Nairobi 15 October 2021 - The virtual Innovate4Cities (I4C) conference organized by UN-Habitat and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM) ended today after demonstrating a new way to make this ambitious week long meeting truly global.

The two organizations recruited teams from across the world focusing on the nexus between science and practice to deliver the climate goals. The Regional Curator teams including local governments, research institutions and innovative partners, brought regional voices and partnerships to the event.

The curated programme segments featured on-the-ground regional case studies and solutions, and presented leading research, innovation and practice from their nominated regions. The Curators spanned the conference time zones, allowing all participants to view regionally specific content while also engaging in global conversations over the five days.

In addition to programing a series of sessions, workshops and events for the Conference, the Curators hosted Mayoral reception and virtual field trips.

Jairo Garcia, Regional Curator representing North America and Chief Executive Officer of Urban Climate Nexus, said they brought practical experience to the Conference.

“Numerous low-income communities in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean and the South East of the USA are among the worst impacted by hurricanes, sea-level rise, and floods. These cities can inspire other cities around the world to face these challenges and accelerate climate action while preserving local autonomy and culture. We are bringing to the Innovate4Cities conference the experience, knowledge, and initiatives accumulated from years of experience facing these disasters,” he said.

In the three years since the Edmonton Conference in 2018, climate change awareness and perceived impacts in cities have increased significantly, as has the need for city-based application of climate science and the stimulation of innovative responses.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) joined forces with UN-Habitat and GCoM as a co-sponsor of the event.

Dr Cathy Oke, Special Advisor to GCoM’s Innovate4Cities program, Associate Director of Melbourne Centre for Cities, and one of the conference organisers, said: “Despite the current limitations of in-person conferences, through our amazing Regional Curator teams, we have been able to offer a truly global event. One that features cities and climate change science with local context – and when it comes to cities acting on climate change science, this localization of a global challenge is really important.  I am also really pleased that, through the support of our Regional Curator teams, we have offered a programme presented in all time zones, adding not only to diversity but accessibility and participation too”.

“It is timely that Innovate4Cities provides us with an excellent opportunity to collectively engage in dialogues, share knowledge, and act together with city leaders, researchers, and private sector to drive towards more inclusive, resilient, and climate-neutral cities,” said Devansh Jain, the Regional Curator representing South East Asia.

“The Innovate4Cities Conference provides an excellent platform and format for a collective of professionals to further their agenda of working towards betterment of cities and regions. Our Curatorial team has considerable experience of working in the arena of urban planning and design, environmental impacts and believe that they can bring together learning from several community engagement projects,” said Dhanashri Mirajkar, Regional Curator and Associate Professor, School of Architecture, MIT ADT University, Rajbaugh, Pune.