SDG11 | Smart Cities
June 23, 2020

Cities share their smart city stories in new UN reports

By Nasser Al Marzouqi, Chairman of the United for Smart Sustainable Cities Initiative

New UN reports share insight into the smart city ambitions and associated projects of Ålesund in Norway, Bizerte in Tunisia, Krimpen in the Netherlands, Pully in Switzerland, Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, and Valencia in Spain.

The reports offer an evaluation of these cities’ progress in meeting the targets of their smart city strategies and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, evaluations undertaken with the U4SSC Key Performance Indicators for Smart Sustainable Cities.

The United for Smart Sustainable Cities Initiative (U4SSC) is supported by 17 UN bodies with the aim of achieving SDG11: “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.

More than 100 cities have adopted the U4SSC Key Performance Indicators as part of a collaboration driven by ITU within the framework of the U4SSC Initiative.

The U4SSC indicators are tools for self-assessment. Cities can assess their progress in meeting smart city objectives and assess the alignment of their progress with the SDGs.

The new reports highlight cities with populations ranging from Pully’s roughly 18,000 residents to Riyadh’s more than 5 million. The reports highlight smart city actions informed by very different social, economic and environmental contexts.

No two cities are the same, but the U4SSC indicators offer unique value as a common reporting framework – they make a unique contribution to knowledge exchange internationally.

Cities participating in U4SSC are sharing the results of their smart city projects in recognition of the value of this empirical knowledge to other cities around the world.

Dubai, Singapore and Moscow led the way in implementing the U4SSC indicators and reporting their associated experiences. Download their reports from the U4SSC publications page…

The new reports on Ålesund, Bizerte, Krimpen, Pully, Riyadh and Valencia contribute to a growing body of knowledge on smart city innovation as well as the continued refinement of the U4SSC indicators.

Share your city’s story with U4SSC

As our homes and hubs of innovation and productivity, cities are responsible for over 80 per cent of global GDP and around 70 per cent of the world’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. COVID-19 has been a powerful reminder of cities’ central importance to society and the economy.

The transition to Smart Sustainable Cities is a key policy point to administrations worldwide, but exactly how this transition should be navigated is a question that will be answered differently by each city.

U4SSC prizes learning from experience and sharing the lessons learnt.

We have built relationships with a diverse selection of cities, all with different priorities to their smart city strategies, and we are supported by a diverse set of expertise from the communities of the 17 UN bodies supporting U4SSC.

We continue to curate valuable lessons, lessons drawn from real-world experience, and we are working to support cities in applying these lessons to maximum effect.

We welcome you to join our work.

Introducing the U4SSC implementation programme

The new U4SSC implementation programme supports the new partnerships driving smart city projects. As the implementation arm of U4SSC, the programme aims to enact the lessons learnt in U4SSC’s work.

Cities’ experiences with the U4SSC Key Performance Indicators have given us the required knowledge base to launch the development of a ‘Global Smart Sustainable City Index’ derived from these indicators.

U4SSC also develops practitioner guides for the measuring and monitoring of smart city progress and issues expert guidance on the transition to more efficient, sustainable urban environments.

We are addressing how ICT-based smart city platforms support the digital transformation of public services and their integrated management.

We are looking at cities’ resilience in the face of emergencies such as COVID-19 and routes to economic and financial recovery.

We are developing new guidance on public procurement in the digital age, an initiative to support city leaders in establishing effective processes for the procurement of ICT solutions for smart cities.

We are developing guidelines on tools and mechanisms to finance smart city projects, benefiting from the contributions of a wide variety of smart city stakeholders in the public and private sectors.

We are investigating the potential for frontier technologies to contribute to smart city innovation, work to result in guidance on smart-city use cases of technologies in fields such as Artificial Intelligence and blockchain.

And our research is not limited to cutting-edge ICT innovation. We have a workstream dedicated to low-cost solutions not reliant on extensive infrastructure or highly skilled labour, an area of U4SSC work particularly relevant to small and medium-sized cities and cities in developing countries.

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Cities share their smart city stories in new UN reports

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