With its extensive knowledge on urban development, UN-Habitat supports national and local governments to harness digital technologies by acquiring new skills and developing additional capacity, and advocates for the inclusion of marginalized and vulnerable groups to be included in smart cities and digital transformation processes. The People-centred Smart Cities Programme builds a strong case for financing innovation that aims at improving the lives of people living in cities, with a focus on the Global South and those left behind.
International guidelines on people-centred smart cities
Member States agree on the need to fill global normative gaps in the domain of smart cities and digitalization and have committed to supporting the development of international guidelines. With Resolution HSP/HA.2/Res.1, UN-Habitat has been mandated to initiate the development of International Guidelines on People-centred Smart Cities through an inclusive consultative process. The guidelines, which will be developed by 2025, will serve as a non-binding framework for developing national and local smart city regulations, plans and strategies to ensure that digital urban infrastructure and data contribute to making cities and human settlements sustainable, inclusive, prosperous and respectful of human rights.
UN-Habitat is conducting a global assessment on smart cities – the World Smart Cities Outlook – to serve as a factual bedrock for the upcoming guidelines. A global Expert Working Group, composed of experts nominated by Member States, serves as the primary advisory body for the development of the guidelines, which are expected to be available in 2025.
In carrying out this work, UN-Habitat is building on lessons learned and ongoing projects under the umbrella of the People-centred smart cities programme and beyond, tapping into the experience and knowledge of the partners UN-Habitat works with.