City2City

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"European Way" initiative aims to scale digital transformation in cities

13 Dec 2019 - The Join, Boost, Sustain initiative will help to define the ethical, financial, legal, and technical framework for digitalization in cities and communities across Europe.

13 Dec 2019 - The Join, Boost, Sustain initiative, which aims to expand the uptake of digital solutions in cities and create the "European Way" of digital transformation, has been kicked off in the Finnish city of Oulu.

Those driving the program are urging cities to join forces as they warn cooperation across geographical areas and between sectors is needed to allow communities to develop efficient, cost-effective and citizen-centric services.

The European Declaration to join forces for sustainable digital transformation in cities and communities was signed at the Oulu Boost Event 2019 in Finland, which brought together top-level decision-makers and officials from leading European cities.

The signing process to onboard more cities will continue at the Cities Forum in Porto on 30-31 January and beyond.

The approach seeks to ensure technological leadership in the EU while respecting European values and diversity, as well as individuals’ digital rights. It also aims to drive large-scale uptake of solutions through open, interoperable, cross-sector and cross-border platforms.

CONTINUE READING: https://www.smartcitiesworld.net/smart-cities-news/european-way-initiative-aims-to-scale-digital-transformation-in-cities-4859

Image: Smart Cities World

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ASEAN Smart City Network: Thinking Beyond Ceremonial Paradiplomacy

30 Nov 2019 - The implementation of the ASEAN Smart City Network (ASCN) foresees that ASEAN countries will work together in creating smart urban areas which are based on three strategic outcomes: a high quality of life, a competitive economy, and a sustainable environment. 

30 Nov 2019 -  On November 3, ASEAN conducted its 35th summit in Bangkok, Thailand. One notable point was the acknowledgment of the ASEAN Smart City Network Action Plan. The action plan is the next step of the ASEAN Smart City Network (ASCN), where the ASEAN member states have previously agreed on the 32nd summit to collaborate on developmental approaches in addressing city-specific needs.

ASCN was formed when ASEAN was under Singapore’s leadership in 2018, with the leading themes of “resilience” and “innovation.” As a regional organization that oversees 10 Southeast Asian countries, ASEAN is home to 630 million people and the is the world’s sixth-largest economy when combined. Moreover, its population is steadily urbanizing; approximately 350 million people in ASEAN are now concentrated in urban areas. With the ASCN, ASEAN is expected to be able to answer classic urban problems in developing communities such as traffic jams, poverty, pollution, and homelessness. At the same time, ASEAN also needs to capitalize on this urbanization trend to create an innovative climate for business.

The implementation of ASCN foresees that ASEAN countries will work together in creating smart urban areas which are based on three strategic outcomes: a high quality of life, a competitive economy, and a sustainable environment. Currently, there are 26 cities taking part in the program, each represented by a Chief Smart City Officer (CSCO) appointed by their respective national governments.

There are six developmental focus areas of ASCN, including civic and social, health and well-being, safety and security, quality environment, infrastructure, also industry and innovation. These developmental focuses are designed to align with the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, promoting sustainable urbanization within the ASEAN region.

CONTINUE READING: https://thediplomat.com/2019/11/asean-smart-city-network-thinking-beyond-ceremonial-paradiplomacy/

Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay 

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UNDP, Hilton Foundation launch new platform to support smart, inclusive cities

4 Oct 2019 - UNDP, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and partners jointly launched City2City.Network, a new platform aimed at helping cities manage challenges strategically—and learn from each other.

4 Oct 2019 - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and partners jointly launched City2City.Network, a new platform aimed at helping cities manage challenges strategically—and learn from each other.

City2City.Network will facilitate a forum to find solutions to contemporary urban challenges and promote leadership, learning, and innovation. Administered by UNDP and launched alongside the 74th United Nations General Assembly, it will focus on areas such as digital transformation, energy and climate change, resilience, governance, the informal economy, and municipal financing for development.

With the world rapidly urbanizing, city administrators will play a crucial role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a time-bound roadmap agreed by all 193 UN member States in 2015. At least 110 of 169 SDG targets will require direct engagement of cities and local authorities.

