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UNECE and City of Trondheim, Norway, join forces for smart and sustainable urban development with new Geneva UN Charter Centre of Excellence

UNECE and City of Trondheim, Norway, join forces for smart and sustainable urban development with new Geneva UN Charter Centre of Excellence

UNECE and the Norwegian City of Trondheim have agreed to establish a Geneva UN Charter Centre of Excellence to advance sustainable housing as a foundation for urban development. This is the fifth Centre to be created by UNECE.

The Geneva UN Charter on Sustainable Housing endorsed by UNECE supports member States as they seek to ensure access to decent, adequate, affordable and healthy housing for all. Trondheim joins Geneva UN Charter Centres in Tirana (Albania), Vienna (Austria), Tallinn (Estonia) and Glasgow (UK). The Centres support the implementation of the Charter through training, studies, awareness raising and concrete projects on the ground to improve the quality of life in cities.

In a ceremony marking the establishment of the new Centre as part of UNECE’s Sustainable Cities Week 2019, UNECE Executive Secretary Ms. Olga Algayerova emphasised the importance of localizing the SDGs at the city level, urging that “cities need to play a front seat role in the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Chief City Executive of Trondheim, Mr Morten Wolden, underscored the need for strong partnerships, stating “The job ahead is creating networks of excellence to mobilise cities and city partners everywhere”. The Head of the new Centre in Trondheim, Dr Kristian Mjoen, noted that the centre is more than a group of people: it represents a new way of working with innovation and change.

The Geneva UN Charter Centre of Excellence on SDG City Transition in Trondheim will work closely with the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) initiative, developed by UNECE, ITU and UN Habitat in collaboration with 13 other UN agencies. The scope of the initiative is to evaluate the performance and potential for smart sustainable development in cities and communities and connect local needs to a global knowledge hub, solution providers and funding opportunities. The Centre in Trondheim will undertake the following activities:

  • Support the UN’s work to evaluate cities and report on smart sustainable development at the local level in Norway, using KPIs developed and managed by the UN under the U4SSC umbrella. Over 50 cities worldwide are now using the KPIs, which cover diverse areas ranging from internet access to e-Government, electricity supply and traffic monitoring.
  • Continue development and testing of the SDG City Transition Framework as a knowledge-based approach to structuring smart sustainable development at the city or community level.
  • Assist the UN and national partners in setting up a national project on smart sustainable development, incorporating the SDG City Transition Framework into the project design.
  • Promote exchange of best practices among cities and city partners as part of a National Network of Excellence on smart sustainable development.
  • Encourage cooperation among international, national and local stakeholders.
  • Ensure knowledge transfer and strengthen the capacity of national and local authorities to develop and implement policies and actions to improve quality of life and efficiency of urban operations.
  • Support the achievement of the SDGs at the city level.

The new Centre builds on the SDG City Transition Frameworks developed and tested as part of the “University City 3.0”, a cross-sectoral and multistakeholder approach to smart sustainable development in cities and communities developed by Trondheim and the Norwegian University of Technology and Science (NTNU), together with other national and international partners.

Note to editors
About sustainable urban development at UNECE

Sustainable development requires concerted actions at the city level. Fostering cooperation across sectors, at regional, national and local levels, UNECE catalyses the transition to smart and sustainable cities, facilitates knowledge exchange and helps scale-up successful approaches to improve the quality of life for residents of all ages.

UNECE’s conventions and instruments including standards, guidelines and recommendations, together with its intergovernmental and technical expert networks, and its analytical research and assistance projects constitute an integrated approach to address sustainable urban development challenges. For more information, please visit:

About the City of Trondheim

Trondheim’s history spans more than 1000 years, from a Viking settlement to its current position as a leading innovation hub in the Nordics. Home to Norway’s largest university NTNU, it’s 35.000 students, as well as Scandinavia’s largest independent research institute, Sintef, the city offers a thriving tech start-up scene.

The greater region of Trøndelag is home to world leaders within aquaculture, feeding a growing global population. The SDGs have emerged as the overarching framework for innovation across sectors.

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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