G3ict, World Economic Forum, and Microsoft Partner to Help Cities Invest in and Deploy Accessible Technology for Local Government
G3ict, the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs, and the World Economic Forum, Secretariat for the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance, join forces to launch a project to help cities worldwide adopt technology procurement policies that support greater inclusion.
Under the new Inclusive Procurement Launchpad project, G3ict, a nonprofit organization leading global efforts to define how cities can be both smart and inclusive, will partner with an initial cohort of six cities to adopt the Forum’s model policy that uses the procurement process to support more accessible digital city services for all, including persons with disabilities. The first city selected for the project is Los Angeles.
"This past year has shown us the power of technology to bring us together," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "By leveraging our purchasing power, the City of Los Angeles has an opportunity to address inequities by enhancing our digital services with more accessible content. Setting this example will not only increase digital accessibility for people with disabilities, but improve the way the City does business."
Cities worldwide are leading a digital transformation of government services and activities. They are uniquely positioned to use their considerable purchasing power, including of ICT, to advance the rights and digital inclusion of persons with disabilities and older persons. The Forum’s procurement model policy requires any ICT purchases be accessible as defined by global standards.
"Technology holds the promise to be a great equalizer among diverse urban communities—yet far too often our failure to ensure universal access to new technologies does the opposite, exacerbating and deepening existing social inequities," said Jeff Merritt, Head of Urban Transformation at the World Economic Forum. "This new partnership is an important step in helping cities leverage their purchasing power to ensure the benefits of technological innovation can reach and benefit all city residents."
"By partnering with the World Economic Forum, G3ict and its global network of expert partners will help cities like Los Angeles achieve their accessibility and inclusion goals," said James Thurston, Vice President for Global Strategy and Development at G3ict. "We appreciate Microsoft’s support in making this project and partnership a reality."
The Microsoft Corporation, in alignment with its new commitment to help reduce the digital divide for people disabilities in areas such as education, employment and access to technology, contributed to the advisory group that developed the Forum’s model policy, and is providing funding and expertise to this new global initiative.
"As cities find new ways to transform their services such as transportation or broadband access with digital technologies, ensuring accessibility and inclusive solutions are integrated is more important than ever to close a persistent digital divide. City governments are in a unique position to expand community access and participation by bringing together innovative technologies such as cloud, 5G, and IOT to provide real time information that connects people to their community and the world around them," said Dr. Julia Glidden, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Worldwide Public Sector. "This new effort by G3ict is an incredible leap forward in helping cities become both smarter and more inclusive of the people they serve."