City2City
Iran tackles its cities' carbon emissions
"Iran spends about 20 percent of its GDP on energy subsidies. Improving energy efficiency is vital to the country’s progress and can contribute to environmental and economic sustainability."

Iran tackles its cities' carbon emissions 

Blog Post for Urban October | Posted on 21 October 2021

Author: Claudio Providas, UNDP Resident Representative in Iran

Urbanization is one of the defining trends of the 21st century. By 2050, two-thirds of the global population will live in cities. However, many cities are grappling with the challenges of growing inequality and the continued difficulties in shaping sustainable and livable spaces. Despite this, cities remain places of opportunity and prosperity. They are also key to ‘building forward better’ from the COVID-19 pandemic. As we work towards recovery, UNDP looks at cities as hubs of community, human innovation, and ingenuity.

Iran is amongst the top 10 countries contributing to carbon emissions and 75 percent of its population is urban.

Iran’s energy consumption increased by 5 to 8 percent between 1990 and 2019, which is about five times higher than the worldwide average. Buildings, particularly in urban areas, account for a considerable amount of energy consumption, which is about  2.5 to 4 times more than the global mean, and 70 percent of this is from public buildings, which waste up to 60 percent of their energy.

Iran spends about 20 percent of its GDP on energy subsidies. Improving energy efficiency is vital to the country’s progress and can contribute to environmental and economic sustainability.

Much of this work is taking place in the capital Tehran, which has grown in 200 years to one of the world’s largest cities, with around 9 million inhabitants.

UNDP, together with the Vice Presidency for Science and Technology and the Tehran Municipality. is working towards clean and renewable energy and increasing efficiency in urban buildings. The initiative is expected this year to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent in 400 buildings.

Beyond this, together with partners, UNDP Iran supports integrating circular economy priorities into urban planning focusing on waste management through a strategic partnership with Tehran Municipality and UN-Habitat.

UNDP Iran is combining resource efficiency with low-carbon development by recycling bottles in Tehran Mega City. This initiative will be introduced at the national level and will contribute to decoupling economic growth from the unstable use of natural resources.

Together with national partners and the UNDP Global Centre for Technology, Innovation, and Sustainable Development in Singapore, UNDP Iran is looking at supporting the Smart Tehran Program, which aims to transform the city into a more sustainable and livable place for all citizens, visitors, and businesses. We are using the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic to redefine living and commuting.

We mobilized approximately US$10 million to address COVID-19 prevention, risk communication, and detection. UNDP will create approximately 10 thousand green jobs focused on small enterprises and home-based employment, through innovation, diversification, and using digital platforms to connect customers in cities with sellers in rural communities.

An example is our work in the Lake Urmia basin, where UNDP in partnership with the Department of Environment and with the generous funding of the government and people of Japan, is addressing the impact of climate change by reducing the amount of water used in irrigation by 30 percent while improving agricultural yields. UNDP is also helping to diversify rural livelihoods, reducing dependency on agriculture and natural resources, engaging local communities in new income-earning initiatives such as producing personal protective equipment for health workers.

UNDP together with its partners is seizing the COVID-19 pandemic to build forward better, learning from the crisis and responding with greener strategies, greener infrastructure, financial instruments, and green jobs.

Iran is amongst the top 10 countries contributing to carbon emissions and 75 percent of its population is urban. Photo: Hosein Charbaghi/Unsplash 

Retrieved from https://www.undp.org/blog/iran-tackles-its-cities-carbon-emissions

La Paz and El Alto on their way to integrated urban development
The main challenges for both municipalities are structural issues that require joint responses. Addressing these will require a new paradigm of cooperation.

La Paz and El Alto on their way to integrated urban development

Blog Post for Urban October | Posted on October 18, 2021 

Authors:

  • Eva Copa, Mayor of El Alto
  • Iván Arias, Mayor of La Paz
  • Luciana Mermet, Resident Representative, UNDP Bolivia

Bolivia is a predominantly urban country. According to projections by the National Statistics Institute, 80 percent of Bolivians will be living in urban areas by 2050.

