22 May 2019
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are displayed on a billboard in Jerusalem. Photo: Sharon Gal Or
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are displayed on a billboard in Jerusalem. Photo: Sharon Gal Or

What Creative Countries & Smart Cities Global Challenge is about

Innovation plays a vital role in the success and development of every country and community around the world. According to the United Nations, more than 54 percent of the world’s population now resides in urban areas – a figure set to rise to 67 percent by 2050. And these urban centers are becoming increasingly important drivers of national and regional economic growth. They all face a growing set of challenges as they transform in the 21st century to improve peoples’ lives. The process of assimilating an innovative culture that advocates producing results and benefits depends on the harmony and synchronization between the citizens and tools in the system, which will help transform the world into a global village.

Call to action

In order for us to raise awareness to the Creative (Smart & Responsive) Countries & Smart Cities Global Challenge and summon smart cities stakeholders and citizens to help in achieving The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we invite you to join us to make this plan a reality.

Countries, governments, municipal governments and systems are in their most challenging and complex period ever. With more and more of us living in cities, urbanization is creating significant opportunities for social and economic development and more sustainable living. But it’s also exerting significant pressure on infrastructure and resources and potentially opening the door to escalating social inequality. Therefore, when planning countries and cities today, we have to do it a very smart way. Otherwise, we can quickly evolve into stupid countries and stupid cities. For example, if we build a neighborhood or a road, we cannot just take into consideration the current size of the population; we have to look at what the population will be in the future.

A creative country is not just about a free flow of information; it’s about what we do with this information: mapping — exploring — protecting. It’s about ethics and morals, justness and integrity; it’s about whether people have trust in the system or not.

A smart city is not just a city with wireless internet, but a city where electricity is free, where there are no car accidents and where traffic lights do not exist because traffic lights slow traffic and create traffic jams. Think of the human body: there are no intersections where the blood stops along the blood system. A smart city is a city where citizens grow their own fruit and vegetables, a city that knows how much food people eat and how much garbage they throw, and accordingly, they bring enough fruit and vegetables to the supermarket so that there will be no shortage.

There are a lot of layers as to the extent of “smart” and what it stands for. Today, technologies are not in real time, so sometimes there is no electricity, sometimes sewage explodes and in whole neighborhoods there is no water to drink. In large cities where there are large clusters of people, such a small thing can lead to the collapse of the entire urban system. Clearly, with countries and cities around the world competing on the global stage for investment and talent, harnessing the true potential of urbanization to boost shared prosperity and eradicate extreme poverty depends on having a clear and long-term vision.

As a society we care about what we measure, we use what we measure. What we measure drives policy-making and the development of society in a particular direction. Therefore, we must measure progress correctly. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (or Global Goals for Sustainable Development) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly. The SDGs cover social and economic development issues including poverty, hunger, health, education, global warming, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanization, environment and social justice.

Implementation of the SDGs started worldwide in 2016. This process can also be called “Localizing the SDGs”. All over the planet, individual people, universities, governments, institutions and organizations of all kinds work on several goals at the same time. In each country, governments must translate the goals into national legislation, and together with municipal governments they should develop a plan of action, establish budgets and at the same time be open to and actively search for partners. Poor countries and cities need the support of rich countries and of smarter cities, and coordination at the international level is crucial.

What is the SCGC?

The Creative Countries & Smart Cities Global Challenge (SCGC) is an initiative to transform communities into real smart and responsive countries and cities through a “coopetitive” (cooperative competition) program where we focus on the implementation of the SDGs.

It is a program where we challenge national and municipal governments to challenge the various communities they serve to ponder and act on bringing solutions to their environments in order to achieve high performance on the global SDG map.

We make sure these records and information are free and accessible to all citizens, at any level of the system.

We make sure there is increased public involvement, thereby creating confidence in government processes.

It is where “gamification” and “social credits” are part of the equation and where there is a growing exposure and public awareness of government activity to encourage “open government” and its international obligations in this field.

It is where the information flow is just as in a neural system, and smart countries and cities are like parts of a living and breathing organism.

This leads to countries and smart cities which are free of poverty and hunger, where every child can go to school, where oceans, lakes and forests will be around for future generations to enjoy, and where all are equal.

In order to realize that vision, we invite countries and Smart Cities from all over the world to join the challenge in order to ensure that everyone has access to nutritious food, quality healthcare, education, clean water, and decent paying work and meaningful, happy, healthy life.

Smart Countries & Smart Cities Global Challenge is a concept that originated in one of TING’s workshops. A digital board is placed in a main junction in the city of Tel-Aviv, Israel, with updated numbers which relate to a city’s ranking in the Smart Cities Global Challenge, e.g., the number and percentage of hungry people in a city.

Solving global challenges together

There is an increasing interconnectedness throughout the world, including in technological, cultural, and economic terms. More and more countries, municipal governments, communities and international organizations embody their commitment to find an international political order to fit this newly interconnected world. Only a political strategy grounded in a global understanding of political relations can effectively advance national interests.

The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. The Goals interconnect, and in order to leave no one behind, it ís important that we achieve each goal and target by 2030.

– Contact us at [email protected]


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