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Knowledge category: Synergetic local policy plans

Declaration on joining forces to boost sustainable digital transformation in cities and communities in the EU

Updated on 11.01.2023

The key focus area of the plan is inclusive digitalisation: to achieve a cohesive, digital Europe, increase awareness of digitalisation, and ensure economic and social benefits in all communities, working towards a circular economy. The plan underlines the need for sufficient public and private investment in digital services, technologies, infrastructure, and skills to achieve this.


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The signatories agree on the following 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; interoperable digital platforms based on open standards and technical specifications, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and shared data models.

Regarding citizens and local communities, this plan aims to increase digital awareness and thus the potential of digitalisation to speed up the transformation to a circular economy as well. While related projects have been set up in the past, it is needed to further scale up these initiatives through cooperation between areas and sectors and building trust amongst citizens towards digital solutions. Taking this approach, the implementation of the plan will enable citizen participation and help businesses to reach climate targets and reduce environmental footprints. 

A multi-level governance steering board was set up in the first quarter of 2020 to progress on the above commitments and ensure that they are delivered by signatories by 2025. This steering board will join forces and resources and will improve stakeholder dialogue and collaboration to boost the sustainable digital transformation of cities and communities.

Interoperability with Circular Systemic Solutions and Circular Economy Action Plans

The extensive uptake and scaling up of digital solutions are crucial to help cities and communities meet their climate targets and reduce their environmental footprint. Signatories commit to developing a variety of sustainable measures in the following areas: financial, technical, legal, education and capacity building, monitoring, and measures. Therefore, signatories can integrate measures that will also support local actors in the development/implementation of Circular Systemic Solutions, thus contributing to speeding up the circular economy transition in their city/region/territory.

Examples of relevant measures include:
a) using a commonly agreed list of standards and technical specifications to achieve interoperability of data, systems, and platforms among cities, communities, and suppliers around the world, or;
b) making key enablers of city digital solutions — including data, infrastructure, and services — available to all. The introduction of such measures will potentially encourage and support the development and scale-up of local Circular Systemic Solutions.

Example templates/guidelines