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On 1 July 2024, 52 countries joined the Statement on “Digitalization of Cities and Human Rights”. It is the first time that the UN Human Rights Council addresses the question of ‘smart cities’. While digitalization presents many opportunities, it also entails human rights risks, including those arising from the scale and quality of the collected personal data or arising from discrimination and the deepening of the digital divide.
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On 26 June 2024, at the occasion of the International Day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking, the Global Cities Hub (GCH) hosted a Geneva Urban Debate on “Advancing Drug Policy Reform at the Local Level”. The event was co-organized by the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP), UN Habitat, with the sponsorship of the Permanent Missions of Colombia, Romania, South Africa and Switzerland, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Harm Reduction International and the “Support don’t Punish” campaign.
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On 20 June 2024 we discussed how the international community can offer a path towards a sustainable ocean economy involving coastal cities and regions. Speakers of this Geneva Urban Debate emphasized the critical but often under-valued role of cities in the ocean economy and how UN Trade and Development can assist member states and subnational entities to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
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It is widely assumed that AI and AI-associated technologies will enhance economic growth and public well-being in ‘smart cities’. GCH’s new policy paper argues that local and regional governments (LRGs) should deploy these technologies, but only when they contribute to LRGs’ public mission and enhance the quality of life and meet the needs of their citizens.
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June 26, 2024 1:30 pm
Local governments are among the key actors in the design of public policies, including drug policies. While they pay significant financial, social and human costs related to the negative consequences of repressive drug policies, innovative initiatives also occur at city level. Join us for an insighftul discussion on the role of local governments in advancing drug policy reform.
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The Smart City Leaders’ Talk at the WSIS+20 High-level Events discussed the issue of people-centered and sustainable smart city development and provided a great example of an inclusive dialogue between international organizations and local governments. Hosted by ITU, co-organized by GCH and WeGO, with the participation of OHCHR, UN-Habitat and contributions from eight smart city leaders from Bonn, Dhaka South, Dschang, Geneva, London, New York, Seberang Perai and Quelimane City, it offered a broad thematic and diverse geographical vision.

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