On 14th and 15th September Andorra held the first scientific summit “City Science Summit”, organized jointly with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). One of the participants of the summit Consul General of the USA in Barcelona Marcos Mandojana thinks that Andorra is fast becoming an Internationally Recognized Intelligent Country:
“I am truly honored to be here today participating in the City Science Summit, and extremely pleased that the MIT Media Lab selected the Principality of Andorra to host this first edition.
The United States and Andorra have excellent relations, and I have been able to witness firsthand the commitment of the Government of Andorra to innovation and sustainability as a means of developing and diversifying its economy and preparing for the future. In MIT Living Lab project terms, Andorra is fast becoming an “Internationally Recognized Intelligent Country.” The Government’s collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, the Andorran private sector, and the local university and research community has enabled Andorra to make huge strides towards this objective.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the world’s leading centers of higher learning and innovation – many would say the world leader – and we are thrilled with this collaboration with the MIT Media Lab and its Changing Places program. This joint effort is positioning Andorra internationally as a real laboratory of sustainable urban planning, connecting the different clusters of economic activity in the country, and attracting foreign investment. I was able to see this Andorra project showcased at the Smart City Expo World Congress last year in Barcelona, and visited Kent’s amazing MIT Media Lab in Boston.
Previously, the Government of Andorra’s ACTUA agency launched, with Google, a project that made Andorra the first country in the world to have its entire retail business offering on Google Maps through Google Business View. The Google Snow Mobile application followed, and today all ski resorts in the country as well as historical monuments can be located through mobile applications.
All these projects clearly show how Andorra’s comprehensive plan of revitalizing and diversifying its economy is looking outward in search of the most innovative information and communication technologies to build a strong, sustainable, and prosperous economy that will benefit Andorra’s citizens and visitors for many years to come.
The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General are pleased to support and facilitate these initiatives as much as possible. We also have a vibrant academic exchange program with Andorra, including 17 years under the Fulbright program which has allowed Andorran students to pursue graduate studies in the United States and American teaching assistants to live in Andorra to support English language education and share American culture with Andorran elementary and secondary school students.
Let me turn to the importance of this summit. According to the United Nations, the world’s population surpassed 7.5 billion this year. The world added one billion inhabitants over the past 12 years, and is projected to add another billion by 2030. By the year 2100, there are projected to be 11.2 billion people sharing our planet.
Meanwhile, the world’s population continues to move from rural areas to urban centers. In 1960, 34% of the world’s population lived in cities. In 2016, this number had risen to more than 54%. And the World Health Organization estimates that, even in less developed countries, a majority of people now live in urban areas.
The world, and each city within it, needs innovative solutions to meet growing challenges in areas like mobility, housing, wellness, energy, and sustainability. We are thrilled that innovators and committed global citizens like you are here this week to explore solutions to these challenges. I know this summit will be an important learning opportunity for all, and will contribute to create a network of truly smart and sustainable cities”.