India joins the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance on Technology Governance

India joins the league of 15 of the world’s leading city networks and technology governance organizations that will focus on advancing the responsible and ethical use of smart city technologies.

The G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance on Technology Governance will work on creating global norms and policy standards for the use of connected devices in public spaces, a World Economic Forum (WEF) release said.

The Global Smart Cities Alliance’s founding set of institutional partners include the presidents and host nations of Japan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Group of 20 (G20) in 2019 and 2020; Smart City Mission of India; Cities for All; Commonwealth Local Government Forum; Cities Today Institute; Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Networking.

“Smart city technologies offer huge promise, but they can be a Pandora’s box. Today’s announcement is a critical first step to accelerate global best practices, mitigate risks, and foster greater openness and public trust regarding the collection of data in public spaces,” said Jeff Merritt, Head of Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics and Smart Cities at the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Smart city technologies will be useful at decreasing traffic congestion, improving resilience during natural disasters, combating crime and reduce greenhouse emissions. Without proper governance, these technologies pose significant risk, notably to privacy and security, the release added.

The alliance was established in June 2019, in conjunction with the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan. It comprises 15 of the world’s leading city networks and technology governance organizations.

The partners represent more than 2,00,000 cities and local governments, start-ups, leading companies, research institutions and civil society organizations with World Economic Forum serving as the secretariat.

“As urban populations grow, smart city technologies become more and more essential not only to improve the quality of life of citizens but also to simply keep our cities livable,” said Chizuru Suga, Head of the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Japan.

The new global policy standards for security, privacy and sustainability of smart technologies will be rolled out in advance of 2020 G20 Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The first policy design workshops with city leaders are set to be held in November 2019 in conjunction with the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

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