Shaping smarter and more sustainable cities: striving for SDGs


The meeting is about building smart and sustainable cities in line with SDGs. In the opening remarks, Dr. Chaesub Lee pointed out that ICT infrastructure drives innovation in all economic sectors. Also, new technology contributes to make cities safe, resilient and sustainable. For example, big data helps government improve in public services. To reach the goal of building sustainable cities, he concluded by emphasizing that diverse partnership is essential.

The introduction was followed by a panel discussion. Speakers expressed their views on technology and shared experiences from their countries in building smart cities. Dr. Chaesub Lee underscored that the aim for smart cities is not to make all cities identical. Instead, smart cities should be tailor-made with local data and city priorities based on their history, culture and physical location. Agreeing with it, Mrs. Sophia Papathanasopoulou shared the Greek government’s involvement in shaping smart cities in this regard. However, she indicated the challenge to engage all stakeholders at the first stage.

Seeing this, Ms. Kari Eik from Organization for International Economic Relations (OiER) recommended to bring in financing in the beginning. To make SDG comprehensible and attractive to private sector, she stressed the need to establish a framework for the industry. Also, Mr. Eng Bruno Peters from IBI Group emphasized the need to share data in a more meaningful way to maximize investment. Lastly, Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of UNECE, reiterated the significance of private-public partnership.

Meeting: Shaping smarter and more sustainable cities: striving for SDGs (organized by Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media of Greece with ITU, UNECE and UNESCO)

Date/Location: Thursday 12th July 2018; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room E, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY.


H.E. Mrs Maria Theofili, Permanent Representative of Greece to the UN;

Dr. Chaesub Lee, Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU;

Mr. Guilherme Canela, Counsellor of Information and Communication for MERCOSUR, UNESCO;

Mrs. Sophia Papathanasopoulou, Head of National Broadband Planning Department, General Secretariat of Telecommunications and Post, Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media, Greece;

Ms. Kari Eik, Secretary General, Organization for International Economic Relations (OiER);

Mr. Alexandre Barbosa, Head of the Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society;

Mr. Eng Bruno Peters, Director, Smart Cities, Deputy Regional Director, IBI Group;

Ms. Meera Alshaikh, Project Manager, Smart Dubai;

Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary, UNECE.

Written by WIT representative Vivian Wang

HLPF 2018 Side Event: Off-grid Renewable Energy Solutions For Universal Modern Energy Access

Off-grid renewable energy solutions are key pillars to enable access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The HLPF 2018 Side Event invited private energy sectors to detail how evolving renewables technologies could better realise SDG#7.

First, the panellists provoked the latest global and regional insights on developing off-grid renewable energy solutions. They underscored the importance of promoting growth in off-grid renewable energy deployment equally around the world.

Second, the panellists highlighted the challenges of developing off-grid renewable energy solutions. On the education side, Ms. Jane Oyugi emphasised the imminent need to provide professional training to technical expertise in energy renewables. On the finance side, Ms. Sarah Alexander focused on the provision of long-term financing capital for customers to use off-grid renewable energy in less developed countries. On the policy side, Mr. Eco Matser stressed the implementation of leadership programmes in policymaking in off-grid renewable energy industries.

Third, the panellists referred to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and outlined the benefits of providing access to affordable off-grid renewable energy. They focused on how access to affordable off-grid renewables could better realise SDG#2, SDG#11 and SDG#16. At last, they reached the consensus that off-grid renewables are innovative solutions to alleviate the shortage of fossil fuels around the world at present.

HLPF 2018 Side Event: Off-grid renewable energy solutions for universal modern energy access

Thursday 12th July 2018; 13:15 to 14:30; Conference Room 12, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Dr. Rabia Ferroukhi, Deputy-Director of Knowledge, Policy and Finance, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
Mr. Divyam Nagpal, Associate Programme Officer, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
Dr. Minoru Takada, Team Leader (Sustainable Energy), UN DESA
Ms. Sarah Alexander, Senior Advisor, SELCO
Mr. Ram Prasad Dhital, Executive Director, Alternative Energy Promotion Centre, Nepal
Mr. Eli Michell-Larsen, Board of Director, SunFarmer
Mr. Eco Matser, Global Lead on Energy Access and Climate, Hivos
Ms. Jane Oyugi, Co-founder and CEO, Sustenersol

Written by: WIT Representative LAU Chun Ki

HLPF 2018: Review of SDG#11- Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Cities are the cradles of human civilisations. Currently more than half of the world’s population live in urban areas, consuming 75% of natural resources and emitting 60% of global greenhouse gases. Thus, the socio-economic well-being of human settlements remain the key pillars of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The forum reviewed the implementation of SDG#11 and provided key policy recommendations to improve the socio-economic well-being of human settlements. It began with addressing the alarming urban sprawl and dwelling slums in East and Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Member states were thus called upon to prioritise housing to eliminate the homeless, not left to the realms of unregulated property markets and lucrative private developers.

The forum then followed up briefings on reliable and sustainable public transport. Regarding road safety, it was emphasised that road safety considerations must be integrated with sustainable transport and mobility in the urban settings. Member states were highly encouraged to design public transport in line with the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals and cater the needs of vulnerable groups around the world.

The forum continued with briefings on urban environmental problems. Panellists attributed to these problems to urban decay and uncontrolled urban sprawl. These problems include pollution mainly from air, water and land. International communities were asked to leverage technologies to alleviate urban environmental problems and combat climate change. They were also called upon to design parks, sidewalks and streets to improve quality green infrastructure.

HLPF 2018: Review of SDGs implementation: SDG#11- Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Wednesday 11th July 2018; 15:00 to 18:00; Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

H.E. Mr. Marc Pecsteen, Vice-President of ECOSOC Presentations
Mr. Benjamin Rae, Sustainable Development Goal Monitoring Section, Statistics Division of UN DESA
Ms. Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing Moderator
Mr. Rohit T. Aggarwala, Professor of Professional Practice in International and Public
Affairs at Columbia University Panellists
Ms. Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner in Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, New York City, US
Mr. Jean Todt, Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety Annotated Programme
Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT
Ms. Meera AlShaikh, Project Manager and member of the SDG 11 Global Council, Smart Dubai, UAE Lead discussants
Mr. Wim Dries, Mayor of the city of Genk and President of the Flemish Association of Local Councils, Belgium
Ms. Shaila Shahid, International Centre for Climate Change and Development as Coordinator Gender and Climate Change (ICCCAD) (Women’s Major Group)

Written by: WIT Representative LAU Chun Ki