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ITU adopts smart sustainable city KPIs

ICTs, smart cities and collaboration will be key to achieving all the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, says the ITU's Houlin Zhao.

ICTs, smart cities and collaboration will be key to achieving all the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, says the ITU's Houlin Zhao.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has signed declaration to promote the use of the internationally agreed key performance indicators (KPIs) for the successful transition to smart sustainable cities.

Last week, during the 6th annual ITU Green Standards Week in Uruguay's capital, Montevideo, policymakers adopted the "Montevideo Declaration". It aims to unlock the potential of ICTs for sustainable urbanisation, as well as create a critical knowledge base, encourage the use of open data platforms, develop solutions for e-waste management, and finally make ICT accessibility a reality.

Green Standards Week acts as a global platform to raise awareness of the importance and opportunities of using ICTs to protect the environment and expedite the transition to smart sustainable cities. This year's theme focused on the forthcoming UN conference Habitat III – a major global summit, formally known as the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, to be held in Quito, Ecuador, next month.

According to the ITU, the Montevideo Declaration promotes smart sustainable cities and ICTs as key elements of the new urban agenda to be adopted at Habitat III.

"ICTs, smart cities and collaboration with all key stakeholders including citizens will be key to the achievement of all the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, but especially SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities," says ITU secretary-general, Houlin Zhao.

He explains that a smart sustainable city is an innovative city that uses ICTs and other means to improve quality of life, efficiency of urban operation and services, and competitiveness, while ensuring it meets the needs of present and future generations with respect to economic, social, environmental and cultural aspects.

"A crucial issue in the development of smart sustainable cities will be international standards to ensure interoperability so that equipment and systems produced by different vendors work together seamlessly and to reduce costs through economies of scale," says Malcolm Johnson, ITU deputy secretary-general.

The ITU notes that with an estimated 70% of the world population living in cities by 2050, it will be a major challenge to supply the basic requirements, including food, water and efficient-energy, while also ensuring economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Smart and sustainable cities with their ubiquitous communication networks, wireless sensor technology, and intelligent management systems are capable of effectively addressing these challenges, while creating new and exciting means of living, doing business and sharing knowledge, it adds.

To support the ongoing research on Smart Sustainable Cities, ITU and the UN Economic Commission for Europe, along with other UN agencies, have created the United for Smart Sustainable Cities Initiative to advocate for public policies that can facilitate the integration of ICTs for smart sustainable city transitions.

U4SSC member agencies will support the Habitat III conference and the development of the New Urban Agenda.


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