Edmonton conference bridges gap between climate change science and practice

By on 03/12/2018

Edmonton, 8 March 2018 – A conference convened by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and co-organised by UN-Habitat has, for the first time, put the science behind climate change in cities at the centre of the debate around action.

Cities IPCC, hosted by the Canadian city of Edmonton, culminated with the establishment of a global blueprint to better understand climate change, its impacts on cities, and the critical role localities play in solving this challenge.

Over the course of three days, scientists, policymakers, researchers and development experts worked to assess the current state of academic and practice-based knowledge related to cities and climate change, identify key knowledge priorities, and chart a course forward for academic, practitioner and urban policy-making communities.

In a statement about the conference, UN-Habitat Executive Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, said: “We know that cities have the potential to be positive drivers of innovation and climate action but to harness this we will need comprehensive and cohesive data to guide us and targeted activities with partners across the spectrum.

“As our world becomes increasingly urban, we must ensure our cities expand in a sustainable manner if we are to have any chance of meeting the commitments in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda, and UN-Habitat is happy to continue to support this important process,” said Mrs Sharif.

As one of the lead coordinators for the conference, UN-Habitat brought some of the most pressing issues facing the research community to the table in interactive and fast-paced dialogues.
In a special session on informality, speakers highlighted the reality that the effects of climate change are being felt disproportionately not only from country to country but also within countries themselves with some of the most vulnerable communities those living in informal settlements.

The conference also emphasised the growing role of cities in the fight against climate change.

In a press release issued at the close of the event, Seth Schultz, Director of Science and Innovation, C40 Climate Leadership Group, and one of the co-chairs of the conference’s Scientific Steering Committee, said: “The impacts of climate change are already being felt in our urban areas, and the next few years are critical for determining how effectively we will rise to the challenge of protecting our cities.

“However, we can’t undertake this work blindly. At this conference we have been able to coalesce around the most important areas of inquiry, so we can use precious time and resources in the most efficient and targeted way possible. And this research won’t just help save our cities – it will also improve them for generations to come,” said Mr Schultz.

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