Urban expansion is associated with unplanned settlements with low densities and gaps in basic services. For municipalities, this results in demand for more and better services and public works, and solutions for such issues as transportation and mobility, environmental impact, informal settlements in hazardous areas and citizen insecurity, all of which require rapidly-implemented solutions with often limited resources.

A shared territorial space

The "Agglomeration of La Paz" comprises La Paz and El Alto and is home to more than two million people, or 17 percent of the country.

It has a young society with a strong identity and a territory with extraordinary potential to build rural-urban syncretism and make cultural diversity its greatest potential.

The municipality of La Paz is the seat of government and the epicentre of the country's political and social activity. The territorial distribution of the population is asymmetric: 96 percent is concentrated in seven urban macro-districts covering nine percent of the territory, while four percent lives in two rural districts. It has more than 350 rivers. Many of these are underground, which can give rise to inappropriate land use; 70 percent of its urban area is on land with a moderate, high or very high level of risk.

El Alto, more than 4,000 metres above sea level, is linked geographically, socially, culturally and economically to La Paz. It is characterized by constant flows of migrants which have given it the country’s second-biggest growth rate. More than one million people live in 14 urban and rural districts. The predominant culture is Indigenous Aymara.

Challenges and opportunities

Restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 health emergency have affected both municipalities in loss of lives and of costs to the economy. But these problems also present opportunities to generate inclusive, participative models of development. Digital tools that help create opportunities for citizen participation and urban innovation have great potential.

How should we bring this new scenario into being? By closing technology gaps and placing citizens and the environment at the centre of decision making. We present some examples of sustainable development in both municipalities which illustrate and our commitment to structural transformation.

Digital neighbourhood

The Sustainable Development Goals have became the long-term vision, focused on well-being and multidimensional policies that prioritize healthy living, inclusive urban mobility and decent work. 

Working with government agencies, the UNDP Accelerator Lab has promoted the Digital Neighbourhood project. This uses technological tools updated in real time to enable every resident to play a leading role in their own development while contributing to their neighbourhoods.

This initiative began in the neighbourhood of San Sebastián using collective intelligence aimed at its young people, which constitute 45 percent of the population, in order to map and create solutions in response to their needs, which included internet access and digital education services.

Urban big data

The municipality of El Alto, with the support of the UNDP Accelerator Lab and in partnership with the Bolivian Waste Treatment Company, is implementing the first urban big data project in Bolivia.

Solid waste collectors use an interactive app to collect data, based on the waste-collection routes in the municipality’s District 3.

The municipality will have a new model for decision making that will facilitate evidence-based design and policies that will be replicable in other cities.

These actions will be used to create strategies that take full account of the aspirations of the people. They will show real engagement with the challenge of leaving no one behind. This aim is a new reality free from inequalities, and with a cultural identity and social, economic and cultural dynamics founded in the plurality, shared history and geographical beauty that make El Alto and La Paz unique. UNDP and the leaders of both municipal governments are committed to addressing and resolving these problems.

More than 2 million people live in the agglomeration of La Paz and El Alto. Photo: Unsplash

Retrieved from https://www.undp.org/blog/la-paz-and-el-alto-their-way-integrated-urban-development

“100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030” European Mission Launched - cities can register until 31 January
On the 25th of November, the European Commission launched a call for expression of interest for cities to join the European Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities. The objectives of the mission are to achieve 100 climate-neutral and smart European cities by 2030 and for these cities to become experimentation and innovation hubs to enable all European cities to follow suit by 2050. The call for expression of interest is available here. Cities can register now and have until 31 January 2022 to respond to the call. 

