Seventh Meeting of United for Smart Sustainable Cities(U4SSC), Virtual, 20 June 2023


As part of the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) Initiative, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and UN-HABITAT, will organize the Seventh meeting of the U4SSC Initiative that will take place virtually on 20 June 2023, 0930 – 1610 hours CEST.

The United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) initiative is a UN initiative supported by 19 UN agencies and programmes to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11: “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” The U4SSC serves as the global platform to accelerate digital transformation in cities and communities.

The main objectives of the meeting are to:

  • Provide an update on the work of the U4SSC Thematic Groups;
  • Present the latest U4SSC publications;
  • Present the latest U4SSC KPIs Implementation worldwide;
  • Present the activities of the U4SSC Hub;
  • Approve the appointment of the new U4SSC Management Team;
  • Discuss new U4SSC activities and approve the U4SSC Annual Work Plan (2023-2024).

Latest U4SSC deliverables can be found HERE.

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Invitation Letter

Registra​tion ​

Date: 20 June 2023, 9:30 – 15:30 hours CEST

Venue: Fully Virtual

Contact: Cristina Bueti

Draft Programme

9:30 – 9:45

Opening R​emarks

  • Seizo Onoe, Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau and elected official of ITU
  • Paola Deda, Director, Forests, Land and Housing Division, UNECE
  • Edlam Abera Yemeru, Director of Knowledge and Innovation, UN-HABITAT

9:45 -10:00

Session 1: Appointment of U4SSC Chairman, U4SSC Vice-chairman and leaders of the thematic groups


  • Cristina Bueti, ITU and U4SSC Secretariat


  • Okan Geray, Chairman, U4SSC

Questions & Ans​wers​

10:00 – 10:30

Session 2: Update on the work of the U4SSC thematic groups


  • Pontus Westerberg, UN-Habitat and U4SSC Secretariat


  • Ernesto Faubel-Cubells, Co-leader of the Thematic Group on City Platforms
  • Okan Geray, Leader of the Thematic Group on Guiding principles for artificial intelligence in cities
  • Warren Smith and John Davies, Leader of the Thematic Group on Procurement for Smart Sustainable Cities
  • Bettina Tratz-Ryan (Gartner), Co-Leader of Working Group 2 of the Thematic Group on Enabling People-Centred Cities through Digital Transformation

Questions & Ans​wers​

10:30 – 10:45

Session 3: U4SSC Country Hub


  • Paolo Gemma, Vice Chairman of the U4SSC


  • H.E. Ms. Karoline Edtstadler, Federal Minister for the EU and Constitution, Austria
  • Barbara Kolm, Chairman of the U4SSC Austrian Country Hub

Questions & Ans​wers​

10:45 – 11:00

Coffee Break

11:00 – 11:30

Session 4: U4SSC KPIs implementation in cities


  • Gulnara Roll, UNECE and U4SSC Secretariat


  • Bekkul Dzhekshenkulov, Head of International Cooperation and Protocol Department, Bishkek City Municipality, Kyrgyzstan
  • Vakhtang Lomjaria, City government of Tbilisi, Georgia

Questions & Ans​wers

11:30 – 13:00

Session 5: U4SSC deliverables


  • Giampiero Bambagioni, U4SSC Vice-chairman


  • Martin Brynskov (Open and Agile Smart Cities) and Leader of Working Group 3 of the Thematic Group on City Platforms – “U4SSC deliverable on Redefining smart city platforms: Setting the stage for Minimal Interoperability Mechanisms”
  • Ramon Ferri, Leader of the Thematic Group on City Platforms  “U4SSC deliverable on Smart tourism: A path to more secure and resilient destinations “
  • Gulnara Roll (UNECE), Leader of the Thematic Group on Innovative Financing Instruments for Smart Sustainable Cities – “U4SSC deliverable – Compendium of practices on innovative financing for smart sustainable cities projects”
  • Warren Smith and John Davies, Leader of the Thematic Group on Procurement for Smart Sustainable Cities – “U4SSC deliverable – Procurement Guidelines for Smart Sustainable Cities”
  • Leonidas Anthopoulos (Greece), Leader of Working Group 4 of the Thematic Group on Enabling People-Centred Cities through Digital Transformation

