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Looking forward to 2024: plans and objectives for the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights - all you need to know’

A Global package with renewed missions for the Coalition

In its 5th anniversary, the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights decided to pave new ways and ambitions for promoting digital human rights in cities. During the Digital Society Digital Cities international conference organised by Bordeaux in October 2023, the Annual Political Meeting and the General Assembly of the Coalition were held and saw the presentation of a Global Package for Digital Human Rights in cities, with six concrete missions, three services and goals to work towards making cities’ digital transformation more equitable, open, inclusive, and sustainable.

Each mission is led by two cities. During the events in Bordeaux, the leading cities pitched the missions and the services to members and partners. , the services - the digital rights lab,the think tank and the academy will support the accomplishment of each mission’s goals. 

The six  missions are:

  1. Boost transparency & participation in data and digital technologies (led by Amsterdam and Barcelona)
  2. Provide proactive digital services that meet resident needs (led by Helsinki and Porto)
  3. Promote the ethical use of digital technologies and data (led by New York city and Toronto)
  4. Promote tangible solutions for inclusion (led by London and Portland)
  5. Empower residents and cities to support digital rights. (led by Vienna and Dublin)
  6. Make digital rights part of the global agenda (led by Bordeaux and Maceio)

Concrete activities for 2024

In 2024, the CC4DR will focus on advocating at EU and international levels for digital human rights, as local politicians from city members announced their engagement towards it. The Coalition will organise a Digital rights day in 2024, led by Bordeaux, and support its members to implement digital human rights frameworks. The partners, Eurocities, UCLG and UN-Habitat, continue to support the Coalition to promote digital human rights on the global agenda. 

The Coalition will also work to provide concrete solutions and opportunities to help cities guarantee the protection and promotion of digital human rights. For example, In the roadmap 2024, Helsinki, one of the leading cities of Mission 2, planned the organisation of “MyData Task Force”, a working group that will support cities to adapt to emerging topics related to data and to benefit from the new opportunities offered by consent-based personal data sharing. Toronto and New York city, will organise online sessions on generative AI and produce guidelines to ensure ethical uses and protect vulnerable populations from it. Finally, Vienna and Dublin will focus on developing a Digital Human Rights Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), with the objective of providing general and specific knowledge for civil servants and employees of city agencies and firms. The course will help public servants and practitioners to develop new innovative ways to devise technical systems and digital services driven by human rights and the promotion of social justice.

A new Platform on cities and digital rights to ensure the protection of human rights in the digital age

During the Smart City Expo in Barcelona, Nicolás Rebolledo (UNIT) presented the new platform for cities and digital human rights,co-developed with UN-Habitat, CAF - the development bank of Latin America and the Caribbean, the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights and UNITt. 

The platform Cities and Digital Human Rights - -   is a milestone in the cooperation efforts to  foster more inclusive digital transformation journeys and bring it closer to the people. Allpublic servants are invited to join this community by sharing digital transformation projects with a human rights-based approach. The projects shared on the platform have the opportunity to be highlighted as examples of digital transformation at a global level, thus contributing to the development and improvement of similar initiatives in different countries around the world. 

A look on the main achievements during the Smart City Expo in Barcelona - Nov 2023

On the third day of the Smart City Expo in Barcelona, the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights and UN-Habitat hosted the collaborative panel: ‘Human Rights in the Digital Era: Lessons From Cities in Europe and Latin America’. The panel consisted of Claudia Bailey, representing Dublin City Council, along with Marcelo Zander, Undersecretary of Management and Modernisation City of Niterói, Brazil, and Manon Reniers, Project Coordinator, City of Brussels, Belgium. Each city representative presented their process in creating content around digital rights in their respective cities:

Dublin developed three educational modules as part of the Digital Rights Governance Project and shared key learnings from delivering the modules to the youth, local authority, and community audiences. 

Brussels launched its Digital Rights Charter, a policy document setting new commitments and actions to be implemented in order to promote human rights in the digital sphere and reduce the digital divide. 

Niteroi created a methodology for digital transformation, focusing mostly on designing inclusive and accessible digitised public services.

Going forward, the learnings from the digital rights pilot programs in both Europe and Latin America will form a knowledge base to accelerate the digital transformation forward in more cities around the world. Collaboration and communication between cities creates an engaged network of city-leaders who will work together to enact real change.


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