GFHS 2019 explores opportunities of digital innovation to promote sustainable development of cities and human settlements

The 14th Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS 2019) was held under the theme ‘Sustainable Development of Cities and Human Settlements in the Digital Era’ on 5–6  September 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The conference is a platform for high-level policy discourse between different stakeholders to explore how digital technologies can support sustainable development of cities through making them greener and smarter. It further aims at supporting digital economy in Africa to uphold sustainable urbanisation and pragmatic cooperation in the context of the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’. ‘Africa is facing tremendous opportunities for development. We need to strive for infrastructure development, including transportation, energy, housing, digital facilities, and turn resources into product exports,’ noted former Prime Minister of Kenya, High Representative for Infrastructure Development at the African Union Commission, HE Raila Odinga. The conference adopted an outcome document dubbed ‘Addis Ababa Declaration: Harnessing the power of digital revolution for urban sustainability and prosperity for all’ where participants pinpointed ways for digital technologies to be harnessed to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, prosperous, and sustainable. They also committed to use international standards and best practices as guidance to drive the digital revolution and sustainable urban planning.