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UNECE, ITU and partners accelerate action under the United for Smart Sustainable Cities Initiative (U4SSC)

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are key to reach the objectives set out by the United Nations for cities, particularly the Sustainable Development Goal 11 “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.   

They are also crucial to help cities to become smarter and more sustainable, by lowering energy use and GHG emissions while boosting socio-economic growth and competitiveness, in line with the New Urban Agenda. To support the implementation of these global agreements, the UNECE and ITU launched the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) initiative in May 2016. The U4SSC is a UN initiative that primarily advocates for public policy to encourage the use of ICTs to facilitate and ease the transition to smart sustainable cities worldwide and is currently supported by sixteen other UN bodies.

At the invitation of the city, UNECE and ITU organized the Third Meeting of the U4SSC initiative on 26 April 2018 in Malaga (Spain). The meeting approved Terms of Reference of the Initiative which will guide the activities of U4SSC in 2018-2019. With the adoption of these revised Terms of References, the U4SSC Partners and stakeholders will continue to commit themselves to work together and support city leaders to address their urban challenges.

During the event, three reports of the initiative were presented: the Flipbook on "Enhancing innovation and participation in smart sustainable cities", the Flipbook on "Connecting cities and communities with the SDGs", and the Flipbook on "Collection Methodology for Key Performance Indicators for Smart Sustainable Cities".

Meeting participants also agreed on the U4SSC Action Plan, which foresees the development of “Guidelines on tools and mechanisms to finance smart sustainable cities projects”, “Guidelines on strategies for circular cities”, “City science application framework”, “Guiding principles for artificial intelligence in cities”, “Blockchain 4 cities” and “The Impact of new Frontier Technologies in cities”.

During the meeting, the cities of Pully (Switzerland), Bizerte (Tunisia), and Singapore were granted the U4SSC certificate for having successfully implemented the Key Performance Indicators for Smart Sustainable Cities developed within the U4SSC and based on Recommendation ITU-T Y.4903/L.1603: Key performance indicators for smart sustainable cities to assess the achievement of sustainable development goals. These KPIs are free international standards. These indicators fully reflect the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), they help cities to evaluate their economic, environmental and socio-cultural performances and assess their achievement of the SDG targets.

The U4SSC Initiative is co-chaired by H.E. Gloria Placer Marurí, Ministry for the Digital Agenda of Spain and Mr. Nasser Al Marzouqi, Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of the United Arab Emirates. They are supported by the Vice-Chair Dr. Paolo Gemma, Huawei and Ms. Victoria Sukenik, Ministry of Modernization of Argentina. The secretariat of the Initiative includes staff of ITU and the UNECE. 

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