Summary report, 5–7 March 2018

Cities & Climate Change Science Conference (2018 CitiesIPCC Conference)

The Cities and Climate Change Science Conference (CitiesIPCC Conference) took place from 5-7 March 2018, in Edmonton, Canada. The proposal for this conference was approved by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in October 2016 and subsequently co-organized by a diverse group of organizations, including UN-Habitat, UN Environment (UNEP), C40, Cities Alliance, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), Future Earth, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). The conference brought together over 750 participants, including researchers, practitioners and policymakers.

The objectives of the conference included to: take stock of scientific literature, data and other sources of knowledge on cities and climate change since the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and build ongoing work as part of the AR6 cycle; identify key gaps with the aim of stimulating new research to be assessed by an AR7 special report on climate change and cities; and develop novel assessment frameworks that take into account the systemic linkage, synergies and trade-offs between urban systems and climate change.

Participants met in plenary and parallel sessions organized around four themes: cities and climate change (imperatives for action); urban emissions, impacts and vulnerabilities (science and practice of cities); solutions for the transition to low carbon and climate resilient cities (science and practice for cities); and enabling transformative climate action in cities (advancing science and advancing cities). The discussions at the CitiesIPCC Conference will inform a research agenda to better understand climate change, its impacts on cities, and the critical role localities play in addressing climate change, and, in turn, a future IPCC Special Report on cities and climate change.


More than half of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas and this is expected to increase to 64-69% by 2050. Urban areas account for about 75% of global energy use and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. There is therefore an increasing recognition of the role cities play in addressing climate change.

The IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and UNEP to assess, on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis, the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding human-induced climate change, its potential impacts, and options for adaptation and mitigation. Since its inception, the IPCC has prepared a series of comprehensive assessment reports, special reports, and technical papers that provide scientific information on climate change to the international community. Its latest assessment report, the AR5, was completed in 2014, and included several findings relevant to cities.

The AR5 Synthesis report outlined that many emerging climate change risks are concentrated in urban areas. These risks, AR5 showed, are increasing, including: rising temperatures; heat stress; water security and pollution; sea-level rise and storm surges; extreme weather events; heavy rainfall and strong winds; inland flooding; food security; and ocean acidification. AR5 included conclusions that rapid urbanization, particularly in low- and middle-income countries has already increased the number of highly-vulnerable urban communities living in informal settlements and outlined that steps to build resilience in urban areas can accelerate successful adaptation globally. In terms of mitigation, the AR5 reports noted the potential for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in rapidly developing cities in industrializing countries, including in the building, energy, transport, and industrial sectors.

Subsequently, in its 43rd session held in April 2016, the IPCC discussed proposals for a special report on cities. It agreed that the AR7 cycle would include a special report on climate change and cities. It also agreed to recommend within the AR6 process: a stronger integration of the assessment on the impacts of climate change on cities and their unique adaptation and mitigation opportunities; and a more robust consideration of cities in the treatment of regional issues and in chapters that are focused on human settlements, urban areas and similar issues.

The IPCC also agreed to consider working with academia, urban practitioners, and relevant scientific bodies and agencies to organize an international scientific conference on climate change and cities. The proposal for this conference was approved by the IPCC during its 44th session in October 2016.



OPENING CEREMONY: On Monday morning, 5 March, Master of Ceremonies David Miller, C40, opened the conference, followed by a prayer led by Elder Ron Arcand, Alexander First Nation.

Audrey Poitras, President, Métis Nation Alberta, noted that climate change eventually may force the Métis to give up their way of life, and welcomed government investments to help indigenous communities address climate change. Grand Chief Dr. Wilton Littlechild, Confederacy of Treaty Six, stressed the importance of consulting indigenous peoples to tap their wisdom.

Sarah Hoffman, Deputy Premier, Alberta, Canada, characterized Alberta’s climate response as the most comprehensive in North America. Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Canada, outlined the Canadian Government’s plan for a low-carbon economy, support for clean technology and infrastructure, and climate research. Don Iveson, Mayor of Edmonton, Canada, called for more comprehensive data, suggesting that cities forge partnerships with the scientific community.

Julie Greenwalt, Organizing Committee, Cities Alliance, acknowledged organizers’ and partners’ efforts. Diana Ürge-Vorsatz, Scientific Steering Committee, Central European University, said the primary goal of the conference is to assess state-of-the-art science on this topic and to map gaps.

Hoesung Lee, IPCC Chair, said cities featured predominantly in IPCC AR5. He said the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5 Degrees, due October 2018, is “highly relevant” for cities. Shobhakar Dhakal, Asian Institute for Technology, said the conference was designed to bring together the science, policy, and practice communities to inspire the next research agenda.


The CitiesIPCC Conference was organized around four themes: cities and climate change (imperatives for action); urban emissions, impacts and vulnerabilities (science and practice of cities); solutions for the transition to low carbon and climate resilient cities (science and practice for cities); and enabling transformative climate action in cities (advancing science and advancing cities). Each theme featured plenary and panel discussions, as well as several parallel sessions.

IISD Reporting Services covered all the plenary and panel discussions, as well as a selection of the parallel sessions convened under each theme. These discussions are summarized below.


PLENARY: Moderator Miller framed this theme as centered on how the response to global and city commitments can help develop new trajectories to address climate change.

Aromar Revi, Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), called for transformative action, through bottom-up and top-down change, to address challenges of consumption, population, and poverty. He underlined the need to transform energy systems, land use, governance, finance and behaviors.

