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One-UN approach to smart sustainable urban development: the United for Smart Sustainable Cities Initiative (U4SSC)

UNECE and ITU organized the First Meeting of the U4SSC initiative on 21-22 July 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland. Under the eyes of stakeholders from all over the world and several UN entities, the leading team of the initiative was appointed and the Terms of Reference of the team and of the joining organizations were approved to guide the activities of U4SSC.

UNECE and ITU launched the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) initiative in May 2016. In response to the sustainable development goal (SDG) 11: “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, U4SSC primarily advocates for public policy to encourage the use of ICTs to facilitate and ease the transition to smart sustainable cities worldwide and is supported by UN-Habitat, UNIDO, ECLAC, ECA, FAO, UNFCCC, CBD, WMO, UN Women, UNEP, UNEP-FI, WHO, WTO, UNCCD and UNU-IAS.

The U4SSC Initiative is co-chaired by H.E. Daiva Matoniene, Vice-Minister of the Environment of Lithuania and Nasser Al Marzouqi, Chairman of ITU-T Study Group 20 and supported as Vice-Chair by Paolo Gemma, Senior Specialist at Huawei.

The activities of U4SCC are carried out by three Working Groups, namely, Setting the Framework; Connecting Cities and Communities; and Enhancing Innovation and Participation.

Working Group 1: Setting the Framework

The Working Group 1 is co-chaired by Lluïsa Marsal, Future Cities Catapult, UK and Tomás Llorente, SETSI, Government of Spain and will set the Future Living Framework of the U4SCC initiative with respect to urban planning and its policy, standards, regulations, and KPIs. The group aims is to develop an e-governance platform to guide urban planners’ efforts to achieve Goal 11 of the SDGs. The platform will collect and analyze data to assist urban planners in monitoring the relative success of their smart-city projects, in parallel offering an e-governance “dashboard” to act as an interface between city administrations and the public. The dashboard 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

The activities of the Working Group 2 are led by John Smiciklas, Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada and Hazeem Galal, PricewaterhouseCoopers and will develop policy recommendations and implementation guidelines to encourage the transition to smart cities and communities. By assisting stakeholders in their efforts to move beyond pilot projects and demonstrations to sustainable smart-city innovation, the group will analyzse the key lessons learnt from cities around the world that have successfully planned and implemented initiatives for smart living and mobility and the protection of the environment. The exercise is expected to result into 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 in designing and executing smart sustainable initiatives. The Group will also focus on how to scale up smart sustainable cities initiatives at the national and global levels.

Working Group 3: Enhancing Innovation and Participation

The Working Group 3 is coordinated by Okan Geray of Smart Dubai Office and Kari Aina Eik, Secretary General of the Organization for International Economic Relations and will develop policy frameworks and supporting creative activities with the aim of achieving strong and symbiotic governance, economics and society. 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 for enhancing personal and professional skills, entrepreneurship and creativity.

“The idea of making cities “smarter” and “more sustainable” has grown out of the need for cities to meet the current economic, socio-cultural and environmental challenges and opportunities and is a constant for new opportunities. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) play a key role in sustainable development and governance as the key drivers of initiatives that are aimed at sustaining and improving quality of life in urban areas. We invite all interested parties to join U4SSC and wish good luck to the U4SSC team!” said UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach.

“The U4SSC global initiative will advocate for public policy to recognize the strong trend towards all industry sectors integrating ICTs into their operations and to capitalize on this trend in the transition to smart sustainable cities,” said Chaesub Lee, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. “Enabling policy frameworks will help cities to secure the resources necessary to build momentum in smart-city projects, and they will support local governments in their collaboration with businesses and citizens to develop sustainable business models for smart-city innovation.”


For more information on the event and on the U4SSC initiative, please contact:

Ms. Domenica Carriero


Email: domenica.carriero@unece.org                    

Tel: +41 (0) 22 917 16 72

Website: www.unece.org/housing.html


Ms. Cristina Bueti


Email: cristina.bueti@itu.int 

Tel: +41 22 730 6301

Website: www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/ssc