Meeting of the members of the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights in Barcelona in November 2019.
BCN Ciutat Digital

The Cities Coalition for Digital Rights completes its 2020 Strategy in Barcelona

On the 19th of November, the second Members took of the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights took place in Barcelona, with a total of 15 cities present. We took the opportunity to reflect on the past  year, as well as to look forward to the next and to finalize the Coalition’s Strategy 2020.


Looking back

In de first year of the Coalition, a broad foundation was established to further build upon. The commitment grew, and so far, 45 cities formally confirmed to endorse the 5 principles of the Coalition. Their digital policy will pro-actively take Digital Rights into account, while implementing co-created solutions that adhere these rights.

The first members meeting in June was successful in aligning its ambitions with city expectations and needs. several informative webinars on e.g. AI in the city and Data-principles in action proved useful in sharing knowledge and evoking discussion.

The workshop on AI Ethics held in Helsinki, was a productive next step in city-to-city collaborations, resulting in AI Ethics Guidelines from London and Helsinki. More deliverables like this will follow during the next year, supported by the working group “New Technology”.

Based on cities’ needs, 4 Working groups are created so far:

  • New Technologies: Anticipate accountability when implementing new technologies in the city. AI as first focus.
  • Open Technologies:  Produce policies aiming to improve digital rights through the use of open technologies.
  • Data Economy: Work towards a policy position about the role of cities in the data economy. 
  • Digital Inclusion: Prioritize initiatives concerning digital accessibility to advance social inclusion.


Looking forward – Next milestones

The main focus will be on creating re-usable deliverables, mutual learning, and local implementation.

The next milestone will be the members meeting in June in Amsterdam, where the cities will present their learning questions, initiatives, deliverables and learning questions. Next year in Barcelona, awards will be handed out to most impressive efforts and collaborations from city-members.

Meanwhile, an online a knowledge platform on digital rights will be created. Finally, we will work towards a more global representation in terms of member-cities, while also actively recruit small and intermediate cities as member.

These insight provided solid input to finalize the Strategy 2020 for the coalition, with 40 actions, 10 objectives and 4 goals:

Policy Goals, driven by working groups

  • Joint initiatives and deliverables. City members have produced deliverables and concrete collaborations on the topics of Open Technology, New Technology (AI), Data Economy and Digital Inclusion that support local implementation.
  • Train digital policy makers. City-to-city collaborations address local learning questions while learning by doing in practice.

Coalition Goals, driven by the core-team

  • Build the coalition. At least 120 Cities from the 5 continents are members of the Coalition, with more than 100 projects to promote digital rights and city-members are in close contact to learn from eachother.
  • Reach International Impact. International policies from several regional and global organizations increasingly take Digital Rights into consideration with use-cases and positions of  city-members.

Click here for the Strategy 2020, take a look and feel free to start working, contact us to start collaboration, join the coalition! You can contribute as a city member, or start a project with us as a partner of collaborator. Together we will make the 2020 objectives reality!

To make this happen, we unite in collective action and local implementation by:

  • City leadership on technology = Local implementation and mutual support. Applying expert-knowledge in practical city context to tackle challenges collaboratively.
  • Communities of practice & knowledge = Collective action and sharing know-how. Forming working groups and partnerships focused on digital rights topics relevant for City-members.
  • International policy & positioning = Uniting voices > Policy outreach and advocacy. Gathering local use-cases and experience to influence international policy.


Next events
In March they will be present at the Milano Digital Week 2020, with Digital Rights working sessions and key-note discussions.

More information on the blog Cities for digital rights.

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