During discussion, participants raised questions on the role of the private sector, social science research of behavioral change, and opportunities to localize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

PANEL: Moderator Tom Dallessio, CEO, Next City, asked panelists to discuss linkages between municipal and national actions, and the global agenda. Amy Leurs, Executive Director, Future Earth, highlighted the need to work together as a community to consider how to operationalize consumption-based metrics on controlling emissions. Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40, suggested that cities can take the lead and demonstrate how global cooperation can work.

Nathalie Jean-Baptiste, Ardhi University, observed that the global agenda set a framework that should involve all levels of government. Peter Head, Ecological Sequestration Trust, highlighted: bottom-up systems based on open data; linkages between city- and global-level research; and the role of young people and major faiths. Sheela Patel, Director, Slum Dwellers International, urged representation of the informal sector in policy decisions at all levels.

Panelists highlighted the need to: reallocate urban road space to mass transit, walking and cycling; move to more systematic ways of tapping into each other’s knowledge; increase city-scale scientific research and modelling; and build capacity in smaller cities.

PARALLEL SESSIONS: Nine parallel sessions convened on theme one. Below is a selection of them.

Cities and the global agendas: SDGs, Paris Agreement on climate change, New Urban Agenda, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and Convention on Biological Diversity: Carmon Vogt, German Development Cooperation (GIZ), moderated.

Saying the SDGs “come together” in cities, Kerry Constabile, Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General, acknowledged implementation gaps, such as the lack of local data in national data sets.

Michael Westphal, World Resources Institute (WRI), called the Paris Agreement a “new moment for cities,” saying deep decarbonization is not possible without cities. Bernhard Barth, UN-Habitat, called the New Urban Agenda (NUA) an implementation mechanism to deliver on the SDGs, Paris Agreement, and Sendai Framework, built on: national urban policies; urban legislation and planning; municipal finance; and local implementation.

Ebru Gencer, Center for Urban Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience, highlighted that the Sendai Framework aims for “substantial” reduction of risks, referring to the “Making Cities Resilient” campaign’s tools and indicators to support cities. Cecilia Herzog, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, said nature-based solutions (NBS) in cities enhance both climate resilience and the benefits of urban nature for human wellbeing.

Yunus Arikan, ICLEI, underscored that UN processes move more rapidly toward agreement when they engage local governments.

Discussant Veronica Arias, City of Quito, Ecuador, noted the gaps in city data and highlighted the burden faced by local governments in trying to adhere to multiple global agendas.

The ensuing discussion addressed, inter alia, the need to: better integrate climate and biodiversity considerations in cities; learn from local and indigenous knowledge; and raise awareness, especially in smaller cities to address global policy agendas.

Embedding practitioner evidence into the IPCC process: David Viner, Mott MacDonald, moderated. Candice Howarth, University of Surrey, outlined research on practitioners’ challenges when using IPCC reports: translating science into practical solutions; managing the wealth of information; and working within practitioner cultures. She highlighted the role of knowledge co-production to overcome these challenges.

Anne Kerr, Mott MacDonald, outlined economic benefits, particularly around life cycle efficiencies, and non-economic benefits, such as saving people’s time, as areas of opportunity and research. Drury Crawley, Bentley Systems, demonstrated how 3D models of cities can evaluate risks, resilience, and sustainability issues for cities.

Several discussed climate-resilient infrastructure, noting the need to capture the value of resilience and its multiple functions. Some noted that incentives for short-term thinking can impede collaboration among practitioners and researchers, such as short political and grant cycles.

Financing climate risk at the city-level: promoting dialogue between public and private actors: Jessica Espey, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, chaired. David McGowan, Insurance Bureau of Canada, said Canadian insurers advocate a “whole of society approach” involving government, citizens and insurers to address climate risks and their costs, and design insurance products to insure infrastructure.

Hank Venema, International Institute for Sustainable Development, outlined the business case for investing in natural infrastructure through building public-private partnerships for green climate bond financing, using Alberta’s whole-province approach as an example.

Using Tools, Reporting, and Analysis for Climate data, Johannes Klein, Geological Survey of Finland, outlined models of governance that cities use to promote financing for climate resilience.

Justice Surugu, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, discussed good governance in climate finance delivery and use, including tackling and preventing corruption and decentralizing administrative responsibilities. 

In the ensuing discussion, panelists noted: insurers do not need to draw a direct line between climate change and severe weather events, since the costs of both are rising; and mitigation and adaptation benefits of natural infrastructure.

Inclusion and informality: David Dodman, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), moderated.

Mark Ojal, Nairobi Risk Partnership, shared efforts to mainstream urban risks in Nairobi, Kenya, such as incentivizing city living to reduce sprawl and the number of commuters.

Kavya Mitchell, IIHS, shared a case study of informal settlements in Bangalore, India, highlighting the impact of cultural views and historic forms of marginalization, such as the caste system.

Mohammad Nurul Islam, Nazem University of Dhaka, reported a study in Bangladesh that found that 20.9% of migrants were climate migrants, who had increased vulnerabilities, such as lower education and income levels, and larger family size.

Alexei Trundle, University of Melbourne, pointed out that the climate exposure of Pacific small island developing states is underestimated, identifying shortcomings in international climate resilience funding and urged equitably engaging with urban vulnerable communities, especially in informal settlements.

During discussions, participants raised concerns including the lack of exploration of international migration patterns exacerbated by climate change, and the diverse range of populations included under the umbrella of informality.

