United for Smart Sustainable Cities advocacy platform: Leadership team and terms of reference announced

The first meeting of the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) global initiative held in Geneva, 21-22 July, has appointed the initiative’s leadership team and agreed the Terms of Reference to guide the advocacy to be undertaken by its three working groups.

ITU and UNECE launched the U4SSC initiative to advocate for public policy to emphasize the importance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in enabling the transition to smart sustainable cities. Open to all United Nations agencies, municipalities, industry, academia and other relevant stakeholders, the U4SSC initiative will focus on the integration of ICTs in urban operations, building on existing international standards and key performance indicators (KPIs). 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”. Read more about the May 2016 launch of the initiative in an ITU press release.

The U4SSC initiative will be co-chaired by Daiva Matoniene, Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Environment of Lithuania, and Nasser Al Marzouqi, Chairman of ITU-T Study Group 20 (IoT and Smart Cities). Paolo Gemma, Senior Specialist at Huawei, has taken up the role of U4SSC Vice-Chair.

The initiative will organize its work using three working groups:

Working Group 1: Setting the Framework

Co-chaired by Lluïsa Marsal, Future Cities Catapult, UK, and Tomás Llorente, SETSI, Government of Spain.

Working Group 1 will explore the tenets of “Future Living”, initially by setting the framework with respect to urban planning and related policy, regulation and KPIs. The group’s next objective is to develop a smart governance platform to guide urban planners’ efforts to achieve the urban-development targets of the SDGs. The platform will capture and analyze data to assist urban planners, for example, in the implementation and monitoring of policies to achieve Goal 11 of the SDGs through urban-planning interventions. This smart governance “dashboard” will act as an interface between city administrations and the public. The resultant platform is intended to be of great value in exploring the possibilities of open data, especially in terms of the interoperability of the datasets produced by systems internal and external to a city.

Working Group 2: Connecting Cities and Communities

Co-chaired by John Smiciklas, Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada, and Hazem Galal, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Working Group 2 will develop policy recommendations to encourage the transition to smart cities and communities, assisting stakeholders in their efforts to move beyond pilot projects and demonstrations to sustainable smart-city innovation. The group will analyze the key lessons learnt from cities that have successfully planned and implemented initiatives for smart living and mobility and the protection of the environment. The exercise is expected to yield policy recommendations to guide the design and implementation of smart-city projects, considering enabling factors in areas such as leadership, innovation, governance, partnerships, business models, financing and ICT.

Working Group 3: Enhancing Innovation and Participation

Co-chaired by Okan Geray of Smart Dubai Office and Kari Aina Eik, Secretary General of the Organization for International Economic Relations.

Working Group 3 will put forward policy frameworks with the aim of achieving strong and symbiotic governance models, economic activities and social wellbeing. The group will explore the potential of ICT to improve public services by leveraging open data and inclusive smart governance models. It will study ICT-related policy issues relevant to economic productivity and competitiveness, R&D and innovation, with a focus on encouraging public-private collaboration in efforts to develop sustainable business models for smart-city projects. These studies will be accompanied by investigation into innovation ecosystems and associated policy principles capable of increasing urban societies’ capacity to enhance personal and professional skills, entrepreneurship and creativity.

For more information on the U4SSC global initiative, visit the initiative’s homepage, or contact ITU’s Cristina Bueti at u4ssc@itu.int or UNECE’s Domenica Carriero at domenica.carriero@unece.org.

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