The Join, Boost, Sustain initiative – which aims to have cities and communities join forces to boost sustainable digital transformation in the EU – has begun in the city of Oulu, Finland.
The joint political declaration states “we – decision-makers at European Union, national, regional and local level, together with organizations and networks of cities and communities of all sizes – believe that strong cooperation among all levels of government in the EU is key to turning our cities and communities into smart and sustainable places where people will enjoy living and working.”
The approach seeks to ensure technological leadership in the EU while creating the “European Way” of digital transformation – respecting European values and diversity, as well as individuals’ digital rights. It also aims to drive large-scale uptake of solutions through open, interoperable, cross-sector, and cross-border platforms.
“Openness and interoperability are at the core of a responsible and agile municipality in the 21st century. By signing the scale-up declaration, cities and communities across Europe, and beyond, are now coming together to set the terms for AI- and IoT-enabled services,” said Martin Brynskov, chair of Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC). “I invite every municipality to join, boost and sustain.”
The initiative pledges to follow these principles:
- a citizen-centric approach;
- a city-led approach at EU level;
- the city as a citizen-driven and open innovation ecosystem;
- ethical and socially responsible access, use, sharing and management of data;
- technologies as key enablers; and,
- interoperable digital platforms based on open standards and technical specifications, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and shared data models.
“Cities are constantly innovating and coming up with new digital solutions, always with the benefit of people in mind,” added Anna Lisa Boni, secretary general, Eurocities. “This initiative offers a chance to give a real boost to replicate and upscale some of these ideas, making it easier to advance both locally and globally.”