Environmental justice and urban climate change: How can we ensure an equitable future? The session was co-moderated by Diana Reckien, University of Twente, Juan Camilo Osorio, MIT, and Andres Filella, Métis Nation of Alberta. Reckien highlighted findings from the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) report to improve planning and underscore research gaps.

Lavinia Poruschi, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, explored unintended outcomes of renewable energy policy, explaining that urban density could be a barrier to accessibility and affordability of sustainable development options.

Filella, with Crystal Lameman, Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, presented an indigenous worldview on climate change, pointing to the sustainable management of resources through customary law over thousands of years. They urged engagement of indigenous communities in climate action and underscored the need to value traditional knowledge.

Annel Hernandez, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, shared progress led by her city-wide membership organization for climate justice, describing research to create a “snapshot of climate vulnerability” in New York City, such as how industrial zones located in flood zones have led to toxic exposure in low-income communities, as well as the policy advocacy actions from “on the ground.”

Ryan Chavez, UPROSE, recommended that the IPCC, inter alia, establish research frameworks, build on overlaps between the frontline communities’ concerns and research gaps, and engage stakeholders to develop locally-relevant communication methods.

Discussions following presentations addressed, inter alia: using working groups and fostering accountability for equity in the implementation of climate policies; developing new value points for renewable energy to understand co-benefits such as in public health; and engaging youth.

Big data: Understanding risks and resilience in cities: Simeran Bachra, Climate Disclosure Project (CDP), moderated. Saleem Van Groenou, Google, said big data should be organized and made accessible in order to provide information that is both globally consistent and locally relevant.

Jessica Seddon, WRI, encouraged investigating who drives change and who needs data, and highlighted the use of datasets to help cities to, inter alia: avoid sprawl; retain green space; and leverage natural infrastructure.

Richard Dawson, Newcastle University, presented the Urban Observatory, an interactive, live-data platform in Newcastle. He noted challenges in implementing live-data systems, including poor data quality and lack of understanding of the science of sensing. Rimjhim Aggarwal, Arizona State University, presented the use of non-conventional data sources, such as Open Street Maps or LinkedIn, to gather data not available on public data profiles, and queried how much the accuracy of private data can be relied on.

Discussions addressed, inter alia: how big data can address social issues, such as displacement; the need to look at future data needs; and how to make data products actionable.

Delivering air quality, health, and climate co-benefits: Ross Hunter, Ricardo Energy and Environment Ltd., moderated. Jason West, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said health co-benefits alone can justify mitigation actions, and air quality and health co-benefits can be important motivators for mitigation.

Dan McDougall, Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), outlined efforts to address short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) and the health and economic benefits of doing so.

Rose Bailey, Ricardo Energy and Environment Ltd., discussed four aspects of co-management of air quality and GHGs: corresponding sources and solutions; maximizing opportunities and minimizing trade-offs; promoting efficiency and optimal outcomes; and supporting local communication and buy-in.

Malcolm Shield, C40, highlighted air quality management challenges faced by cities, including lack of data, monitoring, and institutional capacity.

Responding to questions, the panel discussed: how to monetize the co-benefits of improving air quality; whether health benefits should be expressed in terms of premature deaths prevented, lost productivity, or some other indicator; the limitations of using remote sensing data; and the importance of collecting data on indoor air pollution.

The role of city networks in supporting policy-practitioner-academia interactions: Speakers introduced their networks, noting their roles including acting as forums for learning, peer exchanges, and research collaborations, and, for some, as global advocates.

On how city networks can foster collaborations to address climate change locally, Jean-Patrick Toussaint, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, highlighted the role of city networks to foster collaboration across silos within municipalities. Trude Rauken, Urban Sustainability Directors Network, noted networks can serve as a meeting point, fostering mutually-beneficial dialogue. Characterizing her organization as a boundary organization, Anne-Hélène Prieur-Richard, Future Earth, stressed networks can create shared space for different disciplines.

Emmanuelle Pinault, C40, outlined the need to apply social science research and methods to engage citizens. Arikan cited the importance of data, networking and advocacy in networks’ approach. Participants discussed city networks at a regional scale, partnerships with academic institutions, and the need for networks to be transparent to researchers.

On how city networks can address gaps in climate science, Pinault cited: work on climate action and inequality; climate migration; and impact of cities’ global engagement on the local level. Arikan noted some local governments are creating research institutes. Prieur-Richard said concrete projects for collaboration would help bring together city networks and academic communities.

Theme two: Urban emissions, impacts and vulnerabilities (Science and practice of cities)

PLENARY: Megan Melamed, International Global Atmospheric Chemistry Project, moderated. Debra Roberts, eThekwini Municipality, South Africa, said the challenge for urban practitioners is to be agents of change for a sustainable and scientific city, calling for a new compact between cities and science.

Emilia Saiz, Secretary-General, UCLG, outlined synergies between scientific models and tools, and the global development agenda. She said science can help identify policies to reduce consumption, change development models, and improve investment.

Tong Zhu, Peking University, observed two climate co-benefits of air quality policy based on the experience of Chinese cities to reduce emissions from similar sources, and climate impacts of some air pollutants.

PANEL: Moderator Miller asked panelists how to better integrate science to inform decisions. Stephany Uy Tan, Mayor of Catbalogan, the Philippines, underscored the lack of capacity in many cities to interpret climate science. Maria Amparo Martinez Arroyo, National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change, stated that it is necessary to consider the urban scale of analysis and to use research on SLCPs to drive technological development. Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Laboratoire des Sciences de Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE), called for benchmarking modelling methods, highlighting the role of the IPCC in providing state of the art knowledge. Mark Pelling, King’s College London, underlined the need to put people at the center of analysis, which could include transforming science into a convening tool to bring stakeholders together.

