The G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance on Technology Governance will create global norms and policy standards for the use of connected devices in public spaces, a World Economic Forum (WEF) release said.
The Global Smart Cities Alliance’s founding set of institutional partners include the presidents and host nations of the Group of 20 (G20) in 2019 and 2020; Japan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; the Smart City Mission of India; Cities for All; Cities Today Institute; Commonwealth Local Government Forum; Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Network among others.
“Smart city technologies offer huge promise, but they can be a Pandora’s box. Today’s announcement is a critical first step to accelerate global best practices, mitigate risks, and foster greater openness and public trust regarding the collection of data in public spaces,” said Jeff Merritt, Head of Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics and Smart Cities at the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Smart city technologies can help decrease traffic congestion, combat crime, improve resilience during natural disasters and reduce greenhouse emissions. Without proper governance, these technologies pose significant risk, notably to privacy and security, the release noted.
Kunal Kumar, Joint Secretary and Director of India’s Smart Cities Mission said that the rapid growth and expansion of cities brings “both enormous opportunities and significant challenges”.
“India is at the forefront of this urban transformation and is committed to ensuring that our cities develop in a way that is smart and sustainable. The Smart Cities Mission looks forward to working together with city leaders around the world to share best practices and forge new policy standards for the responsible and ethical use of smart technologies in our cities,” Kumar added.
Established in June 2019, in conjunction with the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, the Alliance comprises 15 of the world’s leading city networks and technology governance organisations.
The partners represent more than 2,00,000 cities and local governments, leading companies, start-ups, research institutions, and civil society organisations. The World Economic Forum serves as the secretariat.
The new global policy standards for privacy, security and sustainability of smart technologies will be rolled out in advance of 2020 G20 Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The first policy design workshops with city leaders will be held in November 2019 in conjunction with the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
“As urban populations grow, smart city technologies become more and more essential not only to improve the quality of life of citizens but also to simply keep our cities livable,” said Chizuru Suga, Head of the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Japan.