“100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030” European Mission Launched - cities can register until 31 January

by Anna Francis | Originally published in Energy Cities on 26 November 2021

On the 25th of November, 2021, the European Commission launched a call for expression of interest for cities to join the European Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities. The objectives of the mission are to achieve 100 climate-neutral and smart European cities by 2030 and for these cities to become experimentation and innovation hubs to enable all European cities to follow suit by 2050. Cities with over 50 000 inhabitants are eligible to apply and large cities are particularly encouraged. For countries with five or fewer cities above 100 000 population (i.e. Croatia (HR), Cyprus (CY), Estonia (EE), Ireland (IE), Latvia (LV), Lithuania (LT), Luxembourg (LU), Malta (MT), Slovenia (SI) and Slovakia (SK)), there is a lower threshold of 10 000 inhabitants. Cities with all kinds of climate-neutrality starting points are encouraged to apply.

The cities selected will be at the innovation forefront of the transition towards climate neutrality, as part of the European Green Deal. As the fight against climate change increasingly turns to the deployment of solutions, cities are best placed to be the early adopters of the policies to get to climate neutrality. In the process, it will allow them to deliver multiple benefits to their communities in terms of reduced air and noise pollution, less congestion, lower energy bills, and healthier lifestyles.

Cities participating in the mission will prepare and implement a “Climate City Contract” that will be co-created with local stakeholders and citizens. The benefits that the Cities Mission will offer cities include:

  • Tailor-made advice and assistance from a “Mission Platform” for example towards developing an Investment Plan to draw in external finance
  • Unlocking additional funding and financing opportunities through a “Mission label”
  • Funding opportunities for cities to be part of large innovation actions, pilot projects, and demonstrators
  • Support through a national coordination network
  • Networking opportunities, learning, and exchange of experiences among cities
  • Buy-in and involvement of citizens and local communities for climate-neutral solutions
  • High visibility – raising the political profile and attractiveness for investment and skilled workers

The mission will support different sectors to work together on smart, digital and other types of solutions to help achieve climate neutrality. Key sectors include:

  • Stationary energy (buildings, equipment, facilities), energy production and distribution
  • Transport
  • Waste management
  • Industrial processes and product use
  • Agriculture, forestry, and other land use

The Commission published an Info Kit for cities and a list of Frequently Asked Questions in October that contain detailed information about the mission. The call for expression of interest is available here. Cities can register now and have until 31 January 2022 to respond to the call. The Commission will announce the list of selected cities by March 2022. The first cities will be able to start working on their Climate City Contracts with the support of the Mission Platform as soon as the selection process is completed. Energy Cities is part of the NetZeroCities consortium, tasked with establishing and implementing the work of the Mission Platform.

Original article: https://energy-cities.eu/100-climate-neutral-and-smart-cities-by-2030-european-mission-launched/

Cover Image retrieved from here

Transforming Karachi into a more livable city begins with public spaces
Recognizing that a more livable city with open, public spaces can improve residents’ quality of life, the Government of Sindh and the World Bank launched the Karachi Neighborhood Improvement Project (KNIP) in 2017, laying the foundation for a multi-year effort focused on inclusivity, livability, and prosperity.

Transforming Karachi into a more livable city begins with public spaces

by Annie Gapihan and Fuad Malkawi | World Bank Blogs | Published on 9 December 2021

Newly renovated People's Square in Karachi, Pakistan

The newly renovated People's Square in Karachi, Pakistan

Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, a premier industrial and financial center, is one of the largest cities in the world—yet it faces the challenge of ranking among the bottom 10 cities in the 2019 Global Livability Index. Urban green space has shrunk to less than 4% of the city’s built-up area, and with a density of more than 20,000 people/square kilometer, Karachi is also experiencing commercial development that threatens to swallow its few shared open spaces—all the more vital given the need for social distancing today.

Given COVID-19’s 2+-year duration, cities around the world are starting to find ways to make public spaces and streets pedestrian-friendly to adapt to new norms of social interaction. 

In Karachi, KNIP assists with upgrading streets, parks, plazas, and other open spaces in three neighborhoods: Saddar, the historic and commercial downtown; Korangi, a low-income area to the south near industrial estates and the coast; and Malir, a low-income area to the east of the airport, along the trajectory of urban expansion. KNIP also supports streamlining and automating construction permits and business-registration processes to improve the city’s competitiveness.

