On 6 September, 2021, the International Forum Cooperation and Exchange of Experience between Leading Cities and Capitals of the SCO Countries under the Smart City Programme was held at the initiative of the Executive Agency of the City of Dushanbe, as part of Tajikistan's presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Those taking part discussed prospects for the application of the digital economy programme, smart technologies and the Smart City Programme in trade.
The International Forum's participants gained an insight into modern information and communication technologies and also assessed their influence on the development of the infrastructure in SCO capitals and big cities.
During the Forum, representatives of state agencies of the SCO member states, embassies of foreign states, accredited to Tajikistan international organisations and business circles discussed various subjects and exchanged opinions on the influence of innovations and modern information and communication technologies on the development of capitals and big cities and their capabilities, as well as the infrastructure and the provision of various services to people.
SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov attended the Forum. In the process of delivering his message of greetings, he noted that the holding of the Forum would, doubtless, make an important contribution to expanded mutually beneficial cooperation between capitals and big cities in the SCO region, as regards the implementation of innovative IT and digital technology projects.
"Today, the COVID-19 pandemic, while doing substantial damage to the global economy and public healthcare, has expedited the digital transformation process in virtually all sectors of the states' socio-economic life and has become a new incentive for global economic growth and the stabilisation of employment." Mr Norov explained.
In his opinion, the global digital transformation or "smart technologies" influence key sectors and spheres that, on the one hand, are concentrated in cities. On the other hand, they are inalienable components that keep the cities going. "This includes modern production facilities, safety and security, transport and mobility, energy, communications, housing and utilities, trade and the service sector, healthcare, education and municipal management systems," the SCO Secretary-General went on to say.
According to an International Data Corporation (IDC) report, the entire world spent $80 billion on Smart City projects throughout 2016. This sum could reach $135 billion in 2021. By 2025, the volume of the Smart City global market's solutions may exceed $2.5 trillion, according to a Grand View Research survey.
Mr Norov believes that the Asian market, including the SCO region that accounts for almost 50 percent of the world's population and 60 percent of Eurasia's territory can become the most dynamically developing regional market of Smart City solutions. Over 1,000 smart cities either function or are being established worldwide.
The SCO Secretary-General also informed the International Forum's participants about the efforts being made by the SCO Secretariat and SCO member states to expand mutually beneficial intra-SCO digital economic cooperation as key factors of mid-term and long-term economic growth and sustainable development. "In 2019, while recognising the importance of these aspects, the heads of SCO member states approved the Concept for Cooperation between the SCO Member-States in the Sphere of Digitalisation and Information and Communication Technologies," he went on to say.
"In this context, it is necessary to note that the SCO member states are devoting considerable attention to strengthening practical cooperation in the field of digitalisation and information and communication technologies, smart things and big data, Smart Cities and new production processes based on robotics and artificial intelligence," the SCO Secretary-General noted.
In his opinion, the Statement by the Council of Heads of State of the SCO Member States on Cooperation in the Digital Economy, passed at the 2020 SCO summit, reaffirmed the topicality of experience exchanges regarding the development and implementation of digital economic programmes and the introduction of innovative technologies to facilitate economic growth and boost the economic competitiveness of the SCO member states.
"In this connection, I consider it necessary to draft a programme of the SCO member countries' cooperation to develop and expand Smart Cities by summing up the positive digitalisation experience of cities on the territory of our Organisation," SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov said in conclusion.
First Deputy Mayor of Dushanbe Amirkhon Kurbonzoda, SCO Secretariat representatives, Chairman of Tajikistan's Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of the SCO Business Council Jumakhonzoda Jamshed and Smart City Director Sayedi Samadzoda attended the Forum and also spoke there.
Forum participants also discussed the development of information technologies, internet communication, e-commerce, cooperation under Intellectual Projects, as well as that in the field of transport, education, healthcare and environmental protection.