United Smart Cities (USC)
Description/achievement of initiative

The United Smart Cities program was jointly initiated by UNECE and other industrial partners. Key areas are urban mobility, sustainable housing, clean energy, waste management and ICT. Its objectives are as follows: a) Decrease vulnerability of cities to urban migration, demographic changes, environmental degradation and climate change b) Reduce carbon footprint of cities c) Enhance the quality of life for inhabitants d) Improve the environmental quality of the cities e) Establish public-private partnerships (PPPs)

Implementation methodologies

The program aims to examine the concept of a smart city in different geographical contexts, develop and establish Smart City indicators, establish partnership and cooperation for action, promote exchange of best practices and knowledge transfer on sustainable urban development, including “smart cities” and scale up the concept of smart cities and create a multiplier effect.In the absence of a universally accepted tool for assessing the smartness of cities, the program will develop and employ a profiling tool that brings together research and thinking in several institutions on the subject for assessing a city’s comparative ratings in several areas. The central part of the project is therefore to develop smart city profiles based on a set of development indicators using the Smart City PROFILES approach. This methodology was elaborated and tested by EAA (12 participating cities across 5 core areas of activity in urban development). The PROFILES contain specific policy recommendations for “smartening” the cities. The analyzed indicators and the prepared city profiles give a full and detailed picture of the characteristics and special features of cities and are reproduced by other cities. The next stages are measuring results and data from pilot cities and develop “smart product packages” suitable for cities on certain characteristics/development level. The steps of the program can be summarized as follows:• Formal request of relevant city or national government to UNECE.• Establishment of international/local experts’ team put together by UNECE and OiER• Establish PPPs – financing of the project.• The Study/ Smart City PROFILE – A strategic analysis of the entire city development and management in cooperation with the city/municipal authorities. For the preparation of the city PROFILE, missions to the relevant city/municipal authorities are undertaken and conducted by representatives from UNECE together with the team of experts. • Distribution of the city PROFILE publication published by UN jointly with the project partners.• Follow-up of city action plans and annual reviews of their implementation. Support to the cities by project partners of technical assistance.• The program offers City seminars after the study has been carried out to discuss strategies, implementation and the recommendations given by the international/local expert team.

Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer

The Program will address barriers to bringing efficient urban planning and technological solutions to urban issues. The objective is to build capacities at the local levels by establishing city organizing committees (COC) to identify highest priority areas for setting the target cities on a path to transformation within the areas of:1. Energy and resource conservation2. Access to basic infrastructure and services such as water and sanitation systems 3. Waste management and recycling 4. Transportation solutions 5. Construction and sustainable/affordable housing 6. Harnessing of information technology 7. Sustainable economic development through generation of smart business opportunities8. Health and social services. Leading global technology corporations in ten USC sub-sectors will be selected as main private sector partners. In that capacity they will provide technical and financial inputs as well as expertise into the profiling and assessment of cities, formulation and analysis of investment projects that will introduce new technology solutions for overcoming weaknesses and closing gaps. This program has several development aspects within the selected areas. There is also a geographical development component when it comes to the coverage of developing countries, medium income countries and economies in transition. In this context, the Executing Agencies will build capacities in the target countries/cities for establishing top level Organizing Committees in each city to ensure that:• Inputs of all relevant bodies in the city structure are included.• There is coordination among local authorities and local businesses.• Local resources are integrated.• The participating cities and municipals are supported in planning and managing capabilities in order to facilitate the implement the USC process.

Coordination mechanisms/governance structure

United Smart Cities is a multi-stakeholder project coordinated, governed and implemented by the Organization for International Relations (OiER) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). Project management is shared between the UNECE office in Geneva and the OiER Secretariat in Vienna. A central part of the project is the development of smart city profiles based on a set of development indicators. The profiles contain specific policy recommendations for "smartening" the cities. Procedural steps for the preparation of city profiles, in cooperation with the participating cities, are thoroughly monitored. The procedure is as follows: Request from relevant city or government to UNECE, team of international and local experts are established, collection of data (research mission) and distribution of city profile publications by UNECE. The project will work to establish linkages between the public and the private sector and develop cross-sector partnerships to ensure a sustainable and long-term development of Smart Cities. OiER is also coordinating the funding mechanisms from the public and private sector. The City Organizing Committee (COC) is the primary counterpart for all project activities and the most important requirement for successful program implementation. The COC is a multi-stakeholder alliance of important organizations from the city administration, private sector, relevant government departments, citizens´, environmental groups, consumer groups, finance sector etc. The City Authorities and other stakeholders contribute to the implementation of activities.- UNECE and OiER: Consultations with municipals authorities and stakeholders, select pilot cities, workshops and seminars, project presentations, communication, policy guidelines.- UNECE: publication of studies- OiER: Bringing in industry partners to the 12 urban sectors. Establish a platform for exchange of lessons learned and best practice. Involvement, facilitation and implementation of the Private Sector participation and PPPs, financial mechanism for smart urban solutions, development of project documents, and identification of smart city financing mechanisms.- EAA and TU: Development of city profiles methodology with indicators for the evaluation of smart city practices elaborated and shared with partners.- EAA: Indicators management.- UN-Habitat: Technical innovations, sustainable urban planning.


Multi-stakeholder project initiated by UNECE and OiER in cooperation with EAA, RICS, UN-Habitat and ISOCARP
Progress reports
Goal 6
Goal 7
Goal 8
Goal 9
Goal 11
Goal 13
Goal 17
August 2018
Standardized methodology (indicators) for profiling cities, identifying areas of action for improving their smartness and assessing the impact of actions on the city.
Staff / Technical expertise
From UNECE, EAA and OiER

Basic information
Time-frame: September 2014 - September 2018
Multi-stakeholder project initiated by UNECE and OiER in cooperation with EAA, RICS, UN-Habitat and ISOCARP
Contact information
Kari Aina Eik, Secretary General , sg.office@oier.pro
United Nations