Some 70 million people migrate to cities globally every year. By 2050, the world’s urban population is projected to reach 70 percent of total population—up from 54 percent today. Cities also produce more than 70 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and use 80 percent of the world’s energy. Many fast-growing cities struggle to meet surging demand for services and infrastructure, worsening social and geographic segregation.

City2City.network will help cities share experiences and innovative solutions and access cutting-edge knowledge to help build inclusive and smart urban communities.

CONTINUE READING: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/news-centre/news/2019/shaping-our-future--inclusive-smart-cities.html

Image by Pexels from Pixabay 

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Cities are engines for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Much of the 2030 Agenda will be ‘fought and won’ in urban centres, where more than half the world’s population live

17 Jul 2019 - With the majority of the global population now living in cities and the numbers growing daily, making cities inclusive, sustainable, resilient and safe is critical to achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to speakers at a high level UN meeting in New York today.

The event, led by the UN Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) on the margins of this week’s High-level Political Forum, focused on how the cities of the world are accelerating progress towards the SDGs, as well as showcasing how SDG implementation in cities can contribute to transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies.

Chairing the meeting, UN Deputy Secretary-General and UNSDG Chair Amina Mohammed said that “cities are economic powerhouses with an estimated global GDP share of 88 percent by 2025. However, cities are also locus of complex and interconnected challenges: producing more than 50 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and using 80 percent of the world’s energy.” She concluded that “we need to get urbanization right to achieve the 2030 Agenda.”

The event provided a unique opportunity for Member States, city authorities and non-state actors to come together to showcase their own innovative work, and to illustrate how the UN system can support these efforts.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/news-centre/news/2018/cities-a...

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Piecing together resilient cities

31 Oct 2018 - Over half of the global population lives in cities; by 2030, 60% of people will make cities their home.

At this pace of growth, coupled with the increasing effects of climate change on global urban centres, when considering Sustainable Development, we must consider the urban.

In the past 20 years, disasters have killed around 1.3 million people and left 4.4 billion more injured, homeless, displaced or in need of emergency assistance. With climate change progressing in an unprecedented manner, and so is urbanization, this year’s World Cities Day, organized by UN-Habitat along with the cities of Shanghai and Liverpool, centres around the call to action: Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities.

Building sustainable and resilient cities, like the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), encompass a wide variety of issues. We asked urban experts, across social, climate, and innovation spheres, to share their opinion on how cities should look in the future to better respond to the challenges ahead of us.

Continue reading online here: https://medium.com/@UNDP/piecing-together-resilient-cities-173b9e0e75c4

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Climate change reveals underlying threats to urban water

height: 1.875; margin-bottom: 1rem; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px; orphans: 2; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-top: 0px; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px;">10 Jul 2019 - Fears of cities running out of water have become very real in several parts of the world, most recently in South Asia in places such as Karachi, Islamabad, Chennai, and Delhi. These crises reveal severe underlying problems with water resource management and distribution.   

height: 1.875; margin-bottom: 1rem; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px; orphans: 2; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-top: 0px; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px;">Urban areas occupy only a small percentage of the Earth’s surface. Yet, they are home to well over half of the world’s population. The traditional response to their growing water needs has been to bring  supplies from increasingly distant places. These can be impressive feats of engineering, but they often fail to serve everybody, as distribution can be faulty, even in normal times. To keep up with growing urban economies and populations, cities need to be much smarter about how they govern their water.

height: 1.875; margin-bottom: 1rem; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px; orphans: 2; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-top: 0px; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px;">Here are four ways that can happen:

height: 1.875; margin-bottom: 1rem; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px; orphans: 2; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-top: 0px; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px;">Catchment management: Encourage land use and agricultural methods that reduce evaporation and help rainwater infiltration, which is necessary for groundwater to recharge. This also helps reduce seasonal variation and the risk of flooding. Watershed management also involves preserving water quality, which can reduce the cost of treatment. This is best seen in New York City, which has the largest unfiltered water supply in the world – careful protection of the catchment has avoided the cost of a US$10 billion filtration plant.

