Geneva, Switzerland, 21 July 2016
“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:
- Providing concrete recommendations for integrating the smart sustainable cities approaches in the Draft New Urban Agenda, in particular in its chapters on implementation and follow-up and review.
- Identifying opportunities for advocacy towards the Habitat III Conference.
- A brief report, reflecting the discussion, including key messages and recommendations for the Draft New Urban Agenda.
- Identify definition of principles, guidelines, standards, key performance indicators and policy recommendations for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.
- Plan for joint dissemination activities at PrepCom III and at the Habitat III Conference with clear responsibilities and contributions from various partners.
- Inputs from this EGM to the United for Smart Sustainable Cities Initiative (U4SSC).
- Inputs from the work conducted within U4SSC to be submitted as contribution to the New Urban Agenda.
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
- Participants are asked to prepare in advance a one-page document containing their main inputs and observations regarding the smart sustainable city dimensions (ICT, safety, housing, air quality, mobility, etc.) for the Draft New Urban Agenda.
- Participants will also be asked to provide their inputs to the Draft New Urban Agenda and possible activities for its future implementation.
- Participants will be asked to discuss their findings and observations with the group and to agree on a final document.