Questions & Ans​wers​

13:00 – 13:30

Lunch Break

13:30 – 14:00

Session 6: U4SSC Management Team and Annual Work Plan 2023-2024


  • Cristina Bueti, ITU and U4SSC Secretariat

Questions & Ans​wers​

14:00 – 15:00

Session 7: U4SSC KPIs implementation in cities


  • Paolo Gemma, Vice Chairman of the U4SSC


  • H.E Mr. José David Montilla, Vice Minister, Digital Agenda, Ministry of Presidency, Dominican Republic
  • John Smiciklas, Verifier, U4SSC
  • Alexandre Bosshard, City of Pully, Switzerland
  • Mary Owusu, Executive Director, Smart Sustainable Cities and Historical Heritage Secretariat, Ghana

Questions & Ans​wers​

15:00 – 15:15


15:15 – 15:30

Closing R​emarks

  • Okan Geray, Chairman of the U4SSC


Leonidas Anthopoulos
Leader of Working Group 6 of the Thematic Group on City Platforms, Leader of Working Group 4 of the Thematic Group on Enabling People-Centred Cities through Digital Transformation

Dr. Leonidas Anthopoulos is a Professor in e-business and strategy at the University of Thessaly, Greece. During his current mission and at his previous job positions (as an Expert Counselor at the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as a Special Advisor of the Mayor of Trikala, Greece and as an ICT project manager at the Information Society S.A. (Greece)) he planned and supervised several critical projects, worth mentioning the smart city of Trikala. He is the Director of the “Intelligent Production Systems and Smart Cities” Research Institute and the Director of the Postgraduate Program in Agile Management at the University of Thessaly, Greece. He is a member of numerous committees, worth mentioning working for the ITU (Rapporteur of Q13 of the SG5), he is the head of the Smart and Sustainable cities’ working group for the Greek Standards, the Associate Editor of the IET Smart Cities journal etc. In the above missions he has focused among others on the role of ICT in city resilience in terms of systemic efficiency and social coherence, and corresponding works have been developed for the smart city of Trikala and the International Telecommunications Union.  He is the author and editor of several book collections, which can be found in Cities, Sustainable Cities and Society, Technological Forecasting and Social Change and Government Information Quarterly (ElSevier), ACM Computing Surveys monograph for Springer etc. His research interests concern, among others, smart city, e-Government, Enterprise Architecture, Strategic Management, etc.

Giampiero Bambagioni​
Vice Chairman of the U4SSC

Giampiero Bambagioni is the Head of Scientific and International Activities of Tecnoborsa (Rome), an institutional Organization for the regulation and development of markets; Professor in charge of Economic evaluation of projects at the Faculty of Architecture of the Sapienza University of Rome, and Lecturer of Real Estate Finance in the Master Polis-Maker of the Politecnico di Milano University. Expert in Sustainable Lending connected with Evinronmental Social and Governance (ESG) Risks, and in Valuation of assets as collateral for bank loans and mortgages (including Non-performing Loans), areas in which he has published studies and books, among which the “Sostenibilità del valore nel finanziamento immobiliare” (i.e. Sustainability of Value in Property Financing). Giampiero deals with sustainable urban development and PPPs areas in which he is advisor for organizations, cities and local authorities. IVSC Europe Board Member (the International Valuation Standards Council is the global standard setter for property and business valuation), London. He was appointed Vice-Chair of the UNECE Committee on Urban Development Housing and Land Management.​

Martin Brynskov
Open & Agile Smart Cities, Leader of Working Group 3 of the Thematic Group on City Platforms

Martin Brynskov, PhD, is chair of the global Open & Agile Smart Cities network (OASC), which encompasses more than 150 cities from 30 countries. OASC is a non-profit association based in Brussels, Belgium, Europe, and it aims to develop so-called Minimal Interoperability Mechanisms (MIMs) for public and private sector use, based on the needs of cities and communities. Dr Brynskov is Associate Professor in Interaction Technologies at Aarhus University in Denmark where he leads the Centre for Digital Transformation in Cities and Communities (AU DITCOM) and is a fellow at the Center for Advanced Visualization and Interaction (CAVI). Related to the development of technical standards, Dr Brynskov is a contributor to ITU-T SG20 and related Focus Groups, co-leads the United Nations “United for Smart and Sustainable Cities and Communities” (U4SSC) new architecture for digital, sustainable development, leads the Living-in.EU Technical Subgroup overseeing the MIMs Plus specifications for Europe, and he chairs the Danish Standards Committee for smart and sustainable cities and communities. He was the coordinator and lead of the large-scale pilots OrganiCity and SynchroniCity and is also leading the Next Generation Internet of Things (NGIoT) European roadmap for IoT research, innovation and deployment. He is a global expert, speaker and advisor on digital transformation with a human-centric focus.​