height: 1.875; margin-bottom: 1rem; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px; orphans: 2; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-top: 0px; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px;">Water reuse: Global water flows are cyclical, but traditionally engineered urban water systems are linear, with limited reuse. Housing a growing share of world’s population in a limited space requires a near revolutionary tightening of the urban water cycle which means better water use efficiency and recycling. This requires greater attention to water quality management and ending water pollution. Nature-based solutions have a lot to offer to ensure cost-effectiveness and long-term sustainability.

height: 1.875; margin-bottom: 1rem; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px; orphans: 2; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-top: 0px; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px;">Continue reading online here: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2019/climate-change-revea...

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Ukraine: Exploring grassroots solutions to accelerate urban renewal

28 Jun 2019 - It is a bright Saturday morning and you are walking down the central street of your beautiful but run-down city when a stranger approaches with a question: Will you to contri

28 Jun 2019 - It is a bright Saturday morning and you are walking down the central street of your beautiful but run-down city when a stranger approaches with a question: Will you to contribute money to restore the city’s historic properties? Do you trust the person? Or dismiss the idea as a scam?

That’s the unusual choice that recently confronted residents of Ivano-Frankivsk, a historic city in western Ukraine. One person who was approached was Anastasiya Solianyk, an employee of Action Global Communication and resident of the city. Solianyk chose to trust the stranger and she contributed $100.

She was not the only micro-donor. Within several months many residents put aside their skepticism and donated small sums that a long-shot initiative launched to preserve historic doors has grown into something like a civic movement now working on conservation projects for historic tiles, antique windows, and struggling to preserve actual local historical sites.

When urban and social spaces meet

UNDP met Anastasiya recently at one of the many events organized by the Accelerator Lab Network initiative. UNDP Ukraine is becoming an Accelerator Lab soon and, as part of that transformation, staff are exploring Ukraine’s innovation ecosystem, working to identify successful local solutions to local problems with the aim of nurturing and fast-tracking projects that might accelerate development.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://medium.com/@acclabs/ukraine-exploring-grassroots-solutions-to-accelerate-urban-renewal-dd2f297531b2

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Strengthening Development and Building Local Resilience in Turkey

11 Sept 2019 - UNDP Turkey - Increasing demand for additional public services is always challenging for any developing nation.

11 Sept 2019 - UNDP Turkey - Increasing demand for additional public services is always challenging for any developing nation. At local level, the situation is indeed even pressing since urban settlements are usually at the forefront in hosting displaced individuals due to complex emergencies, natural disasters and humanitarian crisis. Sudden and significant increase in population might worsen the existing challenges with respect to basic public services delivery, with already strained capacity in infrastructure and superstructure. Firefighting capacities, emergency response, parks and gardens management, trash pick-up and storage, solid waste, wastewater treatment; imagine all the services that you might expect from your hometown’s local administration to be at stake. This might create serious public health, environmental and social cohesion related risks, business and economic losses, intra-community tensions.

UNDP is helping Turkish municipalities, local people and displaced Syrians for strengthening the capacity and quality of the municipal services in the regions affected by the ongoing Syria crisis. And it attracts nation-wide attention. 12 prominent journalists payed a visit to Hatay region, where ratio of the Syrian population accounts for around 25%. The beautiful province, which has been known as the “Cradle of civilisations”, famous with its rich culture of tolerance and hospitality, is now hosting the largest Syrian population after Istanbul, Şanlıurfa and Gaziantep. And the city, together with its people and institutions, is striving to cope with its limited resources and recover from the negative effects of the ongoing Syria crisis. And UNDP is part of the solution.

Are you curious about the deep and direct correlation between sustainable development, resilience, even crisis response, and municipal service delivery? Buckle-up your seats, we are taking you to Hatay, Turkey’s “Crisis response laboratory”, to see what we have achieved on the ground. To witness what difference development assistance and cooperation might create, when right approach, policies, strategy, planning and instruments are in place.    

