Pioneer Programme

Our policy roadmap needs to be constantly challenged by real-world conditions to make sure it is fit for purpose. That is why we enlist ‘Pioneer Cities’ to test the roadmap and give the Alliance detailed feedback. They can trial policies and work with Alliance partners to address gaps in their policies.

After extensive research with the 2020/21 cohort of Pioneer Cities, the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance has published a suite of reports examining policy benchmarks across all five of the model policies released in November 2020. To read the reports, produced in collaboration with Deloitte, please use the link below.

Other Pioneers






(Durban) South Africa













*In view of recent events in Ukraine and in line with World Economic Forum’s policy, the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance is no longer engaging with Russian organisations, including the City of Moscow.

Join the Pioneers

The Alliance is now building a new Urban Transformation Hub to provide the Pioneer City experience to more cities.  

Joining will give you access to policy assessment and benchmarking tools designed to take you through the Policy Roadmap. You will also get access to a global community of experts and peers that will help you to identify the fundamental steps you need to take to make sure your smart city has an ethical, sustainable foundation.

Frequently asked questions

1. How do you decide if my city is suitable?

We try to balance our mixture of cities to be representative across geography, size, resources and maturity. We have a preference for cities that can demonstrate a commitment to the smart city agenda, since this is indicative that they will commit to the process.

2. Is the Alliance open to non-G20 countries?

Yes. The Alliance was established in partnership with the G20, however, stakeholders from all countries are welcome to join and contribute to this effort.

3. Is there a cost to join as a Pioneer City?

No. There is no cost to join the Alliance or join as a Pioneer City.

4. What does a city need to commit to?

All Pioneer Cities need to nominate an official to act as a point of contact, and commit to having officials attend relevant meetings (at least one per month over six months). Officials will need to spend at least 1-2 working days undertaking an internal policy review, and a further 1-2 days formulating proposals for deployment. 

Cities are encouraged to share their existing policies to be shared on the Alliance website with other cities, but this is not mandated.

Although Pioneer Cities are encouraged to commit to piloting and deploying new or improved policies based on the framework, no such commitment is mandated.

5. My city is already developing smart city policies / working with another project. Why join this program?

The Alliance policy roadmap is intended to complement cities’ existing policy and smart city efforts. We are equally interested in piloting the roadmap in the context of cities with active smart city and policy development initiatives, to understand and build on this complementarity

6. This kind of policy roadmap won’t work in my city, we are unique.

All cities are different, and we need to make sure that the policy roadmap can still provide value in spite of this. That is why  it is important that we pilot the roadmap with a range of cities. So if your city is a unique case, then it would make an even more powerful test case.

7. Does everything need to be in English?

Most Alliance work is conducted in English, so to get maximum value we would encourage you to assign an English-speaking contact to the Alliance. In addition, our institutional partners can provide language support in some geographies including Japan, Latin America, China and India.