Cristina Bueti​​
ITU and U4SSC Secretariat

Cristina Bueti is the ITU Focal Point on Smart Sustainable Cities. She is also the Counsellor of ITU-T Study Group 20 “Internet of things (IoT) and smart cities and communities (SC&C)” and the Counsellor of the Focus Group on metaverse at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). She also serves as TSB/ITU focal point for Latin America. Cristina Bueti graduated from the Faculty of Political Science, Law and International Cooperation and Development of the University of Florence, where she completed postgraduate studies in International Cooperation and Telecommunications Law in Europe. She ​also holds a specialization in Environmental Law with a special focus on Telecommunications. In 2003, Ms. Bueti built on her academic credentials by completing a specialized course in peace keeping and international cooperation with special focus on telecommunications at the Faculty of Laws, University of Malta, before joining the International Telecommunication Union in Geneva in January 2004. As part of the International Women’s Day 2016, she was named as one of the twenty Geneva-based inspirational women working to protect the environment. She has authored over 40 reports on telecommunication issues. A native Italian speaker, Cristina is also fluent in English, French and Spanish.​​​

John Davies
Leader of the Thematic Group on Procurement Guidelines for Smart Sustainable Cities

An internationally experienced and accomplished, senior business executive, with significant achievements in strategic business development, marketing and general management. John has carried out a unique mix of strategic and operational roles internationally with placements in the USA and Europe and partnerships in Asia. This has allowed him to gain a great understanding of how to manage across cultural and national borders. Over recent years much of John’s private sector and Government activities has been in the area of mobile and wireless communications, digital media, Smart Cities, Cloud and Big Data and M2M/IoT as well as emerging and disruptive technologies. Helping technology start-ups in the UK and internationally.​ Over recent years and in complement to the acceleration in the development of Smart/Future Cities and Sustainable Urbanisation John has undertaken in these areas. Operating as a UK Government Advisor to Ministerial level John has briefed both UK and Government Ministers and Government Departments on Smart Cities and respective applications. This has included providing international workshops, mentoring and consulting at senior levels in Government and large corporations. He has designed and run awareness and implementation workshops for international companies and Governments to upskill and develop both thinking and practical journey mapping that resulted in the development of business cases and funding allocation/approval for proof of concept pilots/trials. Over the past two years John has been working with the UK Government Digital Service, with a specific role with the Global Digital Marketplace Programme to lead on subnational (state, provincial and municipality) strategy and technology engagement. He has engaged closely with UK and International accelerators and incubators linking to smart cities and Govtech start-ups.​

Ramón Ferri
Segittur; Leader of the Thematic Group on City Platforms

Ramón Ferri is the Head of the Smart City Office of Valencia since February 2018, who is responsible for coordinating the digital transformation in the city. He holds a degree in Computer Science and a master’s degree in project management from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV). He also studied the advanced course of “Local Public Management” at the INAP. He was an ICT project engineer at the ETRA R&D company, being project coordinator in the framework programs III, IV and V of the European Union. Since 2001 he combined his work as an analyst for ICT projects in the Provincial Council of Valencia with that of a senior technician of the Vice-Rectorate for R & D & I of the UPV. From 2005 to September 2007, he was the head of the ICT projects section of the Diputación de Valencia. From September 2007 to February 2018 he was head of the ICT service of the Valencia City Council. Ramón Ferri won the prize for professional career in National Congress of Innovation and Public Sector in 2015. In 2016 he also won the Best Local Administration Manager Award granted by Enertic.

Paolo Gemma
Huawei; Leader of Working Group 5 of the Thematic Group on Enabling People-Centred Cities through Digital Transformation

Paolo Gemma is a senior specialist and representative of Huawei on issues related to energy saving and environmental sustainability.
Prior to joining Huawei, Dr. Gemma was working with Nokia Siemens Networks, where he was responsible for EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) and electrical safety areas. He also worked in the Siemens Communications Division. Dr. Paolo Gemma also plays an active role in international standardization activities. Since 1993, he has been engaged in ETSI (European Telecommunication Standard Institute) activities and he also participates in the development of EMC standards. In 1997, Dr. Gemma joined ITU-T Study Group 5 on Environment, Climate Change, and Circular Economy as a Rapporteur and he is now the Chairman of Working Party 2 “Environment, Energy Efficiency and the Circular Economy”. He also acts as Vice-chairmen of the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) initiative. In 2002, Paolo Gemma was appointed as the Secretary of the Committee ETSI TC EE and as of 2009, he holds the position of Chairman of the EEPS EE (eco Environmental product standard) working group. Paolo Gemma is a graduate of electrical engineering from the University of Genoa.