“UNDP is in a different position within the UN bodies. It is the only organization working to strengthen the infrastructure of municipalities and has the human resources to execute the project all the way; such as engineers, purchasing specialists etc. It communicates with local institutions through its experienced teams, produces projects that will meet the needs and goes for fund-seeking.”

Wrote Ms. Gila Benmayor, one of the most important columnists and opinion makers, expert on sustainability, civil society and development areas in the major Turkish newspaper, Hürriyet. Her article series were published right after a large press delegation visited Hatay province to witness how UNDP’s European Union (EU) funded projects change lives of thousands of people in regions affected by the ongoing Syria crisis. 12 representatives from major national medias, including a television team, attended the two days long press trip. Mr. Sukhrob Khojimatov, UNDP Turkey Deputy Resident Representative, led the UNDP team in the field and hosted members of the press.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://www.tr.undp.org/content/turkey/en/home/presscenter/articles/2019/09/belediye-ve-dayaniklilik.html

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Inequality and climate change: The incredible contrasts that exist in our cities

16 Sept 2019 - The twin threats of climate change and rising inequality are challenging and unprecedented obstacles for our species. And they are deeply intertwined. 

UNDP has gathered the work of several leading photographers to take a penetrating look at these important issues.

The photos were on display at the Photoville Exhibit at Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York City, NY, USA, 12-15 & 19-22 September and are now online here

JOHNNY MILLER

Specializing in urbanization, development, and infrastructure

“The inequalities in our social fabric are oftentimes hard to see from ground level. Visual barriers prevent us from observing the incredible contrasts that exist in our cities,” Johnny says.

 In the series ‘Unequal Scenes’ Johnny uses a drone camera to see the world in a new way. The scars within our urban fabric, so apparent from above, can provoke a sense of surprise—we literally see the ‘wrong side of the tracks’.

Photo: The population of Mumbai, India’s largest city, has burgeoned in the last few years as people migrate from other regions in search of work. A leader in finance and film, the city is also an in-progress experiment in growth and development. November 2017.

A new vantage point is reached by placing a remote-controlled drone above these liminal spaces. The drone distances the photographer and the viewer of the photograph, both physically and mentally, and provokes an analysis of the distant gaze. It forces us to confront the ethics of representation, and the limitations (and freedom) of using technology in image-making. How high does the drone need to be to reach an ‘ethical’ altitude? Who should have access to the airspace and the technology? Are drone images fundamentally different from Google Earth or a printed map?

If the images provoke fear, despair, or an unsettling realization of complicity—good. They are intended to.” 

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://stories.undp.org/997ccd59d6fbff50efc5c08552f3602f

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Designing plans to withstand climate change in Uruguay's cities

20 Aug 2019 - Uruguay is vulnerable to climate change. Its coastline is more than 680 kilometres long and around 70 percent of the population lives near it.

20 Aug 2019 - Uruguay is vulnerable to climate change. Its coastline is more than 680 kilometres long and around 70 percent of the population lives near it. And most of the country—93 percent—lives in urban areas.

The country has faced many more frequent and intense floods and droughts over the past decade than in previous years. In 2015 20,000 people were displaced from the Salto, Paysandú and Artigas regions in storms that caused widespread damage and economic loss. Also that year, a prolonged dry spell caused significant losses in the agricultural sector, which, along with tourism, forms a significant part of the Uruguayan economy.

When you consider these dynamics and that temperatures could increase by two to three degrees Celsius by 2100, it is clear Uruguay has some challenges ahead as it attempts to construct a climate-resilient future.

But it also has many things in its favour.

To measure the progress of urban adaptation, NAP-Cities has designed a system of indicators for monitoring adaptation to climate change and variability.

It has defined 25 indicators in five dimensions; public spaces and green soil; infrastructure and buildings; social systems; governance and responsiveness; and education, knowledge, and information. These will identify the cities with the most exposure to climate risks. These indicators link the NAP-Cities with the PNCC, the NDC, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Agenda, and are there for other cities to use.

The project is an opportunity to involve the private sector, both in the integration of climate risks into their risk management plans and in developing new ways to build resilience.

Continue reading online here: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2019/creating-plans-to-wi...