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November 18, 2020

In the Face of Extraordinary Challenges, 36 Pioneer Cities Chart a Course Towards a More Ethical and Responsible Future.

World Economic Forum

Photo: Toronto, Canada. Image credit: Nicolas Vigier.


Photo: Melbourne, Australia. Image credit: Eugene Kaspersky.

Geneva, Switzerland, 17 November 2020 - The World Economic Forum announced today that 36 cities across 22 countries and six continents have agreed to pioneer a new roadmap for safely adopting new technology as part of the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance.

Cities face urgent challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and other major disruptions, which may culminate in a budget crisis that could reach $1 trillion in the United States alone. They need data and innovation to become more resilient, responsive, and efficient. Yet, there is no global framework for how cities should use these technologies, or the data they collect, in a way that protects the public interest.

It would change with the launch of a new global policy roadmap by the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance, designed to give cities the procedures, laws, and regulations they need to use new technology responsibly. The World Economic Forum hosts the secretariat of the alliance.

“This roadmap is not about theoretical ideas and pipe dreams. It is built on practical, real-world policies from leading cities around the globe,” said Jeff Merritt, Head of the Internet of Things and Urban Transformation, World Economic Forum. “City governments are on the frontline of a global crisis and need to be able to act quickly and decisively to curtail this pandemic and set course for their economic recovery. Technology is an essential tool in this fight, but governments cannot risk falling into the usual traps related to privacy, security, and vendor lock-in. That’s where the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance can help.”

To kickstart the roadmap adoption, the alliance has recruited a group of 36 “pioneer cities” that will collaborate with global experts to enhance their city policies in areas ranging from privacy protection and cybersecurity to better services for disabled people and better broadband coverage.

The pioneer cities are launching their activities today at a global event broadcast by Smart City Expo World Congress, the world’s premier smart cities event.

List of pioneer cities (in alphabetical order):

“This initiative originated in Japan last year from our Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a fact I’m very proud of,” said Koichi Akaishi, Vice Minister for Science, Technology, and Innovation for the Cabinet Office of the Government of Japan. “I hope to see more cities participating in the Alliance following the model set by these first pioneer cities.”

Leaders of organizations participating in the program:

Miguel Eiras Antunes, Global Smart Cities Leader, Deloitte Global, said, “The transformation from a traditional city to a ‘smart city’ does not just happen overnight. Success depends on the quality of the decisions. Deloitte is committed to working closely together with the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance on Technology Governance to co-design policy frameworks that will empower governments to accelerate smart cities initiatives for sustainable developments.”

London’s Chief Digital Officer, Theo Blackwell, said, “We need to work together to realize the potential of data to solve city challenges by putting it in the hands of those who can make a difference. But we also need to do it in a way that is safe, ethical, and responsible. London is proud to join this global initiative as a pioneer city to promote the adoption of ethical, smart city policies.”

“Technology and knowledge are two strategic assets to build inclusive, data-driven, and sustainable smart cities capable of tackling new and emerging challenges,” said Roberta Cocco, Deputy Mayor for Digital Transformation and Services to Citizens, Milan. “That is why Milan is joining the G20 Global Smart City Alliance, as this initiative will allow us to share best practices with innovative cities around the world. Today more than ever, in fact, we need to collaborate to identify the most effective tools to face global threats like COVID-19. It is only by joining our forces that we can beat this common enemy that is threatening the health, the economy, and the future of our citizens.”

Dr. Julia Glidden, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector, Microsoft Corporation, said, “Accessibility and privacy policies are critical to making cities more inclusive and transparent. Microsoft congratulates the Forum and G20 for creating model policies that aid cities in serving all citizens.”

“We will adopt a transparent and participatory philosophy of local governance in the city of Istanbul,” said Ekrem İmamoğlu, Mayor of Istanbul. “We aim to empathize with all segments of society, and value the participation of everyone, ensuring that the majority of the people are represented - not the few.”

Gilvan Maximo, Secretary of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Brazil, said, “The G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance will provide us with a global partnership to accelerate the adoption of technologies responsibly and for the benefit of the citizen, debating complex issues and seeking joint solutions. Therefore, Brasilia is eager to participate in this joint work.”

“This opportunity to collaborate as a G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance pioneer city on a new roadmap for safely adopting new technology is very welcome indeed,” said Alderman Frank McCoubrey, Lord Mayor of Belfast. “We’ll be exploiting new technologies and data to tackle city challenges in areas such as health and mobility to improve our citizens’ quality of life - and we must ensure this is done ethically and in a way that prioritizes transparency, privacy, equity, and inclusion. Being part of the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance on Technology Governance means that each of the partner cities will benefit from expert, tailored insights and policy tools. This collaborative approach will allow us all to make progress in how we govern technology more swiftly and effectively, for the benefit of all our citizens.”

“Transforming our cities into smart cities is a great tool to improve people’s life quality,” said Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, Mayor of Buenos Aires. “That is why we are committed to continuing incorporating technology, developing innovative public policies, and working together with the G20 cities to build a modern and efficient state that makes life easier for everyone who lives, works, studies, or visits us in Buenos Aires.”

The World Economic Forum’s inaugural Pioneers of Change Summit takes place online on 16-20 November. The summit brings together more than 750 leaders from government, business, and civil society from more than 90 countries. The meeting takes place when there is a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset the world. Key topics discussed include digital business, sustainable production, infrastructure, health, new work models, financial innovation, and frontier technologies.

Source: World Economic Forum

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 5:14 AM | Link to this Post

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