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Support the coordination of cities’ activities via the Green Digital Charter

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - GuiDanCe (Support the coordination of cities’ activities via the Green Digital Charter)

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2018-02-28

The Green Digital Charter aims to improve the quality of life in cities through the use of digital solutions. It was first launched in 2009 by EUROCITIES, drawing on preparatory work by the city of Manchester and Clicks and Links Ltd. A large number of European cities - home to over 27 million people - have already committed to work together towards the aims and objectives of the Green Digital Charter. The charter is also supported by the European Commission.
The Green Digital Charter is a strategic initiative with the support of the GuiDanCe project in its current phase. The initiative adapts to current trends and in particular to the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on the lives and needs of citizens. By signing the Charter a city commits to address sustainability, growth and resilience in the interest of our citizens by:
• Working with other Green Digital Charter signatories to promote the best applications and results of ICT solutions
• Establishing local partnerships to implement the Green Digital Charter 's commitments, and to make these central elements of the cities' wider strategies
• Deploying five large-scale and replicable ICT pilots per city within five years and communicating the impact of these to citizens and local stakeholders
• Decreasing the direct carbon footprint of the ICT sector by 30% per city within ten years.

The aim of the GuiDanCe project is to provide guidance and support to cities’ activities towards their Green Digital Charter commitments. GuiDanCe works towards three main objectives:
1. Strengthen the engagement of GDC signatories to create a club of cities that work together towards their GDC commitments
2. Improve existing tools and services and their impact to GDC signatories
3. Promote GDC signatories’ activities in and outside the EU
GuiDanCe succeeded in establishing Green Digital Charter as one of the most important city-led initiatives in Europe. The project has worked in three directions at the same time:
1. Keep the initiative relevant to the contemporary developments by for example updating the GDC text or creating synergies with new organisations and projects
2. Increase the scope of the Charter for example via the increase in the number of signatory cities
3. Strengthen the ties between the signatory cities for example via the organisation of promotion and training events and activities

GuiDanCe has for the first time introduced a voluntary monitoring process that allowed signatory cities to report on their progress and challenges related to GDC. It also offered many training, exchange and promotion opportunities to European cities and their efforts to use ICT to improve the quality of life of their citizens.
GuiDanCe worked for the support of the Green Digital Charter that at its turn aims to improve the quality of life in cities through the use of digital solutions. The Digital Single Market, the Energy Union, the Urban Agenda and the European Commission's Investment Plan for Europe (Juncker Plan) have provided the framework for the EU's policies, and acknowledge the increasing role of cities and their citizens in helping to shape and achieve policy goals. Cities across Europe are encouraged to deploy integrated infrastructure, develop open urban platforms and draw up European standards for smart cities, enable the emergence of a collaborative and co-creative urban ecosystem and further develop public procurement strategies for innovation. Given the widely recognised need for technology and infrastructure-driven changes, it is even more important to highlight and exploit the social benefits of the digital economy. As the cities are entering a new stage in their evolution, they need to work towards becoming 'smart cities', where innovative technology applications are used to address the societal, economic and sustainable development challenges, improving the quality of life for all citizens. The Green Digital Charter and GuiDanCe commit cities to work together to deliver on the EU's objective of expanding the use of digital technologies that improve the life of their citizens and address the challenges of growth, sustainability and resilience.
Cities of Gdynia, Riga and Sunderland signing the Green Digital Charter