In KNIP’s first phase, it successfully inaugurated 39 hectares of revitalized open spaces in all three neighborhoods. The new People’s Square in Saddar is the flagship accomplishment under this phase.

For years, this area had been neglected and was mainly used for parking. What the space did have was the potential to be transformed, because of its resident organizations: educational institutions with more than 5,000 students; the Sindh Secretariat and Karachi Metropolitan Corporation government buildings with more than 2,000 staff; and markets and cultural institutions with thousands of visitors each year—these flank the Square and outline a clear demand for pedestrian-friendly space.

With funds from KNIP, the road was closed to traffic, and the one-hectare space was converted into a pedestrian plaza equipped with public facilities, seating areas, trees, and booths that local vendors can use. The space also provides blank walls as canvases for mural artists to showcase their work.

Under the plaza, a two-story underground parking garage was constructed for 350 vehicles to help alleviate congested streets. The Karachi Municipal Corporation hired a local contractor to manage on-street and off-street parking and will be responsible for maintaining the plaza, its benches and other street furniture. The preliminary feasibility study shows that revenues from parking fees will be able to cover the plaza’s operating costs.

As the first World Bank-supported operation in Karachi in two decades, KNIP underscores the potential to transform the city into a more livable, competitive one.  People’s Square and other investments under KNIP’s first phase show the value of sustained engagement among provincial and local governments, civil society, and the private sector. The investments have also garnered political support and fueled emerging local movements to refurbish more spaces for public use, such as a recent Awareness Walk for Reclaiming Public Space in which hundreds of residents, city officials, and activists participated.

Residents took part in a recent walk for Karachi

Residents, city officials, and activists took part in a recent Walk for Karachi.

The success of the first phase of the project has led to even more transformative approaches in the next phase. These include cross-sectoral World Bank interventions of more than $800 million to support municipal management, transport, water and sewerage services, and solid waste management.

Phase 1 also offers lessons for future investments in the world’s megacities. Perhaps most important, it proves that working at the neighborhood level can generate momentum for more ambitious transformations.

Karachi experienced visible results in the short- to medium-term; these can be scaled up to enhance life for all the city’s residents. Improving public spaces has the potential to lead a whole urban movement to improve sustainability and inclusion at local levels. 

While the end of the first phase of work is too early to assess KNIP’s impact on Karachi as a whole, similar World Bank projects in other historic cities—Tbilisi, Georgia; Tunis, Tunisia; and Salt, Jordan; among others—have shown positive results, including job growth, business creation, and an appreciation of the value of real estate. Such improvements attract private sector investment and bring residents and visitors back to greener, more livable neighborhoods that everyone can enjoy.

Article and images retrieved from https://blogs.worldbank.org/sustainablecities/transforming-karachi-more-livable-city-begins-public-spaces

A Territorial Approach to the Sustainable Development Goals in Moscow, Russian Federation
Although the Sustainable Development Goals are not integrated explicitly into the main urban development plans of the city of Moscow, the local government has started using them as a checklist to assess the contribution of its sectoral programmes to sustainable development, as well as related strengths and weaknesses. Moscow presents very positive educational results, low unemployment rates and a strong innovation capacity, but challenges exist regarding sustainable consumption and production, affordable housing, and air quality. The SDGs provide a framework to address these challenges in an integrated way and to contribute, in particular, to the sustainable transition of its industrial sector. The SDGs also facilitate the promotion of synergies across the three main urban development plans, catalyse needed investments in sustainability and enhance collaboration with the private sector.

A Territorial Approach to the Sustainable Development Goals in Moscow, Russian Federation

VIRTUAL LAUNCH: 1 December 2020  | 11:00 – 12:30 (CET) 

Register here

Although the Sustainable Development Goals are not integrated explicitly into the main urban development plans of the city of Moscow, the local government has started using them as a checklist to assess the contribution of its sectoral programmes to sustainable development, as well as related strengths and weaknesses. Moscow presents very positive educational results, low unemployment rates and a strong innovation capacity, but challenges exist regarding sustainable consumption and production, affordable housing and air quality. The SDGs provide a framework to address these challenges in an integrated way and to contribute, in particular, to the sustainable transition of its industrial sector. The SDGs also facilitate the promotion of synergies across the three main urban development plans, catalyse needed investments in sustainability and enhance collaboration with the private sector.