In response to questions, panelists suggested framing messages according to the audience and presenting consistent messages within the boundaries of global decisions. A participant asked how to balance the “slow and robust” cycles of IPCC assessment reports with election cycles which are usually shorter, and a panelist noted that IPCC reports are meant to provide grounded scientific information, not policy prescriptions.

PARALLEL SESSIONS: Below are selected sessions from the seven convened under this theme.

Climate risks and vulnerabilities in coastal communities: Valentine Ochanda, University of the Witwatersrand, moderated. Tom Logan, University of Michigan, shared research on measures for adapting to natural hazards, such as seawall protection from tsunamis.

Andyan Diwangkari, Georgia Institute of Technology, presented a case study from Jakarta, Indonesia, that compared the vulnerability of sprawling neighborhoods to that of compact neighborhoods. Victor Indasi, Climate Systems Analysis Group, provided a view of projected climate impacts in five coastal African cities, noting that population density and exposure to climate risks increase vulnerability.

Ines Camilloni, Centro de Investigaciones del Mar y la Atmosfera, shared how Buenos Aires addresses impacts, threats, and opportunities of climate change, sharing mitigation and adaptation plans and actions. Felipe Cerbella, City of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, demonstrated how global partnerships have provided improved data to overcome research gaps and deliver data for local solutions. Ochanda explored vulnerabilities in Kenya’s coastal areas, underscoring that climate impacts affect both poor and wealthy populations, and looked forward to opportunities for bottom-up adaptation approaches.

During discussions, topics included: engaging different stakeholders, such as engineers, in the decision-making process; opportunities and challenges in considering scientific evidence in policy development; and communication barriers that can arise when translating scientific information for policymakers and communities.

Human health impacts of climate change: Megan Melamed moderated. Patrick Kinney, Boston University, discussed some tools being developed to help urban decisionmakers account for the health and equity benefits of different climate actions.

Nigel Tapper, Monash University, relayed his collaborative efforts with Melbourne and Brisbane to map heat vulnerability at the postal code level and review different treatment options to reduce urban temperatures.

Benedicte Dousset, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, underscored the need for mitigation strategies noting that by 2100, half of the world’s land and two-thirds of the human population will be exposed to deadly heat events. Rachel Huxley, C40, discussed efforts to develop a tool to help cities assess the benefits of different strategies that promote cycling and walking in cities.

During discussions, panelists addressed: the factors affecting cycling promotion; the need to balance green landscape, irrigation, and water conservation; and the need for research on heat vulnerability and climate impacts of health systems in developing countries.

Mainstreaming urban governance and food, energy, and water systems towards climatic risk reduction: Patricia Romero Lankao, National Centre for Atmospheric Research, and Delali Dovie, University of Ghana, co-moderated. Semu Moges, Addis Ababa University, said the Water Food Energy index is a good tool to understand optimal adaptation and sustainable urbanization.

Raymond Kasei, University for Development Studies, presented how climate-smart spatial planning, simple messaging, and functional flood early-warning systems can reduce the impacts of floods in Accra, Ghana. Lankao addressed the need for knowledge and policy integration, saying integration is difficult and equity issues often “take the back seat” within the three pillars of sustainability.

Debra Davidson, University of Alberta, suggested adopting a Social Process-based Approach to complement vulnerability assessment methods, while improving agency and intersectionality. Kwadwo Ohene Sarfoh, Prime-Stat SVC, recognized that resilience building is often done in silos and pointed to the gap between global and local resilience scales.

Climate response actions in cities: enabling resilience building: Manikarnika Kanjilal, Government of Alberta, Joanne Potter ICF, and Joyashree Roy, Jadavpur University, co-moderated.

Lynden Leonce, Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority, demonstrated how airports need emergency management systems, off-grid energy supplies, and a role in regional preparedness to increase resilience. Marieke Cloutier, Ville de Montréal, Canada, highlighted Montreal’s partnership with a research institute to incorporate climate change into all city programming.

Mani Nepal, South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics, underlined the need to include engineering, behavioral, and financial expertise in building a resilient solid waste management system. Ernest Mensah, Abraham University of Professional Studies, presented challenges in flood control strategies in Accra, Ghana, including lack of: understanding of the causes; integrated approaches; and finance.

Speaking on smart cities, Maria Figueroa, Copenhagen Business School, highlighted: considerable scope in the private economy; uncertain relationships between cities and the private sector; and partnerships. Roy relayed the experiences of the Smart City Mission in India, citing as challenges: constrained demand to participate due to lack of awareness; uncertain financial returns; and limited skills and expertise.

Felix Creutzig Technical University Berlin, presented how city design can resolve mitigation-adaptation trade-offs, suggesting policies to price car driving, build along linear transport axes, and preserve green spaces.

During discussions, participants considered how: rural-urban migration can increase cities’ climate vulnerabilities; leadership can drive action; coordination processes can bridge silos; and policy can address tradeoffs arising from innovations.


PLENARY: Jim Skea, Co-Chair, IPCC Working Group III, moderated. He indicated that AR6 would have a more explicit focus on cities that are addressing issues including: urban spatial planning; governance; consumption and behavior; and urban-rural linkages.

