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ITU-UNECE-Habitat III Cross-Cutting Expert Group Meeting on Driving Smart Sustainable Cities Worldwide

Geneva, Switzerland, 21 July 2016

Contact: Cristina Bueti (ITU) 


“Cities are engines of dynamism and creativity. In many respects, cities are the proving ground for our efforts to combat climate change, build resilience and achieve faster, more equitable development progress”. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Smart sustainable cities have the capacity to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by leveraging information and communication technologies (ICTs) to set cities on a development course characterized by environmental sustainability, resilience and equitable social and economic growth.

Smart sustainable cities require trusted information infrastructure capable of supporting an enormous volume and diversity of applications and citizen driven services. The foundational structure of a smart sustainable city should ensure openness and interoperability, achieved with coordinated adherence to credible international standards.

As cities encounter more challenges in the socio-economic and environmental realms, the smart sustainable city approach is gaining popularity. Given the fact that rapid and unplanned urbanization has led to growth of slums, sprawl, housing and infrastructure shortages, social segregation, and exclusion, urbanization trends pose a need for strategic and innovative approaches to urban design, planning, management and governance. It is important that the role and potential of ICTs should be reviewed to present new opportunities and smart approaches for sustainable urban development.

As part of the Habitat III preparatory process, a total of 22 Issue Papers were elaborated by the United Nations Task Team on Habitat III, one of which addressed critical issues and challenges on smart cities faced in the last 20 years. Towards the New Urban Agenda, it is crucial to think of how ICTs and innovative approaches will play a key role in a context of sustainable smart cities. Accordingly, this expert group meeting (EGM) is expected to bring together expertise to discuss and define principles, guidelines, standards, key performance indicators and policy recommendations for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda to create smart sustainable cities across the globe.


In line with 2030 Agenda, the EGM on “Driving Smart Sustainable Cities Worldwide” aims to promote the establishment of smart sustainable cities worldwide which should be placed at the center in the New Urban Agenda (NUA).

In particular, the EGM will focus on:

Expected outcomes Target audience

Up to 40 experts on smart sustainable cities are expected and will be handpicked from United Nations system; civil society organizations, academia/research institutions, regional bodies, associations of local governments and mayors, UN System and relevant government ministries.

Expectations from participants