Master of Ceremony:

  • Mr Emil Petrosyan, Deputy Head of the Department of Investment and Industrial Policy, City of Moscow, Russian Federation

Welcome video message (5 min)

  • Mr Vladimir Efimov, Deputy Mayor of Moscow, Russian Federation

Launch of the report (10 min)

  • Ms Aziza Akhmouch, Head of the Cities, Urban Policies and Sustainable Development Division in the Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, OECD

Moderator:

  • Mr. Rudiger Ahrend, Head of Economic Analysis, Data and Statistics DIvision, Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, OECD

Stakeholders’ testimonies (15 min)

  • Mr Alexander Prokhorov, Head of the Department of the Investment and Industrial Policy of Moscow “How Moscow is implementing the SDGs”
  • Mr Eduard Lysenko, Head of the Department of Information Technologies of Moscow “Digitalisation as a driver of transformation and sustainable development”
  • Ms Evgeniya Semutnikova, Deputy Head of the Department of Nature Management and Environmental Protection of Moscow “The climate agenda in Moscow” 

Discussion with international peer-reviewers  (25 min)

  • Ms Polina Kruchkova, Deputy Head of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russian Federation “The SDGs to strengthen multi-level governance for sustainability in the Russian Federation”
  • Ms Adriana Domingos, State Audit Court, State of Paraná, Brazil  “SDGs and budgeting at local level”
  • Ms Audur Finnbogadóttir, Strategy Manager, Municipality of Kópavogur, Iceland: “Engaging private companies in the SDGs localisation”

Q&A (10 min)

Next steps (10 min)

  • Ms. Elena Gushchina, Managing Director of “VEB.RF”, Russian Federation
  • Mr Stefano Marta, Coordinator, A Territorial Approach to the SDGs, Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, OECD

For more information contact Stefano.MARTA@oecd.org

The OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities provides comparative statistics, analysis and capacity building for local and national actors to work together to unleash the potential of entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises, promote inclusive and sustainable regions and cities, boost local job creation, and support sound tourism policies.

https://www.oecd.org/cfe/cities/ | @OECD_local | linkedin.com/company/oecd-local | Newsletter

How sustainability indicators can drive better decision-making: Lessons from Argentina and Brazil
Join UrbanShift for our third webinar as we continue to explore how national governments are supporting cities to become more sustainable through the implementation of sustainability indicators and diagnostic tools for strategic decision-making and urban development. We’ll hear from national and local-level officials in Argentina and Brazil about their efforts to apply these newly launched tools and the ways in which the lessons can be replicated in other countries and cities around the world.

How sustainability indicators can drive better decision-making: Lessons from Argentina and Brazil

Date and Time: Thursday, 9 December 2021 | 08:00 – 09:00 EST 

Join UrbanShift for our third webinar as we continue to explore how national governments are supporting cities to become more sustainable through the implementation of sustainability indicators and diagnostic tools for strategic decision-making and urban development. We’ll hear from national and local-level officials in Argentina and Brazil about their efforts to apply these newly launched tools and the ways in which the lessons can be replicated in other countries and cities around the world.

Register here: https://wri.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_O41nBUcgRr2yjoJCFE0ifA

The State of Climate Ambition: Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Global Outlook Report 2021
This report makes clear that higher-quality NDCs and more inclusive processes are underpinning ambition goals, but developing countries still require significant support to deliver on their targets. Finance remains a fundamental barrier to NDC ambition and acceleration of climate action in developing countries. Developed economies must therefore address their financial obligations in this context, while the G20 must show much greater leadership by acting urgently and boldly on climate action if the world is to have any hope of achieving the Paris Agreement’s global goals. Finally, truly transformational change does not happen without change-makers; those most impacted by the climate crisis – and by climate solutions – must have a seat at the table.