Andrew Gouldson, Leeds University, presented on delivering transformative change, noting 10 themes to support this, such as: building legitimacy and shared ownership; promoting policy integration; exploring new financing models; and monitoring and evaluating progress.

Jürgen Kropp, Potsdam Institution for Climate Impact Research, underscored the need for comparative global assessments and systematic research to consider potential trade-offs and inform future city planning.

Dhakal emphasized the need to better understand how urban sectors interact, suggesting: building systemic knowledge; encouraging cities to undertake transformational change; harnessing opportunities presented by rapid urbanization; and facilitating disruptive innovations.

PANEL: Ürge-Vorsatz identified the urgency to deliver transformational change, framing implications for future research to map these opportunities. Lan Marie Nguyen Berg, Vice-Mayor, Environment and Transportation, City of Oslo, Norway, shared insights from Oslo’s climate budget, illustrating how the approach follows an economic budget model. Lwasa urged continued dialogue and experimentation among science and practitioners, posing the question: “transformation for whom by whom?”

Mehrnaz Ghojeh, Buro Happold, called for placing the climate lens and citizen health lens in the center of urban design, urging inclusive participation at all levels.

William Cobbett, Director, Cities Alliance, identified a gap in systematic investment in future urban professionals, and identified as challenges, a lack of human capacity and professional skills, and authority and resources.

Responding to questions, Berg said restrictive measures, such as banning cars within cities, can succeed if coupled with positive measures such as increased investment in public transport. Cobbett suggested that the most effective way to promote change is city-to-city learning, and Shaub urged funding of such learning.

PARALLEL SESSIONS: Below are selected sessions from the 14 convened under this theme.

Promise of green infrastructure to combat climate change in cities: Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm University, moderated. Dave Kendal, University of Melbourne, acknowledged that practice often precedes research on NBS in cities and suggested developing a “City NBS researcher network.”

Ernita Van Wyk, ICLEI-Africa, presented the Local Action for Biodiversity work on wetlands conservation in African cities, and emphasized the importance of building long-term relationships. Timon McPhearson, The New School, presented the Urban Systems Lab, which builds statistically-robust models and works on participatory scenario development to design urban resilience scenarios.

Marcus Collier, Trinity College Dublin, presented research areas, including: is the effectiveness of NBS; a study on the negative impacts, such as gentrification; and how to establish value for nature in cities.

Speaking to ways to co-create NBS, Niki Frantzeskaki, Erasmus University Rotterdam, noted that: NBS are often in the “commons,” creating ambiguity on ownership; and NBS requires monitoring and evaluation.

Discussions suggested, inter alia: starting small to build understanding and acceptance on NBS; exploring new funding models, such as insurance; and considering negative impacts, for example tropical diseases.

Smart cities and their promise for addressing climate change in cities: Ramin Keivani, Oxford Brookes University, moderated. Mark Archibald, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, discussed the Alberta Smart City Alliance, which develops practical solutions and is a clearinghouse for best practice.

Henry Abanda, Oxford Brookes University, explained the uses of Building Information Modeling (BIM), a virtual real-time decision-making tool to explore probable climate impacts of building design choices.

Diego Ponce de Leon Barido, University of California Berkeley, discussed two behavioral energy efficiency projects undertaken in Nicaragua and lessons learned about the importance of inclusive design where institutional support is weak.

Homa Rahmat, University of New South Wales, discussed how social media can facilitate collaboration and communication between citizens and how this may be applied to support urban climate actions. 

Maria Virginia Vilariño, Argentinean Business Council for Sustainable Development, discussed barriers to improvements in the building sector in developing countries, including: informality and unplanned construction; fragmented building sectors; and regulatory frameworks hindering demand-side measures. Luisa Cabeza, Universitat de Lleida, stressed that smart cities need data, and discussed how BIM, behavioral energy efficiency projects and social media might collect the data needed.

In discussions, panelists considered: how to incentivize participation in energy efficiency projects; the potential of crowd-sourced data collection; and the limitations related to analyzing social media data.

Transforming the built environment: Research and experience: Rob Bernhardt, Passive House Canada, described Passive House buildings as a method to meet desired energy performance outcomes.

Souran Chatterjee, Central European University, outlined his methodological framework for measuring how energy efficiency measures can impact productivity, as follows: identify the multiple impacts; include scenario analysis; and assess impacts and uncertainty.

Adam Rysanek, University of British Columbia, reported research findings showing that more energy for ventilation is required to maintain safe levels of indoor environmental quality as outdoor carbon dioxide concentrations increase.

Sean Pander, City of Vancouver, outlined Vancouver’s efforts to reduce emissions of new buildings, including through setting “unambiguous targets” and using standards focused on GHG emissions, rather than energy cost efficiency standards.

Saying his city’s challenge is existing buildings, John Lee, City of New York, stressed the need to couple increased share of renewable energy on the grid with “massive retrofits” to reduce the load put on the grid.

During discussions, panelists identified short-term research needs: health effects on children, and embodied emissions of technologies that show potential to reduce GHGs; and the need for academia to “catch up” with private sector actors that are providing data and research to cities.

Lifecycle assessment multiple co-benefits between climate, SDGs, and infrastructure: Anu Ramaswami, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, moderated. Jaume Alberti, Superior School International Trade, observed various ways to define a city, and said the choice of definition may influence assessments and complicate comparisons among cities.

Adam Auer, Cement Association of Canada, highlighted the value of full carbon cost assessments that include embodied carbon, operational carbon, end of life carbon, and sequestered carbon impacts. Ramaswami highlighted the conceptual differences between consumption-, production-, and community-based footprints, noting that some measures will be more appropriate for some cities than others, and suggested all three are needed.

