Niterói is a Brazilian municipality located in the metropolitan region of the state of Rio de Janeiro, with a population of around 550,000 inhabitants, a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.837, and a per capita GDP of approximately R$ 90.6 thousand. Also, Niterói has the 5th highest rate of internet access in households in Brazil.
Niterói is among the top 10 smartest cities in Brazil, according to the 2022 Connected Smart Cities Ranking (access here). The objective of this ranking is to map Brazilian cities with over 50,000 inhabitants that have the greatest potential for development through 75 indicators distributed across 11 thematic areas.
The city’s roadmap, which indicates where the city of Niterói wants to go, is the "Niterói We Want Strategic Plan 2013-2033 (NQQ)". Developed in 2013 with wide popular participation from entrepreneurs, researchers, artists, athletes, teachers, and public school students, the NQQ guides municipal management in implementing public policies in 7 Result Areas: 1. Organized and Safe; 2. Healthy; 3. Educated and Innovative; 4. Prosperous and Dynamic; 5. Vibrant and Attractive; 6. Inclusive; 7. Efficient and Committed.
The municipal management is also recognized for its public transparency. Niterói has ranked 1st six times in rankings by the Office of the Comptroller General of the Union and the Federal Public Ministry, in the years 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2021. In terms of fiscal management of public resources, Niterói ranked 1st in the state of Rio de Janeiro in the 2020 Firjan Fiscal Management Index.
The Niterói Digital Government Strategy (2023-2033) was launched in December and is coordinated by the Secretariat of Planning, Budget and Modernization of Management (SEPLAG). It aims at guiding the digital transformation of the municipality, seeking greater efficiency, simplicity, and ease of access to services and public policies, as well as increasing transparency.
After a highly collaborative process that began in March 2022, involving the participation of over 30 municipal agencies and entities, as well as various experts in the field, guiding principles were defined with the mission of creating an innovative and sustainable environment in the city, directing efforts to make Niterói a more digital, integrated, human, and accessible city. All actions are in line with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda, the National Digital Government Strategy, as well as the municipal planning instruments such as the Niterói We Want 2013-2033 plan and the 2021-2025 Multi-Year Plan.
Niterói also launched in 2022 a Smart, Human and Sustainable City Plan. The plan aims to be a tool for general strategic guidelines that will help establish the framework for Niterói's smart, human, and sustainable city. Through collaborative work - involving the integration of various municipal departments and agencies, as well as dialogues and consultations with academia and the private sector - the document presents principles, visions, and guidelines that should serve as a foundation for current and future transformation initiatives in the municipality of Niterói. The plan presents a diagnosis, showing the starting point of the city, with its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and then reaching the goals and potential initiatives, seeking indicators that will aid in monitoring and tracking the city's activities (access here).
The city of Niterói is already working to protect & uphold digital rights principles:
Universal and equal access to internet, and digital literacy
- The Digital Government Strategy of Niterói plans to provide 6 local points of free internet access (broadband) to the population by 2025.
- The Digital Government Strategy of Niterói plans to train over 50 women in situations of vulnerability in the use of technologies for prevention and promotion of rights by 2024.
- The Digital Government Strategy of Niterói plans to empower over 100 elderly individuals annually in the use of digital technologies for obtaining documents and digital services, until 2026.
- Niterói has digital urban platforms in socially vulnerable territories. These platforms are facilities where the population can access the internet and participate in technology-focused training courses, such as 3D printing, robotics, drone usage, among others.
Privacy, data protection and literacy
- The Municipal Decree No. 14,741/2023 establishes guidelines, procedures, preparatory measures, and initial actions for compliance with the provisions of the General Data Protection Law (LGPD) within the scope of the Municipal Executive Branch and establishes the Personal Data Protection Governance Policy (PGPD).
- In the city’s methodology for digital transformation of public services, the aim is to simplify service request forms by reducing the excessive and unnecessary requirement of data, information, and documents that are not in the public interest. The city is guided by the principles of privacy by design.
- The Digital Government Strategy of Niterói plans to publish an Information Security Policy by 2025.
Transparency, accountability, and non-discrimination of data, content and algorithms
- The Transparency Portal is the digital platform where society can track the use of public resources, information about bidding procedures, detailed expenses such as payroll, among others. Since 2021, the city has been conducting studies in partnership with researchers from the Federal Fluminense University and developing incremental improvements to make the Transparency Portal more accessible and user-friendly. The Transparency Portal can be accessed on https://transparencia.niteroi.rj.gov.br. In total, since 2015, Niterói has achieved first place 6 times in the Transparency Rankings of the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office and the Office of the Federal General Controller.
- The Digital Government Strategy of Niterói plans to establish a Data Governance Policy for the municipality by 2024.
- The Digital Government Strategy of Niterói plans to enable assistive technologies in all the most widely used digital channels and platforms by the population by 2025.
Participatory democracy, diversity and inclusion
- The Niterói Councils Portal is a technological platform that provides transparency to information about the laws governing the creation, internal regulations, internal composition, and meeting calendar of municipal public policy councils. The councils are spaces of plural and parity composition between the State and civil society, of deliberative and/or consultative nature, whose function is to formulate, oversee, control, and propose improvements to public policies (access here).
- The Municipal Council of Transparency and Social Control is a collegiate, permanent, and autonomous body with a consultative, propositional, evaluative, and supervisory character regarding the Municipal Policy of Transparency and Social Control. The Council organised the first two conferences on municipal transparency and played an active role in the development of the Niterói Indicators Observatory, a platform that provides transparency on indicators related to various areas of municipal public policies (access here).
Open and ethical digital service standards
- The Municipality of Niterói launched the Citizen Services Portal in April 2021. The platform provides information about over 300 municipal services and allows online requests for 41 digital services. The Citizen Services Portal can be accessed on https://servicos.niteroi.rj.gov.br.
- Niterói was selected to participate in the "Cities and Digital Rights" program, coordinated by UN-Habitat, CAF, and Unit. Along with the cities of Medellin and Mexico City, the city took part in workshops and mentorships that focused on capacity building and exchange of experiences on digital rights, social participation, service design, and data privacy. Through the program, Niterói has developed an action plan for implementing initiatives related to digital rights. In the second half of 2023, the city plans to develop a guide that presents themes and best practices in digital transformation of services and human rights. This material will be used for internal capacity building of public servants involved in digital service delivery. In the process of elaboration, the aim is to involve the society through the Transparency Council and researchers from university centres to ensure a participatory approach.