The State of Climate Ambition: Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Global Outlook Report 2021

by UNDP | October 2021

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Against a backdrop of increasing scientific concern and public awareness about the climate crisis, UNDP set out to review if policymakers were keeping the promises they made in 2019 when the global state of climate ambition was assessed with UNFCCC in the first NDC Global Outlook report, The Heat is On. We were curious. Is the Paris Agreement working? And if yes, then who is doing the work? Which countries are leading the way on ambition – and which ones are falling behind?

UNDP had also launched the Climate Promise initiative at the UN Climate Ambition Summit in September 2019 as a commitment to ensuring that lack of funds and/or capacity would not be a barrier for any developing country that wished to prepare a more ambitious national climate pledge, or NDC. The Climate Promise quickly became the world’s largest offer of support to countries for the NDC revision process.

At that time, there was no warning that the world would soon be facing a global health pandemic and that UN climate negotiations would be postponed a full year to November 2021 in Glasgow. But even as countries began to indicate that they would miss the original UNFCCC deadline of December 2020 for submission of so-called “second-generation” NDCs, the intentions of Climate Promise countries to submit more ambitious climate pledges kept growing.

The key findings presented here unpack the concept of “ambition” against reality on the ground, drawing upon UNDP analysis and experience in Climate Promise countries. Do higher-quality NDCs result in more ambition? Do more inclusive approaches to NDC revision lead to greater ambition? Did the COVID-19 pandemic impact countries’ intentions? And what opportunities are emerging to accelerate NDC implementation? 

The Paris Agreement’s “ratchet mechanism” is working …

On the surface, the overall global trend of climate ambition appears promising. A key principle of the Paris Agreement adopted in 2015 was that nations would “ratchet up” their efforts to combat climate change every five years. The aim is to demonstrate a progression beyond the previous pledge, and to reflect a country’s “highest possible ambition.”

Figure 1 compares global ambition intentions in 2019 to 2021. The number of countries intending to enhance their NDCs – either by increasing their GHG emission reduction targets and/or by strengthening their adaptation goals – rose from 75 countries in 2019 to 178 in 2021. In 2019, 37 countries planned to update without raising ambition – ultimately, only three have done so. The unclear and/or no information category fell from 71 countries in 2019 to 15 in 2021, showing that even amidst one of the most devastating global health crises, countries continued to define their climate pledges. Finally, the number of countries with no intention to submit currently stands at only one, compared to 14 in 2019, many of which included some of the world’s major emitters.

Another positive trend is the increasing ratification of the Paris Agreement: Angola, Kyrgyzstan, and Lebanon ratified the Paris Agreement in 2020 and South Sudan and Turkey in 2021, while Iraq is well-advanced towards that aim. This leaves only four countries out of 197 still pending: Eritrea, Iran, Libya, and Yemen. For all UNFCCC ratification dates, see here.

NDC submissions are strongly aligned to UNFCCC deadlines

The COVID-19 health pandemic left most countries grappling with the timing of their NDC submissions, as government priorities shifted to minimizing the economic fall-out and human impact of a world in lockdown. Despite this major challenge, as of 12 October 2021, 143 countries had submitted second-generation NDCs to the UNFCCC (including four interim NDCs) – a significant increase from the two that had been submitted by September 2019. It is anticipated that 38 more countries will submit NDCs by the end of 2021, with the majority still aiming to do so by the COP26 negotiations in Glasgow in November. As shown in Figure 3, this would bring the total number of submitted second-generation NDCs to 181 – representing 92% of all Parties to the Paris Agreement.