Rylie Pelton, University of Minnesota, said there is significant opportunity to integrate climate action planning with capital improvement planning through tools that identify adaptation and mitigation opportunities. David Bristow, University of Victoria, said climate impacts can influence infrastructure and the socioeconomic realities of cities, by impacting routine performance and disrupting performance of infrastructure.

During discussions, participants observed the need for costing data, lifecycle analyses, design knowledge and metrics for green infrastructure.

Climate change and equity in the context of the SDGs: Swati Janu, mHS CITY LAB, and Caterina Sarfatti, C40, co-moderated. Darshini Mahadevia, CEPT University, shared a framework to support mainstreaming mitigation into an equitable urban transformation in Indian cities.

Roger Cremades, Climate Service Center Germany, presented a modeling tool that relates energy consumption and distribution to optimize planning for urban density. Laura Flórez Botero, Ingeobosque Scientific Corporation, described an example in Colombia of urban conflict created when trying to balance various interests, underscoring trade-offs between ecosystem services and emission reductions strategies.

Karim Elgendy, Carboun Middle East Sustainable Cities, identified resilience challenges in the Arab region, noting that resilience and sustainability measures can sometimes be at odds. Janu shared experience in developing affordable housing in India, working through initiatives to retrofit informal settlements to avoid forced evictions and destruction of livelihoods.

Discussions raised questions on practices to engage with communities in order to best understand their needs, as well as differentiating those needs from wants.

Promise of green infrastructure and nature-based solutions to combat climate change: Claire Walsh, Newcastle University, moderated. László Pintér, Central European University, launched the Urban Nature Atlas, which includes nature-based solutions examples from 100 European cities.

Lwasa referred to the emergence of new urbanists in Africa arising from youth movements, urban culturalists, and a realization of a relationship between nature and health. David Hetherington, ARUP, suggested that green infrastructure design inter alia: balances “good implementation” with reality, noting vandalism and maintenance challenges; and engages multidisciplinary teams.

Bettina Dreiseitl-Wanschura, Ramboll, addressed financing and understanding the multiple values of green infrastructure, presenting several examples of infrastructure projects that included multiple values including: rainwater retention, urban art instillations and microclimate improvements.

Breakout groups discussed: research gaps, challenges and priorities; data needs; how to improve the interface between research, policy and practice; and suitable vehicles for communicating evidence gathered.

Climate change and SDGs interactions in cities: How much transformation is needed? Matthias Garschagen, UN University, chaired. Pelling presented on megacity transitions in the adaptation-development nexus, discussing a project exploring whether practices in Kolkata, Lagos, London, New York and Tokyo enable or constrain planning for transformational change.

Meryl Jagarnath, University of KwaZulu-Natal, discussed how urban spatial planning can inform differentiated mitigation policymaking in cities in the Global South, with an example from Durban, South Africa. Dana Boyer, University of Minnesota, examined the impacts of dietary changes, urban agriculture, and food waste management on water, GHG, and land.

Benjamin Delali Dovie, University of Ghana, outlined how cities generate mitigation and adaptation co-benefits by pursuing action that increase growth, employment, and wellbeing. Lei Song, China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong, described the five-step process used in Shanghai to assess the synergies of potential climate policies in water, energy, transport, construction, and industrial sectors.

Miho Kamei, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, discussed ways to identify sustainable long-term urban transition pathways using scenarios that combine the happiness index with climate and SDG promotion strategies.

In discussions, panelists explored: whether SDG12 (consumption and production) can link climate and other SDG actions; limitations of promoting urban agriculture to influence GHG emissions, land, and the food, energy, and water nexus; and need for grassroots involvement.

Governing climate change in complex urban settings: Resilience through social innovation: Anna Taylor, Future Resilience for African Cities and Lands (FRACTAL) Project, moderated. Thomas Heyd, University of Victoria, showed how two marginalized communities harnessed social values to adaptation and increase resilience, noting that research can help identify the value of these contributions.

Joanne Douwes, eThekwini Municipality, South Africa, addressed the concept of transformation and boundary spanning, underscoring the need for: leadership; knowledge sharing; and space for innovation. Leslie Mabon, Robert Gordon University, presented a case study from a Japanese city transitioning out of carbon-intensive coal mining, identifying challenges in overcoming barriers in how communities identify themselves.

Taylor explained how embedded research can bridge knowledge and action, suggesting that research continue to seek understanding in communication among different practitioners. Thomas Bowman, Bowman Change, Inc., discussed experience in translating complex assessments to encourage city and personal actions, noting that knowledge and progress occurs on its own terms.

Emily Prestwood, University of West Bristol, explained the power of city partnerships to organize and transform to overcome challenges, sharing her experience in Bristol that used systemic thinking to create a vision of a sustainable city with a high quality of life for all.

Ensuing discussions further explored, inter alia, potential limits of city officials and posed a question on whether the role of local governments should focus on leading or capturing social innovation.


PLENARY: Cynthia Rosenzweig underscored five interdependent urban pathways to enable transformative climate actions in the UCCRN report “Climate Change and Cities: Second Assessment Report”: integrate mitigation and adaptation in urban planning, design, and architecture; link disaster risk reduction and adaptation; co-generate information on risk; take disadvantaged populations into account; and incorporate finance, governance and networks.

