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The workshop was sponsored by Arianous ICTD and moderated by Dr Alireza Yari, head of the IT research faculty at Iran Telecom Research Center. The speakers addressed the policy and regulatory framework to align smart cities with the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Yari started by affirming that most countries have their own different perceptions and definitions of smart cities. A legal framework to regulate smart cities primarily needs a conceptual definition of smart cities. In addition, the alignment of smart cities to the SDGs also depends on a definition frame. He said that cybersecurity in smart cities should be a priority for legislators. There is already regulation to preserve security in smart cities at national level in China, Japan, Russia, Australia, and Singapore. Besides cybersecurity, regulators should invest in data protection, considering that smart cities encompass a vast range of personal data. He concluded by stressing that the integrity of the network will be important in smart cities.
Mr Hojatollah Modirian, managing director of Arianous ICTD Co., is an artificial intelligence (AI) specialist and an international activist in the information society. He agreed with Yari that definitions of smart cities are numerous. They involve multiple stakeholders, including governments, citizens, and private sector actors. Smart city policies should be focused on three different aspects:
- Governance: services to the citizens, public administration, democratic processes.
- Urban infrastructure: transportation and protection of the environment.
- An innovation economy.
Modirian concluded by affirming that regulations on civil responsibility, competition rights, intellectual property, and privacy will have to be reframed and rethought for the smart city environment.
Mr Keith Mainwaring, independent consultant and partner at Arianous ICTD, specialises in telecommunications standardisation and policy and is a technical leader in Cisco Systems. He began by defining sustainability. He said that the concept must articulate the input and output of any activity. In terms of input, an activity is sustainable when it uses renewable resources, consisting of energy and material. Regarding output, it has also to be renewable. He stressed that technological developments made sustainability harder. For instance, mobile phones use noble metals, such as copper, gold, platinum, and titanium. Consequently, the electronic waste is a rich source of these noble metals, which are commonly found in countries with issues of child labour and violent conflict. In addition, the waste of this material is often exported to developing countries, where it is recycled in conditions dangerous for human health and the environment. If, on one hand, smart cities defy the concept of sustainability, on the other they can be a driver for sustainable development by tracing food chains, implementing disaster warning systems, improving the public transportation efficiency, etc. For that, there is a need for social regulation.
By Ana Corrêa
- Arianous ICTD