The timing of NDC submissions aligns strongly with deadlines established by the UNFCCC for the inclusion of NDCs in the NDC synthesis report. At the end of 2019, four countries had submitted second-generation NDCs, but by December 2020 – which was when COP26 was initially expected to take place – 67 more countries had made submissions, of which 84% were submitted in Q4. Similarly, in 2021, 40 countries submitted NDCs (excluding interim submissions) by the UNFCCC deadline of 30 July for inclusion in its synthesis report and an additional 32 countries made a 12 October deadline to be included in an update to the report.

… but the world needs even greater ambition and faster action

The updated ladder of ambition for 2021 (Figure 2) shows the potential significance of having 90% of the world submitting, or planning to submit enhanced NDCs to the UNFCCC. In total, these 178 nations are responsible for nearly 80% of global GHG emissions. Figure 2 unpacks country intentions further by examining whether these 178 countries are pledging to raise mitigation ambition – that is, are outlining commitments in their NDCs to curb their emissions of the GHGs that cause global warming – or more focused on ramping up their plans to adapt and become more resilient to climate impacts. As shown, 90% have raised mitigation ambition, or plan to do so, while 97% are incorporating stronger adaptation goals. A small subset have focused solely on strengthening either mitigation or adaptation plans, but not both. Figure 2 also shows that the three countries that are updating their climate pledges but not raising ambition represent only 4.3% of global GHG emissions. As of 12 October, only one higher-emitting country had not signaled any clear plans to submit an enhanced NDC. For the remaining 15 countries where intentions are unclear, or no information is currently available (representing 11.7% of global GHG emissions), there is still a possibility that more ambitious NDCs could be put forward.

Nonetheless, despite this progress, the latest analyses of NDCs reveal that much greater ambition is needed across the board. The UNFCCC (2021) reports that global emissions will be 16% higher in 2030 than they were in 2010 based on current climate pledges – far from the 45% reduction by 2030 needed to limit warming to 1.5°C. UNEP (2021) similarly acknowledges that while countries show some progress in their new climate pledges, the aggregate effect on global emissions is disappointing.

Climate ambition is nuanced and context-specific

However, beneath the surface of these promising trends lies a more nuanced picture of climate ambition. This report dives into what ambition looks like through the lens of countries’ NDCs and the revision processes that defined them. Specifically, we find that:

  • Vulnerable nations are leading on NDC ambition – the role expected from the G20;
  • Second-generation NDCs are of higher quality, but finance remains a hurdle;
  • For many countries – but not all–inclusivity drives ambition;
  • NDCs can provide a blueprint for sustainable development and green recovery, but countries must lock in this pathway now.

Access the full report here: https://climatepromise.undp.org/state-of-climate-ambition

UNDP Handbook on Smart Urban Innovations
The UNDP Smart Urban Handbook explores how any city can be a smart city. Cities on this smart city journey can learn from and leverage a global toolkit of smart urban innovations and applied insights to tackle key city challenges or address citizen priorities.

Handbook on Smart Urban Innovations

by UNDP | 20 October 2021

‘Smart Cities’ are much more than digital solutions and cutting-edge technologies. A smart city is citizen-centered - responding to the needs, realities, and aspirations of its citizens; using technology and innovation to improve their lives and livelihoods. The UNDP Smart Urban Handbook explores how any city can be a smart city.

Cities on this smart city journey can learn from and leverage a global toolkit of smart urban innovations and applied insights to tackle key city challenges or address citizen priorities. The Handbook is a tool to support policymakers, civil society organizations, and urban innovators in shaping livable, inclusive, and sustainable cities.

In this Handbook, we explore how different kinds of smart urban innovations are shaping urban spaces in cities across the globe and from different income settings. Each of these innovations is driven by a combination of multi-stakeholder partnerships, local resources, and strategic data usage. UNDP has grouped these unique combinations into four different frameworks, which aim to support city leaders, public officials, and citizens to find ways to catalyze innovation and identify solutions to problems faced by their cities. Users can delve into the different elements that enable innovations to emerge in cities. The Handbook also features an exciting set of case studies, setting out how to create the conditions needed for urban innovations to scale and generate long-lasting impacts. It also includes a wide range of examples of how urban authorities have leveraged their current assets to deliver innovative solutions.