PANEL: Gino Van Begin, Secretary-General, ICLEI, observed that robust climate action is occurring in many cities, and asked researchers to help city leaders make the case for actions on climate and the SDGs.

Filiep Decorte, UN-Habitat, called for: linking practitioners with researchers; linking young researchers in least developed countries with colleagues in the global North; and forging partnerships between local researchers and governments.

Jaimin Upadhyay, Mayor, Rajkot, India, discussed how cities in developing countries can contribute to mitigation and adaptation when given support for capacity building, networking and public awareness. He described Rajkot’s work with ICLEI to pursue low-carbon development and energy conservation.

Priya Kurian, University of Waikato, addressed how language shapes reality and responses, and identified areas to address for a just transformation, such as: inclusive public engagement; political momentum and social movements; and capacity building. Christopher Kennedy, University of Victoria, suggested that cities develop a common approach, aligning mitigation strategies that center on decarbonizing power generation, substituting electricity to avoid direct fossil fuels, and reducing energy demand.

Discussions addressed, inter alia: the need to include disadvantaged populations; a suggestion to build alliances among cities to decarbonize electricity and address building efficiency; deliberative democracy; and that transformation should address climate change as a matter of politics, culture and justice, questioning if the IPCC is asking the right questions.

PARALLEL SESSIONS: Below are selected sessions of the 13 convened under this theme.

Informal settlements and economies: Means for transformative climate action: Debra Roberts moderated. Michael Uwemedimo, the Human City Project, shared views from inside informal settlements in Nigeria, illustrating the value of alliances and empowering communities.

On gaps for researchers and policymakers, Kabir Arora, Alliance of Indian Waste Pickers, raised the need to value waste pickers for their contribution to public services, as well as their potential to help mitigate climate change. Patel highlighted the need for better understanding of collective behaviors. Trevion Manning, City of St. James, Jamaica, called on research to find the solutions that do not threaten human well-being or the environment.

On integrating knowledge users and producers, Cobbett discussed mapping for data collection and recognizing citizenship. Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, UCLG Africa, urged the scientific community to appreciate assets and innovation within informal settlements.

On opportunities to use politics and global policy to promote inclusion and innovation, Gale Tracy Christiane Rigobert, Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations, and Sustainable Development, Saint Lucia, acknowledged competing considerations in addressing the informal economy. Calling for partnerships to generate solutions, Decorate underscored urgency, need to map vulnerabilities, and translation of evidence into solutions.

Participants raised questions on, inter alia: incremental versus systematic transformation; mainstreaming, rather than marginalizing informal settlements; planning as an instrument of power, because of the implications of planning for various communities; and social mobilization for confrontation and collaboration.

Climate adaptation finance: Urban perspectives: Jesse Keenan, Harvard University, moderated. He outlined some challenges facing urban adaptation finance, including limited: guidance on integration of adaptation; flexibility in existing funding sources; and adaptation in the financial markets.

Speaking to the developing country context using Surat, India as an example, Eric Chu, University of Birmingham, urged developing institutional systems to help cities pool, steer, and switch between various financing sources.

Musah-Surugu stressed the importance of “local resource husbandry,” and discussed how local governments could attract alternative sources beyond central government transfers. Koranteng discussed social capital investment and mobilization in the energy sector in sub-Saharan Africa, citing a solar lamp project in Ghana and the iShack project in South Africa as examples.

Dumisani Chirambo, Seeds of Opportunity, discussed the roles of social innovations and non-conventional funding sources, observing that many central and local governments in the region are slow to embrace alternative finance models.

In discussions, panelists addressed: the need to package adaptation with other urban development priority projects seeking finance; and the fact that many municipalities cannot afford the studies and preparation needed to develop bankable projects.

What does the transition to a 1.5°C city look like: Aromar Revi moderated. Andreas Tveteraas and Heidi Sørensen, City of Oslo, Norway, presented Oslo’s Climate Budget, explaining that it includes a combination of regulatory measures, incentives, and communication tools focused on changing behavior.

William Solecki, City University of New York, suggested taking a flexible approach to planning and policy that can be adjusted based on new realities, technical innovation, and timelines. Referring to disruptive technologies, Peter Newman, Curtin University, highlighted that 30% of homes in Perth, Australia now have off-grid photovoltaics. He said these were enhanced by: the development of micro-grids; citizen utility schemes and blockchains; and peer-to-peer trainings.

Referring to the Deadline 2020 Report, Schultz explained that it contains 450 actions to reduce GHGs within different city typologies, highlighting that this was requested by C40 member cities. Explaining the process to develop the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C, Valerie Masson-Delmotte, LSCE, said urban issues are addressed in roughly 7% of the report, based on a keyword search.

The importance of monitoring and reporting for the aggregated impact of local climate action and the assessment of Covenant of Mayors Initiative: Stelios Grafakos, Erasmus University Rotterdam, moderated. Amanda Eichel Global Covenant of Mayors Secretariat, outlined efforts to aggregate cities’ emissions reductions, which, she said, helped accelerate global climate diplomacy.

Paolo Bertoldi European Commission Joint Research Centre, demonstrated the interlinkages between getting data, setting a target, and identifying policies and ways to support harmonized reporting frameworks. Van Staden outlined ICLEI’s capacity building support for cities’ reporting efforts, noting the need to “sell” the benefits of reporting to those doing the reporting.

Jen Heemann Erasmus University Rotterdam, observed concerns with some cities’ reporting and data. Anthony Bigio George Washington University, observed the lack of uptake of compact urban form, despite the policies’ promise to reduce emissions. Lauren Ross, American Council for an Energy Efficient-Economy, said there is a need to focus not only on adopting policies for energy efficiency, but also on the performance of such policies.

