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December 10, 2019

One UN for Climate: Let’s unite to build Smart Sustainable Cities

By Malcolm Johnson, ITU Deputy Secretary-General

*The following is an opening statement delivered last night on my behalf during a side event about how to build smarter, more sustainable cities at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid.

The climate crisis has pushed about a thousand cities across the globe to declare a climate emergency.

ITU, as the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies, is harnessing the potential of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and 5G to build smarter, more sustainable cities.

We help cities maximize the benefits of ICTs to monitor, mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

ITU recognizes that the carbon footprint of the digital ecosystem is growing.

We have been working to develop international standards that support the sustainable use of ICTs and promote migration towards a circular economy.

“Let us work together to turn the digital revolution into a climate action revolution.”

We have established a Focus Group on “Environmental Efficiency for Artificial Intelligence and other Emerging Technologies” and encourage you to join its work.

The transition to smart sustainable cities calls for extensive collaboration.

Join “United for Smart Sustainable Cities,” a United Nations initiative coordinated by ITU, UNECE and UN-Habitat − and supported by 14 other UN bodies − to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Over 100 cities worldwide have already implemented the initiative’s key performance indicators. We have created a new task force to further support cities in this effort. Tracking progress is an essential step on the path to success.

The window of opportunity to act on climate change is closing fast.

As innovation hubs, cities have the potential to accelerate progress and deliver major emission cuts.

Cities will be key to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Let us work together to turn the digital revolution into a climate action revolution.

Let’s do it before it is too late.

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ITU is the United Nations' specialized agency for information and communication technology. Any opinions expressed and statistics presented by third parties do not necessarily reflect the views of ITU.

One UN for Climate: Let's unite to build Smart Sustainable Cities

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