Urban authorities can leverage the benefits of global interconnectedness by exchanging impactful initiatives to combat present and future challenges. South-South and triangular cooperation can enhance current efforts and replicate successful solutions in local contexts. This Handbook aims to facilitate this exchange of ideas and knowledge. UNDP has supported local authorities in the implementation of the development agenda since the organization's founding - including working closely with the leaders of Singapore following the country's independence. Through initiatives such as the City2City peer learning network, the NextGenCities program, our new collaboration framework with UN-Habitat, and the UNDP Global Centre in Singapore, UNDP is connecting cities and providing targeted support in developing impactful solutions for urban challenges.

Read and access the full handbook here: https://www.undp.org/publications/handbook-smart-urban-innovations

Red Cross Red Crescent (IFRC)'s Urban Collab Virtual Conference 2021
This event is a milestone to learn from each other and our partners and connect to city stakeholders to scale the solutions to meet climate targets, while at the same time ensuring communities are resilient to future shocks and stresses. The themes identified for our conference are: *       Hidden Vulnerabilities in Expanding Cities *       Preparing, Assisting and Responding in Cities *       Future of Cities: Innovative Urban Solutions we see

Red Cross Red Crescent (IFRC)'s Urban Collab Virtual Conference 2021 is taking place from 24-26th of November 2021. This year, IFRC is proud to co-host the conference with the German Red Cross, and with the generous support of the German Federal Foreign Office.  As the 2021 Urban Collaboration Platform Conference edition is virtual this year, the event is scheduled across all time zones (8 AM-8 PM CET) to enable active participation across regions. In these intense times - full of opportunity and urgency - we must turn the conversation into deeper action. This event is a milestone to learn from each other and our partners and connect to city stakeholders to scale the solutions to meet climate targets, while at the same time ensuring communities are resilient to future shocks and stresses. The themes identified for our conference are:

  • Hidden Vulnerabilities in Expanding Cities - Exploring new fragilities created by growing inequalities, lack of access to services; building community resilience, greening initiatives, social cohesion, protection against new extreme phenomena (heatwaves, pollution, waste crisis…).  
  • Preparing, Assisting and Responding in Cities - Humanitarian assistance in urban settings; planning and anticipating, protecting essential urban services; climate induced migration and urban displacement; Tools and skillshare (on Info management; data use for predictable risks; hazard anticipation).    
  • Innovative Urban Solutions We See - New partnerships, digital assessments, innovation, new forms of volunteering, youth engagement/leadership in cities. 

Learn more and register here: https://rcrc-urbancollab.org/atrium

Download a full copy of the programme here

10th Asia Smart City Conference: Building smart cities aiming for carbon neutrality through city to city collaboration under the influence of COVID-19

The 10th Asia Smart City Conference

Dates: 26-28 October 2021

Location: Virtual

Register here 

The Asia Smart City Conference (ASCC) is an international conference that brings together representatives from Asian cities, national governments, international organizations, academic institutions, and private companies, aiming at establishing a knowledge hub for Smart Cities. At this conference, representatives from cities will share their vision for growth as well as their current challenges and needs; private companies and academic institutions will propose innovative solutions; international organizations will offer programs to support efforts by cities and private companies; and various best practices from around the world will be shared. Furthermore, we offer an occasion for participants to find new business opportunities.

We would like to announce that this year’s theme for the 10th ASCC is “Building smart cities aiming for carbon neutrality through city to city collaboration under the influence of COVID-19.” Together with the World Bank Tokyo Development Learning Center (TDLC) and the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), the event provided a venue to discover new business opportunities for private companies located in Yokohama, allowing them to promote their technologies for cities in emerging economies. Due to COVID-19, this year’s ASCC will be held for three days featuring main online events broadcasting from the GALERIO which is a new knowledge hub of Y-PORT CENTER.

Learn more about the schedule and event details here: https://yport.city.yokohama.lg.jp/en/city-promotion/asia-smart-city-conference-ascc-2