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ITU and UNECE launch advocacy platform for smart sustainable cities

United Nations call for public policy to promote urban ICT innovation

Geneva, 26 May 2016 – ITU and UNECE have launched the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) global initiative to advocate for public policy aimed at ensuring a catalytic role for information and communication technologies (ICTs) in enabling the transition to smart sustainable cities. The initiative will assist the response to Goal 11 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):  to “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.

The U4SSC global initiative, which is open to all United Nations agencies, municipalities, industry, academia and other relevant stakeholders, will focus on the integration of ICTs in urban operations and build on existing international standards and key performance indicators (KPIs).

United Nations bodies, including UNIDO, ECLAC, FAO, UNFCCC, WMO, UN Women, UNEP, UNEP-FI, WHO, WTO, UNCCD, UNU-IAS, UNDESA and UNECE, have expressed their intention to join the Advisory Board of the U4SSC global initiative.

“ICTs have become central to innovation in almost every sphere of social and economic activity, making collaboration essential in maximizing the contribution of ICTs to sustainable development,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

“The U4SSC global initiative will bring together stakeholders of the public and private sectors to ensure a coherent, integrated application of ICTs within smart sustainable cities,” said ITU Deputy Secretary-General Malcolm Johnson.

“We live in a connected world and we see new fascinating markets and products where physical products and services and digital technologies merge and move together,” said UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach. “The digital revolution can help us create intelligent transport, smart energy systems, resource efficiency and transparent and open societies. It can help us create sustainable development. However, to achieve this we need trust and predictability, and we need common and neutral standards that can work across borders and technologies.”

The U4SSC global initiative was launched at the ITU-UNECE Forum on “Shaping smarter and more sustainable cities: striving for sustainable development goals in Rome, Italy, 18-19 May.

In opening the Forum, ITU Deputy Secretary-General Malcolm Johnson pointed out: "Smart sustainable cities benefit from improved energy efficiency, reduced environmental pollution, increased social inclusion, and offer businesses a better return on investment, and people a happier and healthier environment in which to live."

ITU and UNECE presented a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) they have developed to measure the “smartness” and “sustainability” of cities, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. Dubai, Singapore, Manizales, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Valencia, Rimini and other selected cities have already agreed to trial these KPIs. 

The forum concluded with the Rome Declaration, which presents a ten-point manifesto for the transition to smart sustainable cities. The declaration promotes the use of internationally agreed KPIs and technical standards in service of sustainable development objectives in the urban context, and highlights the value of inclusive e-governance models and peer-learning among city leaders.

For more information, please contact:

Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information, ITU
telephone +41 22 730 5046
mobile +41 79 249 4861
email sanjay.acharya@itu.int  

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