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2018 HLPF Side Event: "Shaping Smarter and More Sustainable Cities: Striving for Sustainable Development Goals"

PhotoNew York, UNHQ, 12 July 2018, 1.15 – 2.30pm

For more information please contact Cristina Bueti or visit:

Cities are powerful engines of economic growth, fueled by intensive interpersonal communication and high concentrations of specialized skills. Given that an estimated 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, sustainable urbanization has become a key policy point to administrations across the world. Here information and communication technologies (ICTs) and its applications, including, inter alia, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and artificial intelligence, have a crucial role to play in facilitating the transition to smart sustainable cities (SSC). The United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) initiative is a UN initiative supported by 16 UN bodies to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11: "Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable." The U4SSC Initiative serves as the global platform to advocate for public policy and to encourage the use of ICTs to facilitate and ease the transition to smart sustainable cities to improve quality of life, efficiency of urban operation and services, and competitiveness.

The side event was jointly organized by the Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media, Greece, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations New York.

This side event provided a platform to:
  • debate the impact of frontier technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and internet of things (IoT) on cities;
  • present the international key performance indicators (KPIs) for Smart Sustainable Cities (SSC), developed by U4SSC, that establishes a criteria to evaluate ICT's contributions in making cities smarter and more sustainable and that provides cities with the means for self-assessments in order to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs); and
  • discuss the opportunities and challenges faced in shaping smart and sustainable cities at the local level.  
Aim of the event
To provide a platform to debate the impact of frontier technologies  such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and Internet of Things (IoT) on cities, to present current national and international initiatives such as the United for Smart Sustainable Cities and to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced in shaping smart and sustainable cities at the local level.

Intended audience
Leading specialists in the field, from city planners to engineers, designers, policy-makers, government officials, regulators, academia and standards experts.

Location: UN Headquarters, Conference Building, Conference Room E

Programme (1.15 – 2.30pm, 12 July 2018)

Opening Remarks
Moderator: Mr Guilherme Canela, Counsellor of Information and Communication for MERCOSUR, UNESCO [ Biography ]
Closing Remarks

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Pictures of the event New

The outcomes of this side event will be presented by Greece at the ITU Plenipotentiary 2018 that will be held in Dubai from 29 October to 16 November 2018.