New ITU case study notes Singapore need to make greater efforts in domain of “Environmental Sustainability”

Geneva, 30 November 2017 – A new case study from  International Telecommunication Union (ITU) offers an evaluation of Singapore’s progress in meeting the objectives of the country’s ‘Smart Nation’ strategy, an evaluation undertaken using the Key Performance Indicators for Smart Sustainable Cities developed by ITU and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

Singapore’s Smart Nation strategy aims to enrich citizens’ lives by capitalizing on the potential of information and communication technology (ICT) to improve environmental sustainability, resilience, and equitable social and economic growth.

According to ITU, the new case study provides a valuable reference point to other cities pursuing greater efficiency and sustainability as well as standardization experts responsible for the refinement of the ITU-UNECE Key Performance Indicators, and is available as a free download.

“Singapore is a leading example of a country with strong institutional support for smart city innovation,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “Singapore’s ability to act as a testbed for smart city innovation, and its will to share the results, continues to make a key contribution to international efforts to promote the transition to Smart Sustainable Cities.”

Commenting on the case study, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information of Singapore, said: “This collaboration with ITU has given us an objective assessment of our journey towards transforming Singapore into a Smart Nation. We are heartened that ITU has rated many of our efforts favourably, and we will continue to do more to foster a stronger digital society and economy. We hope that the Singapore experience will also benefit other countries and help accelerate their efforts to harness technology for greater societal and economic benefit.”

The findings of the case study will feed into the work of ITU’s standardization expert group for ‘Internet of Things, Smart Cities and Communities’, ITU-T Study Group 20. ITU-T Study Group 20 develops international standards for Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and applications. One of its top priorities is to leverage IoT technologies to address urban-development challenges.

The findings will also be taken up by the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) initiative which advocates for public policy to ensure that ICTs, and ICT standards in particular, play a definitive role in the transition to Smart Sustainable Cities.

One of the key findings of ITU’s pilot project in Singapore highlighted that the city-state needed to make greater efforts in the “Environmental Sustainability” domain by launching more ICT-based applications to stimulate public interest in this area. ITU states that this may be boosted further in Singapore by creating an innovative self-sustaining framework, which incorporates the evolution of an urban system that is compatible with the available resources and promotes minimal environmental degradation. As one of the aims of this pilot project was to improve the feasibility and applicability of the KPIs, Singapore provided input to the existing KPI definitions along with practical solutions to improve the data collection process.

The key findings from this pilot project will contribute to the development of the world’s first “Global Smart Sustainable Cities Index”, promoted by 16 United Nations agencies, programmes and secretariats under the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) initiative. U4SSC is supported by 16 United Nations bodies and is open to the participation of all stakeholders interested in driving smart city innovation. The collaboration encouraged by U4SSC has led over 50 cities to join the pilot project implementing the U4SSC Key Performance Indicators.

U4SSC has developed a ‘Collection methodology for the Key Performance Indicators for Smart Sustainable Cities’ to guide cities in their collection of core data and information necessary to the assessment of their progress in becoming smart sustainable cities.

The collection methodology developed by U4SSC complements the three sets of Key Performance Indicators for Smart Sustainable Cities developed by ITU and UNECE. Two sets of indicators provide a framework to measure and report progress relevant to the ICT aspects of a smart city, in terms of the use of ICTs and the impact of ICTs on sustainability. The third assists cities’ efforts to measure their progress towards the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

TOC notes that under section 4.1.4 of the report, “Equity and social inclusion”, it is noted by the Ministry that “Singapore agencies consult citizens regularly on policies, regulations and conduct focus group discussions to test and validate our services before rolling them out fully. While agencies can proceed with their own engagement, REACH serves an agency facilitating whole-of-government efforts to engage and connect with Singaporeans on national and social issues. Ministries and agencies will post their public consultation paper on REACH portal and/or their own websites for public comments.”

However, Singaporeans know that REACH serves more of a propaganda platform for the government rather than a feedback unit. Take the Elected Presidency for example, REACH was posting articles on its Facebook platform and website to justify the reserved election rather than to collect opinion on what people felt about the EP should have been.

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