Okan Geray
Chairman of U4SSC and Thematic Group Leader

Dr. Okan Geray has more than 25 years of experience in consulting and advisory roles across various industries. He has consulted for a number of organizations in Netherlands, France, Italy, Germany, South Africa, Turkey and Dubai. He worked at A.T. Kearney global management consulting firm for 6 years and was a member of the Global Telecommunications and Higher Technology core team before he joined Dubai Government in 2002. He has fulfilled strategic planning and policy roles in Dubai eGovernment, Dubai Smart Government, Smart Dubai Office and is currently working in Dubai Digital Authority as the Strategic Planning Advisor. His responsibilities include Strategic Planning, Strategic Performance Management and Policy Making among others. Dr. Geray was the Co-Chair of the Enhancing Innovation and Participation Working Group, part of the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) global initiative. This working group addressed Smart Governance, Smart Economy and Smart People aspects in smart cities. He has led the two thematic groups “Guidelines on Strategies for Circular Cities” and “City Science Application Framework” in U4SSC. He is currently leading “Guiding principles for Artificial Intelligence in cities”, and co-leading “Enabling People-Centered Cities through Digital Transformation” in U4SSC. Dr. Geray is the Co-Rapporteur of ITU Study Group 20, Question 7 on “Evaluation and assessment of Smart Sustainable Cities and Communities”. He is a member of the IEC-ISO-ITU Joint Smart Cities Task Force (J-SCTF). He is also a member of the ITU Focus Group on Metaverse and is co-chairing Working Group 7 on “Economy, Competition and Regulation”. He was also the Co-Chair of the “Data Economy Impact, Commercialization and Monetization” Working Group, part of the ITU Focus Group on Data Processing and Management. Dr. Geray holds a double major B. Sc. degree in Industrial and Computer Engineering from Bosphorus University in Istanbul Turkiye, an M.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering and a Ph.D. degree in Systems and Control Engineering from the University of Massachusetts in USA. He has published book chapters, several journal and conference papers, and teaches as an adjunct lecturer. ​

Barbara Kolm
Austrian Economics Centre; Co-Leader of the Thematic Group on Enabling People-Centred Cities through Digital Transformation

Dr. Barbara Kolm, Vice President of the Austrian Central Bank, Director of the Austrian Economics Center (#1 Independent Think Tank in Austria and #21 in the world), Professor of Austrian Economics at the University of Donja Gorica, Montenegro, and serves on several supervisory boards Vienna Insurance Group, Supervisory Board of Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein; Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien. She was appointed Vice-Chair of the UN ITU Focus Group on Environmental Efficiency for Artificial Intelligence and other Emerging Technologies (AI4EE) and Chair of the Thematic Group on the United for Smart Sustainable City Index. She has given numerous talks on the most pressing economic issues of our time, such as the geopolitical challenges posed by a rising China and the need for serious economic reforms to the bloated welfare states in Europe. She has successfully managed private enterprises and non-profit organizations, and has been engaged in other entrepreneurial activities, for instance building the Austrian Economics Center from scratch to being the leading think tank in Austria within 12 years. Additionally, she is the founder and organizer of the Free Market Road Show, a forum for discussions and the exchange of ideas, in co-operation with over 100 leading think tanks and universities.​

Seizo Onoe
Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU

Seizo Onoe took office as Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on 1 January 2023. Known in the industry as “the father of LTE” (Long-Term Evolution mobile broadband), he now aims for global outreach to bridge standardization gaps, deliver the benefits of technology widely and speedily, and ensure meaningful and affordable broadband access for everyone. Before his election as TSB Director by ITU Member States, he completed an over 30-year career with Japanese mobile operator NTT DOCOMO. In 2021, he became Executive Vice President and Chief Standardization Strategy Officer for NTT Corporation and a Fellow of NTT DOCOMO. From 2017, he served as NTT DOCOMO’s Chief Technology Architect and President of its subsidiary DOCOMO Technology. From 2012 to 2017, he served as NTT DOCOMO’s Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President, a Member of the Board of Directors, and Managing Director of R&D Innovation Division. Earlier, he served as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of NTT DOCOMO’s R&D Strategy Department and Managing Director of the company’s Radio Network Development Department. Mr Onoe holds a Master’s degree in electronics from the Kyoto University Graduate School of Engineering.

