Barcelona/Nairobi, 3 February 2022- UN-Habitat invites global public and private solution providers who offer digital platforms for public participation to present their solutions at a series of pitch sessions with global cities. UN-Habitat works with a challenge-driven innovation approach to identify issues and challenges faced locally by cities.

This is a unique opportunity to work with UN-Habitat and partners to identify best practices, present digital platform tools, network with cities and other organisations, and understand how to evaluate and assess digital technologies that promote inclusion and are people centred. Solution providers will have the chance to present their products to a broader market audience and improve products based on user feedback. 

Digital platforms for public participation are diversifying how cities engage with the public and hold the potential to strengthen democratic processes. However, digital transformation journeys are purely based on technology deployments.  The adoption of digital platforms by local governments must take in consideration elements such as the digital divide, accessibility, and inclusion, in order to prevent digital services from becoming inherently exclusionary for those who do not have access to devices or infrastructure.

Local governments must also consider the digital skills and capacity of public servants to manage such platforms, and the opportunities and challenges presented by the data they generate.  Cities working towards digitisation must understand what elements in a digital platform are relevant for people-centred and inclusive strategies, and how to evaluate such platforms while building additional capacity. 

For solution providers, this requires offering solutions that are transparent about how they work, are interoperable with existing systems, have features that are inclusive of different groups, support offline and online engagement, and are able to support democratic mandates and principles. 

This challenge, as part of the People-Centred Smart Cities programme, provides a space for solution providers to present their products to cities from around the world, and highlight best practices of their tools. In working with UN-Habitat and cities, solutions providers have the opportunity to understand real demands and challenges faced by cities, and can incorporate the feedback received through these participatory processes to enhance the functionalities and architecture of the technology they offer.  

UN-Habitat’s flagship programme “People-Centred Smart Cities” acknowledges the tremendous positive impact of digital technologies on people’s lives, as an inclusive force for good, if implemented with a firm commitment to improving people’s lives and building city systems that truly serve their communities.

Application details

To participate, fill this form before Friday 4 March, 2022.

More details about the pitch sessions, including information about cities attending it, will be announced after the open call process has been finalized.