worlds and the metaverse for the Sustainable Development Goals was officially launched on 14 June as part of the UN Virtual Worlds Day in Geneva, Switzerland. This comprehensive briefing offers an in-depth look at how virtual worlds and the metaverse can advance the SDGs.

Virtual worlds and the metaverse, which have evolved from gaming and the Internet into shared environments where users interact in real-time through avatars, present opportunities for social and cultural inclusion, environmental protection, and economic development. However, challenges such as universal access, the digital divide, responsible technology governance, privacy and security concerns, ethical considerations, and the potential impact on mental health must be addressed to fully realize the benefits of virtual worlds.

The briefing also highlights the profound impact virtual worlds can have on the SDGs. Through detailed case studies the briefing demonstrates how virtual worlds and the metaverse can provide innovative solutions to combat poverty, enhance food security, revolutionize healthcare, transform education, promote gender equality, improve water and sanitation, provide affordable and clean energy, support economic growth, foster innovation, reduce inequalities, make cities smarter and more sustainable, encourage responsible consumption and production, combat climate change, conserve life below water and on land, promote peace and justice, and strengthen global partnerships.

Despite the challenges of virtual worlds and the metaverse, the briefing concluded that the opportunities for leveraging virtual worlds for the SDGs are vast. By promoting equitable access, sustainable practices, and balancing innovation with responsibility, decision-makers can harness the potential of the metaverse and virtual worlds to create a more inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous future for all.

To learn more, 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


Ask the Expert Session – Exploring DLT Beyond Cryptocurrency: Applications and Opportunities (23 July 2024)

L’itinérance mobile internationale joue un rôle crucial dans notre monde de plus en plus connecté. Non seulement elle favorise une communication sans faille, mais elle contribue également de manière significative à la croissance économique mondiale en reliant les frontières et en stimulant le développement économique mondial.


Webinar: City Horizons: Celebrating World Cities Day and Shaping Urban Futures (31 October 2024)

This webinar, jointly organized by ITU and Global Cities Hub explores the concept of people-oriented smart cities as a means to enhance the human experience, fostering a sense of community, accessibility, and innovation for all inhabitants.


Past sessions have covered the following topics:


Ask the Expert Session – Rester connecté: Explorer l’itinérance mobile internationale (27 June 2024)

This session promised valuable insights into the world of DLT and its role in shaping the future of technology and business. Watch here


Webinar: Greening the Future: Navigating Digital Transformation for Land Restoration (5 June 2024)
This webinar, jointly organized by ITU, ITU-T Study Group 5, UN Environment, and United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification offered 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.
Watch here.


Ask the Expert Session: Assessing the circularity of ICT goods (22 May 2024)
This session jointly organized with ITU-T Study Group 5 provided 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.
Watch here.


Webinar: Connected Communities: Harnessing the Power of Digital Public Infrastructure (21 May 2024)
With a range of industry experts this webinar provided 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.
Watch here.



Latest Publication

UN Executive Briefing on unlocking the potential of virtual worlds and the metaverse for the Sustainable Development Goals


This executive briefing was launched by 19 UN entities. It provides an in-depth look at the enabling power of these digital spaces in advancing the SDGs, particularly focusing on the transformative impact of the metaverse. For more information click here.

  Cover page of UN Executive Briefing

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