Belfast pioneering new global policy roadmap for the ethical use of smart city technologies


Belfast is collaborating with 35 cities from around the world to pioneer a new global policy roadmap for the responsible adoption of new technology as part of the World Economic Forum’s G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance.

Launched in November 2020 at the Smart City Expo World Congress – the world’s premier smart cities event – the Pioneer Programme will enable Belfast to collaborate with other leading smart cities and global experts to refine policies in areas such as privacy protection, cybersecurity, increasing openness of city data, advanced digital connectivity, and ensuring accessibility to digital city services for disabled and elderly people.

These policies will contribute to the exisiting work of the Council’s Smart Belfast Programme and underpin the city’s plans to invest in a Belfast Smart District where businesses, academia and public sector can collaborate to develop next generation urban services in areas such as mobility, health, energy and tourism.


Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Frank McCoubrey said:

“This opportunity to collaborate as a G20 Global Smart Cities pioneer city on a new roadmap for safely adopting new technology is very welcome indeed as we work to develop a Belfast Smart District and to weave digital innovation into every part of our economy.  We’ll be exploiting new technologies and data to tackle city challenges in areas such as health and mobility to improve our citizens’ quality of life – and we must ensure that this is done ethically and in a way that prioritises transparency, privacy, equity and inclusion.

“Being part of the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance on Technology Governance means that each of the partner cities will benefit from expert, tailored insights and policy tools and this collaborative approach will allow us to make swift progress in how we use technology to deliver benefits to all of our citizens.”

Jeff Merritt, Head of the Internet of Things and Urban Transformation, World Economic Forum commented:

“City governments are on the frontline of a global crisis and need to be able to act quickly and decisively to curtail this pandemic and set course for their economic recovery. Technology is an essential tool in this fight, but governments cannot risk falling into the usual traps related to privacy, security and vendor lock-in. That’s where the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance can help. Our new policy roadmap will guide cities with practical policies for these issues, and our Pioneer Cities are leading the way for cities everywhere to get started.”

The Pioneer Cities for the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance are:

Apeldoorn, Netherlands

Barcelona, Spain

Belfast, United Kingdom

Bengaluru, India

Bilbao, Spain

Bogotá, Colombia

Brasilia, Brazil

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Chattanooga, United States

Cordoba, Argentina

Daegu, South Korea

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

eThekwini (Durban), South Africa

Faridabad, India

Gaziantep, Turkey

Hamamatsu, Japan

Hyderabad, India

Indore, India

Istanbul, Turkey

Kaga, Japan

Kakogawa, Japan

Kampala, Uganda

Karlsruhe, Germany

Leeds, United Kingdom

Lisbon, Portugal

London, United Kingdom

Maebashi, Japan

Manila, Philippines

Medellín, Colombia

Melbourne, Australia

Mexico City, Mexico

Milan, Italy

Moscow, Russia

Newcastle, Australia

San José, United States

Toronto, Canada

Established in June 2019, the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance on Technology Governance unites governments, private sector partners and citizens around a shared set of principles for the responsible and ethical use of smart city technologies. The Alliance establishes and advances global policy norms to help accelerate best practice, mitigate potential risks, and foster greater openness and public trust.

For more information on the policy roadmap, visit



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