Statement by H.E. Mr. Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, on The Role of Technolgy Implementing the New Urban Agenda to Achieve Sustainable Development Panel - III: "Technology and the Cities"

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 22.06.2018
Distinguished guests, I would like to welcome you all to the Panel on Technology and the Cities.
In the third session of today we will be hearing from our panelists:
Ms. Marion Barthelemy from DESA
Ms. Fiona Cousins from ARUP
Mr. Marcos Diaz Gonzalez from AECOM
Dr. Fritz Rettberg from City of Dortmund, Germany
And Ms. Hélène Chartier from C40 Cities.
As the urban population of the world continues to grow rapidly, sustainable development will increasingly depend on successful management of the growth of the cities. This is especially valid in the developing world where the most rapid urbanization is expected in the next 30 years.
In 1950 only 30 % of the world’s population was urban.
Today that rate has increased to 55 %.
In 2050 it is projected to be as high as 68%.
Urban growth is closely linked with the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.
SDG-11 which aims to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable is one of the SDGs under review at this year’s HLPF.
On the one hand, rapid urbanization is exerting pressure on fresh water supplies, sewage, the living environment and public health.
Number of slum dwellers are surging.
Air pollution is increasing.
Inadequate basic services and infrastructure and unplanned urban sprawl are making cities more vulnerable to disasters.
On the other hand, high density of cities also offer to bring efficiency gains and technological innovation while reducing resource and energy consumption.
Cities have historically been robust centers of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.
The impact of cities, both in terms of production and consumption is of exponential nature.
Cities now drive as much as 80% of global GDP.
They also consume close to two-thirds of the world’s energy and produce over 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Cities play a key role in spurring innovation and new technologies that offer integrated systems to address urban challenges.
With the advent of social media the relationship between citizens and local governments has been transforming: Cities are engaging with citizens to design products and services that are tailored to their needs.
Technology also empowers a new generation of informed citizens to innovate at community scale and better engage with their governments and neighborhoods.
More and more cities are adopting AI and ICT solutions to urban problems ranging from transportation and public safety to climate resilience.
While these technologies, once up and running, deliver rapid results; each application typically requires years of specialized research, unique construction and ample resources.
Cities that are wealthy to begin with are more likely to invest in such cutting-edge technologies which in turn further increase their competitiveness and quality of life.
In that sense, emerging technologies not only offer opportunities but also risk widening the existing gaps between the developed and developing countries unless access of the latter to technology is promoted and supported.
Therefore positive transformative potential of technology, both existing and emerging should be addressed by appropriate policy and regulatory frameworks.
We need to collectively seek answers to the following questions:
How can technology be applied to meet the targets under the SDG11 and implement the New Urban Agenda?
What role can technology play in improving urban planning and management to make the world’s urban spaces more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable?
How can technological advancements improve air quality and promote more affordable climate change adaptation and waste-management mechanisms?
I believe our panelist with their wide-ranging insights and backgrounds will contribute to a lively discussion on these issues and the critical nexus between the cities and technology.
Without further ado I would like to give the floor to our moderator Proffessor Feniosky Pena Mora to introduce our distinguished panelists.

Thank you.