SDG Cities Leadership Platform

SDG City Innovation Platforms

The SDG Cities program is designed to overcome the traditional problem in smart cities which is: How do we move from ideas to implementation? As described in the introduction, to move towards true implementation the SDG Cities program clearly calls out 3 main areas: Empower, Adjust, Implement These three areas are central to how the SDG Innovation City program would function.

Role of the SDG City Innovation Platforms (CIP)

The key single critical role of SDG City Innovation Platforms is to CLOSE the “GAP” between the cities and the private sector. There is a globally recognised gap between ideas for smart cities and implementing all of the alleged amazing smart city technology into cities which are “promised” to deliver efficiencies and improve quality of life. To date there is very little evidence of substantial success to back-up the “promise” of smart cities. The main reason for this lack of success is the “GAP” and the understanding how to get structure, design, fund and implement the solutions; this is the “GAP” and SDG City Innovation Hubs can help to close this “GAP”.

These deliverables required can only be satisfied by creating a permanent centre – known as a SDG SDG City Innovation Platforms (CIP) – in various cities - which will be setup as follows:

Each SDG City Innovation Platform will have people and resources with:

  •  Extensive smart city expertise
  •  Proprietary research on smart cities
  •  Regional knowledge & experience
  •  Dedicated team with access to global network

The functions and roles in each SDG City Innovation Platform will be to:

  • prepare, organise and deliver the City Diagnostic Management System
  • review and compare City Diagnostic with UN KPI’s
  • work with each City on Policies, Programs and Projects to prepare a City Roadmap
  • prepare, research and deliver the SDG Action-Plan for each City program & project
  • help to implement & deliver the SDG Action-Plan programs & projects for the City including operational models
  • Collaborate with private sector companies to secure R&D and Innovation funding and projects via the SDG City Investment Platform
  • Leverage other UN agencies centres of excellence to broaden capabilities & collaborate more broadly
  • be embedded locally and regionally with varied innovation users and developers to support innovation transfers
  • be a show-case and a Centre of Excellence for a specified SD Goal and develop specific expertise around a nominated SD Goal allowing it to co-ordinate, collaborate and support research, development and innovation across the widest range of partners


In addition, each CIP will also become a world-class centre for strategic city research around a selected SD Goal (e.g. No 7 Energy) with a 70% focus in this SDG as well as local City and regional smart city issues - with around 30% being shared global learnings and leveraging from other global CIH locations. This will also stimulate innovation in that area while supporting the host city community to benefit from new smart city opportunities. It is anticipated that each CIH will share its expertise across the SDG Cities network thus enabling global leveraging of both scale and skills.

It will develop R&D and innovation capabilities while leveraging aligned UN agencies, assist with pilots and demonstrators to support areas of the City where the research and commercial bases are at world class and the CIH role would catalyse new opportunities for the City.

Each CIP research and expertise capacity must be complementary and aligned with:

  1. The Host City / Lighthouse City
  2. USC and UNGSII Programs
  3. UN SDG goals
  4. UN Agencies and other organizations involved

The CIP should leverage the above relationships and established strengths which in aggregate are much larger than the CIP’s own resources. 

By also actively engaging city innovation communities and end-users (corporate and consumer), the CIP will help deliver expertise and advice via the SDG Action-Plans, which meet the needs of the City and which will assist to not only achieve the SDG’s but also generate economic growth sustainably.

By delivering these objectives the CIH will help develop global excellence and capacity building in supporting SDG driven innovations and will act as a central orchestrator of change in SDG Cities.

SDG City Innovation Platform will be independent entities setup in various SDG Cities and will feature open collaboration between city and private sector organisations and the diagnostic process for cities.


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