Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference

Monday, 11 October, 2021 (All day) to Friday, 15 October, 2021 (All day)
Friday, 5 March, 2021

Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference (11-15 October 2021) - Virtual Event

During the week of October 11-15 2021, UN-Habitat and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM) welcome you to the groundbreaking Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference, a virtual multi-day global/regional event bringing together science and innovation, policy and practice to enable cities to take accelerated and more ambitious climate action.

The Innovate4Cities Conference will bring together over 1,000 city leaders, scientists, researchers, innovators, academics, youth, and business people to advance pragmatic and action-oriented research and science that will help cities reduce their carbon footprint and increase resilience to climate change.

As a follow-up to the 2018 Edmonton Cities and Climate Change Science Conference, the Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference aims to bolster knowledge creation and solutions implementation and to mobilize the transformative potential of cities towards zero-carbon and climate-resilient cities. Especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, cities will be integral to identifying knowledge and innovation gaps, facilitating cooperation and securing necessary green investments in transitioning to a more just, healthier, safer and sustainable world. The conference will also provide inputs to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) being held in November, and the Special Report on Climate Change and Cities in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Seventh Assessment Report (AR7) cycle.

The key themes of the conference will broadly follow those of the Global Research and Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change Science, many of which are very relevant for our work:

  • Informality
  • Finance
  • Sustainable consumption and production
  • Built and green/blue infrastructure
  • Urban planning and design
  • Uncertainty

The objectives of the conference include:

  • Advancing progress towards meeting the gaps identified by the Global Research and Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change Science and the Innovate4Cities Agenda, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on regional differentiation and demonstrating the solutions and implementation pathways developed so far.
  • Catalyzing engagement between scientists and practitioners for inputs to inform the upcoming IPCC Special Report on Cities and Climate Change (AR7 cycle) and the UNFCCC COP 26 discussions in November 2021.
  • Generating platforms, partnerships and funding commitments for the co-creation and dissemination of policy, technology, and organizational innovations, build upon or reinforce current initiatives and thereby realize systemic shifts towards climate-neutral and resilient cities.

Partners so far include ICLEI, C40, UCLG, Cities Alliance, IIED, UNSDSN, and FutureEarth.


  • Local and regional governments and urban practitioners seeking to share their knowledge, expertise and innovations, and distill the latest science for policy impact
  • Researchers, academics and students looking to  shape the global state of knowledge on climate change and cities
  • National government representatives looking to align national funding and policy priorities with the latest cities and climate change science and innovations
  • Civil society groups, non-profits and entrepreneurs wishing to share their ideas and contributions to making climate action in cities innovative and socially just 
  • Private sector companies and investors seeking intelligence for investment decisions that deliver low-carbon and climate-resilient cities 

How can you be involved?

A sub-committee of UN-Habitat’s newly formed Global Task Force on Climate Change is being put together to support a whole-of-house effort for organizing the I4C conference. Even if not directly on the organizing team, you can get involved by:

  • By spreading the word with your partners. Here is the trello board for the save-the-date announcement that goes live on 4 March. Please share with your partners, retweet, hashtag your partners and reshare messages from UN-Habitat’s social media platforms.
  • By supporting the core I4C team in putting together an exciting conference programme based on your thematic expertise
  • By suggesting possible speakers, panelists.
  • By inviting targeted participants from your networks to attend
  • Sharing ideas on delivering an engaging virtual format conference catering to different time zones spread over a period of 72 hours.
  • By supporting us in partnership development and fundraising: further funds need to be sourced in order to successfully deliver the conference

Find out more

For more information, please reach out to:

  • Jasdeep Randhawa, Innovation & Climate Action Consultant, Programme Development:
  • Steven Bland: Climate change and innovation specialist, Programme Development/Innovation Unit