A journey that began in 2005
Since 1990, the development of Internet and Communication Technologies (ICT) has favoured the more or less widespread generation of initiatives aimed at creating opportunities for communication and information sharing by local and regional communities.
Early experiences often arise spontaneously and circumstantially in the shape of citizen forums or within certain groups in order to address common issues, to the point that each circle or forum has different objectives. This phenomenon first appeared in the U.S. and then moved on to Europe and Asia.
Local Authorities are aware that in the recent decades the development of ICT, innovation and knowledge has increased, making them increasingly present in daily life, and basic components in the social and economic progress of their territories.
The world is becoming increasingly digital and no‐one can remain unaffected by these changes.
A change process of such enormous proportions and an uncertain climate regarding the resulting social model require Local Authorities, as the public authorities closest to the citizens, to provide an appropriate response.
The UCLG Committee of Digital and Knowledge-based Cities
Framed by the process of global reflections on the Information Society promoted by the UN, the II World Summit of Local Authorities on the Information Society was held in Bilbao in 2005, the specific results of which were a Declaration and an Action Plan, the Digital Local Agenda, where the Local Authorities committed to sharing their digital development with other cities and regions in order to forward the achievement of inclusive municipalities and cities and the use of ICT as tools for development.
To achieve these objectives – to reduce the digital divide and implement Digital Local Agenda as means to improve the quality of life of citizens in decentralised governments – the Committee of Digital and Knowledge‐Based Cities of UCLG was created that same year, chaired by the City of Bilbao.
Since then, the Committee has sought to promote the development of a shared vision and joint measures among local governments in favour of an inclusive Information Society that promotes the reduction of the digital divide.
In November 2009, in addition to continuing with the work the Committee had been undertaking to share digital development in solidarity with other cities and regions that are far from reaching this goal, it was deemed necessary to give the Committee a broader scope, based on the local governments’ pursuit of competitive excellence through knowledge management and innovation in cities.
With this in mind, the members of the Committee and the UCLG World Council agreed to change the name of the “Committee on the Information Society” to the “Committee of Digital and Knowledge‐Based Cities” to be more in line with the new objectives and in line with the work that the Committee was to carry out.
The Committee of Digital and Knowledge‐Based Cities (CDKC) of UCLG aims to create an efficient network of cooperation made up of Local Authorities with a view to seizing any opportunities that new information and communication technologies (ICT), innovation and knowledge may offer, and to share those opportunities, assimilate them and adapt them to local needs to create new opportunities for cities.
Evolution of the Committee into Community of Practice
In 2016 a reflection process on its functioning structure was initiated in UCLG, which gave as a result the creation of a new structure of consultation mechanisms integrated by: Policy Councils, Committees, Working groups, Committees of Practice and Forums.
Taking into consideration this new structure, it was propose to turn the Committee of Digital and Knowledge-based Cities into the “Community of Practice Digital Cities” that will still be leader by the City of Bilbao and that will have a more practical focus.