Gulnara Roll
UNECE and U4SSC Secretariat

The Committee is an intergovernmental body which joints senior government officials responsible for national policies on housing, urban development, smart sustainable cities and land administration from 56 countries in the UNECE region. Ms. Roll supports the cooperation between the national as well as local authorities, experts and other stakeholders engaged in the Committee’s activities. Ms. Roll is working with the UNECE since 2009. Prior to joining the UNECE, Ms. Roll worked as Scientific Officer at INTAS – International Association for the promotion of scientific co-operation with the countries of the former Soviet Union in Brussels, Belgium; as Senior Research Fellow in International Relations at the University of Tartu in Estonia; and Urban Planner at St. Petersburg Urban Planning Institute in Russia. 

John Smiciklas
JD Global Sustainability Associates; Leader of Working Group 3 of the Thematic Group on Enabling People-Centred Cities through Digital Transformation

John Smiciklas is currently President of JD Global Sustainability Associates Inc. and works with clients, cities and UN agencies globally to address issues related to climate change, sustainability and corporate responsibility. In addition, John also works with the U4SSC initiative in helping cities globally implement key performance indicators to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals a. John’s prior experiences includes senior positions focused on climate, sustainability and corporate responsibility with the Canadian Steel Producers Association, PwC, KPMG, and BlackBerry among others. John is an author of several UN reports and papers on technology and climate change and is working on the development of key performance indicators related to digital transformation for smarter and more sustainable cities. John holds a degree in engineering from the University of Toronto and currently resides in Oakville, Canada.

Warren Smith
Leader of the Thematic Group on Procurement for Smart Sustainable Cities

Warren has over 25 years public and private sector experience in commercial and procurement management. He joined the UK Government Digital Service in 2012 with responsibility for its Digital Marketplace Programme, introducing user-centred, design-led, data-driven and open approaches in public contracting. Warren also championed the UK Government’s adoption of the Open Contracting Data Standard and the Beneficial Ownership Data Standard. Until July 2021, Warren led the Global Digital Marketplace Programme, helping governments in emerging economies improve systems that govern public spending, improve scrutiny through better quality open data, and build institutional capability and capacity to ensure sustainable change. Warren previously led a Thematic Group of the OECD Working Party of Senior Digital Government Officials, focused on ‘GovTech Commissioning’, supported the OECD Working Party of Leading Practitioners on Public Procurement as a peer reviewer, and contributed to the development of the OECD ‘Integrating Responsible Business Conduct in Public Procurement’ report. Warren is now Associate Director with CURSHAW, a commercial lifecycle consultancy working with governments around the world who want to modernise their public procurement – be that policies, procedures, processes, working practices – as a lever to achieve inclusive, equitable and sustainable policy outcomes with positive economic, social and cultural, and environmental impacts.

Bettina Tratz-Ryan
Gartner; Co-Leader of Working Group 2 of the Thematic Group on Enabling People-Centred Cities through Digital Transformation

Bettina Tratz-Ryan is a Vice President Research and responsible for intelligent urban ecosystem research that includes smart city and industry stakeholders, as well as the digitization efforts in the manufacturing ecosystems and Industrie 4.0 transformation roadmaps. As part of her smart city research, she analyzes the strategic citizen impact and business value of data and information analytics, Internet of Things, data marketplaces and exchanges, applications and complex architectures for cities and their industry partners. Her expertise integrates technology models with services and business measures for subsystems such as transportation, mobility, microgrid and buildings. She also works on the business impact related to the Industrie 4.0 framework. Mrs.Tratz-Ryan understands to build green IT and environmental sustainability roadmaps compliant to DIN EN ISO 14001. Mrs. Tratz-Ryan has more than 26 years of industry experience in IT networking for telecommunications, utilities, transportation, healthcare and local governments.

Pontus Westerberg
UN-Habitat and U4SSC Secretariat

Pontus Westerberg is a programme manager at UN-Habitat, the UN agency for sustainable cities, where he leads initiatives on digital technologies, people-centered smart cities and open innovation. He has advised governments on digital inclusion, civic technologies, smart cities and urban innovation in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. He represents UN-Habitat in the steering group of the Cities for Digital Rights Coalition, the UN Working Group on Artificial Intelligence and is an adviser to the Block by Block Foundation. Before joining the UN in 2012, he worked in the NGO sector for 10 years.