‘Cities need to expand their capacities so as to be prepared and equipped to lead digital transformation strategies that are people-centered and support sustainable urbanization towards the public good’
Digital technologies influence change at a fast pace in society, and might have harmful impact on individuals and communities. Against this backdrop, cities need enhanced models of governance to manage opportunities and risks driven by technology and ensure digital rights, which ultimately are human rights in the digital space, are protected and promoted. Cities need to expand their capacities so as to be prepared and equipped to lead digital transformation strategies that are people-centered and support sustainable urbanization towards the public good.
The deployment of digital solutions in cities, especially in geographies where the discussion of ethics and inclusion in technology is less developed, must have transparency, accountability and community participation at the forefront of its practices, in order to ensure that considerations over human rights in the digital space become as evident as universal human rights in the near future.
This project, developed by the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights, together with UN-Habitat, UCLG and Eurocities, in partnership with Open Society Foundation, intends to expand cities capacities so as to be prepared and equipped to lead digital transformation strategies that are people-centered and support sustainable urbanization towards the public good. The project has of two main components aimed at fostering digital rights in a principled and practical way:
The Cities Coalition for Digital Rights, launched by the Cities of Amsterdam, Barcelona. and New York in November 2018 and now with a membership of over 50 cities worldwide, is a network of cities helping each other in the greenfield of digital rights based policy-making. The Coalition is committed to promoting and defending digital rights in urban context through city action, to resolve common digital challenges and work towards legal, ethical and operational frameworks to advance human rights in digital environments. United in spirit and ambition, the Coalition supports principled actions and pragmatic guidance through city-to-city collaboration.
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, is the United Nations agency working towards a better urban future. In close coordination with national and local governments, the agency leads the monitoring of SDG11 on sustainable cities and communities as well as the New Urban Agenda. In its Strategic Plan 2020-2023 and in the New Urban Agenda, frontier technologies are driving forces for inclusion and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, but require proper governance, mechanisms and capacity to address inequalities and leave no one behind in digital transformation strategies.