UNICC, ITU and Digital Dubai Launch a Global Initiative to Promote Virtual Worlds Solutions for Cities

The Global Initiative on Discovering the CitiVerse was launched during the first UN Virtual Worlds Day

14 June, 2024

Photo: ITU
GENEVA – 14 June 2024

UNICC, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Digital Dubai launched today the “Global Initiative on Virtual Worlds—Discovering the CitiVerse” to foster innovative virtual worlds solutions that support sustainable development in cities. The announcement was made during the first-ever UN Virtual Worlds Day organized by ITU in partnership with UNICC and 16 other UN partners.

Virtual worlds, including the metaverse and CitiVerse, are digital spaces emerging from the fusion of physical and virtual realities by combining advanced technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), spatial computing, IoT, digital twins, blockchain, artificial intelligence and cloud computing. This evolving technology holds transformative potential in supporting the work of the United Nations and accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by providing immersive and interactive platforms for collaboration and problem-solving.

In this context, the CitiVerse initiative will drive capacity development, facilitate sharing of best practices and develop a sandbox environment for cities to simulate virtual world scenarios. This global platform will also ensure that open, interoperable and innovative virtual worlds can be used safely and with confidence by people, businesses and public institutions.

Photo: ITU

By harnessing the transformative power of virtual worlds, we can accelerate progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Virtual Worlds initiative is an essential step on the path of metaverse innovation that can enrich the lives of city dwellers everywhere.

Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Secretary-General, ITU

The initiative rests on three pillars that will bring the CitiVerse from concept to community:

  • Bringing the CitiVerse to Life: Developing expert guidance, raising awareness around CitiVerse opportunities and challenges, and developing and adopting key performance indicators.
  • Connecting Cities with the Virtual and Real Worlds: Advancing cities’ integration of emerging technologies, curating CitiVerse use cases, and developing a sandbox environment and related technical tools.
  • Tunneling the CitiVerse: Fostering a community of practice to encourage collaboration among cities, organizing urban problem-solving competitions, and implementing training programmes to boost CitiVerse expertise.

This initiative represents a proactive response to the emerging technologies and their impact on people’s lives, particularly in the field of sustainable urban development through virtual worlds. Today, we see the significant role of artificial intelligence in all fields, and we can imagine the revolutionary implications when it merges with metaverse, virtual reality, augmented reality and spatial computing.

H.E Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Director-General, Digital Dubai

During the launch event, UNICC, ITU, and Digital Dubai pointed out the potential of metaverse solutions for city challenges in areas such as urban planning, education, and public and municipal services. In that sense, UNICC Director Sameer Chauhan highlighted the significant value of creating a sandbox for the safe experimentation of those solutions as part of the Global Initiative and its prospective impact on improved citizen-centric services.

At UNICC, we are thrilled to be part of this innovative global initiative with ITU and Digital Dubai. We believe this initiative allows us to explore metaverse solutions that better meet citizens’ needs and share knowledge and best practices among cities worldwide. By paving the way for future innovations through such a platform, we can unlock the potential of virtual worlds to improve public service delivery, optimise the use of public resources and enhance citizen participation.

Sameer Chauhan, Director, UNICC

For more information about this initiative, please visit this page.