Discussions included: strengthening research and capacity in developing countries; necessary education and training; and limits of self-reporting

Challenges and opportunities for locking in positive climate responses in cities: Co-moderator Karen Sato, Yale University, outlined three types of lock-in: institutional, as rules can create incentives for some behaviors; infrastructural, because infrastructure commits a certain amount of future emissions; and behavioral, such as habits and social norms.

Ürge-Vorsatz underscored that the magnitude of lock-in effects are significant. She presented a paper published in the Nature Climate Change journal that identifies how the three types of lock-in interact with key urban mitigation strategies.

Mark Bostrom, City of Edmonton, Canada, relayed examples of how historical legacies, such as wide streets, can be used for climate action, such as bike lanes and street cars.

Kate Noble, City of Melbourne, Australia, illustrated how cultural aspects, such as car culture, can lock in emissions, but can also serve as an opportunity if greener products, such as electric cars or solar panels, become symbols of prestige.

Drawing on the case of Harbin Green Eco-City in China, Chaolin Gu, Tsinghua University, presented how to break out of traditional planning, saying it requires city-level GHG inventories, multiple land-use scenarios, and a low-carbon city plan. Revi related lock-in effects from energy security concerns, licensing systems, and decentralized grid control that creates incentives to maintain coal production in India.

During discussions, participants identified knowledge needs, including: how incentives for rural-urban migration reinforce lock-in; relationship between lock-in and carbon pricing; and multiple benefits and trade-offs in investments.

Youth voices and climate change knowledge: Empowering youth in conversations on climate impact and vulnerabilities: Carrie Karsgaard and Terry Godwaldt, Center for Global Education moderated the global youth session. Kambal Bloxham, Canada, presented the launch of a global youth white paper on climate change, cities and education, highlighting: equity and inclusivity; education; infrastructure; project-based research; and communication.

Pedro Lomando Restum de Macedo Rocha, Brazil, emphasized that inclusive and diverse solutions can be implemented. Julia Chung, Canada, described how contributions were made, while Kevina Nuraini Yusuf, Indonesia and Fabrizio Melgarejo, Peru, remarked on the ability to connect via video conferencing, creating a way to “feel” what is happening elsewhere. 

Lin “Judy” Jingtong, China, discussed the use of social media to teach, learn, and share ideas, and David Felipe Gonzales Galindo, Colombia, reiterated how it can be used to encourage participation in events. Sofia Velez Rodriguez, Colombia, expressed the shared passion of the global youth, saying that “in this moment, we realize how powerful our voices are.”

Anthea Adjei Tawiah, Ghana, underscored the complexity of inclusivity and Suhanee Giroti, India, called on integrating climate change curriculum in all subjects. Natalia Okutoi, Kenya, reiterated the need for improved school building infrastructure.

Taja Islamovic, Slovenia, explained that the project-based research approach to learning promotes the development of practical skills to address challenges. Keshav Sheetal Shah, US, concluded by saying that “we want to work with you to see our future improved.”

Supporting nationally-determined contributions (NDC) implementation in urban areas and vertical integration of climate actions: Moderator Nicola Tollin, University of Southern Denmark, introduced the UN-Habitat study, entitled Sustainable Urbanization in the Paris Agreement, which found that 113 of 164 NDCs have urban content. Recognizing resource constraints in small countries, Rigobert urged for research on small cities, not only big cities.

Indicating opportunity to address urban sectors in the Ecuadorian NDC, Arias noted as gaps, access to long-term climate impact information and to technical training. Emphasizing the importance of partnerships, Marcus Mayr, UN-Habitat, said there is a need to: build the capacity of cities to develop climate action plans; and develop tools to incorporate vulnerable communities in city planning.

David Oehmen, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, presented a synthesis report on the Nairobi Work Programme, which addresses vulnerability and adaptation, including in human settlements. Johannes Hamhaber, Cologne University of Applied Sciences, highlighted that there is no single model of how NDCs are translated to the local level, due in part to the complexity of multilevel governance structures and lock-ins.

Discussions addressed gaps and issues, including: the need to monitor the NDCs as well as National Adaptation Plans; the dichotomy between complex research and simplified messages; and whether the NDCs could serve as tools for accountability and civil society engagement.

Raising and steering finance for climate action in cities: Sarah Colenbrander, IIED and Coalition for Urban Transitions, moderated. Aniruddha Dasgupta, WRI, summarized emerging consensus among Coalition members, including that: the gap in infrastructure investment is significant; there is a need to invest better, and not just more; focus is needed on how best to spur private finance; and help is needed to improve national and local readiness for climate finance.

Andrew Sudmant, University of Leeds, discussed the work of the Climate Smart Cities team to understand the private economic case for, and the co-benefits of, climate action. Manisha Gulati, C40, described the work of its Cities Finance Facility to help build capacity to manage projects, stressing that improving readiness is a continuous process.

Günter Meinert, GIZ, emphasized that the urgency of combating climate change means that many urban projects cannot wait for full readiness. David Jackson, UN Capital Development Fund: said the issue with private capital is its cost, not availability; highlighted the need to consider blending finance sources; and called for the use of intermediaries to get Green Climate Fund funding to cities.

In response to questions, the panel discussed: dealing with the issue of urban areas that are not yet formally incorporated as municipalities; and enhancing the capacity of secondary cities, particularly in strategic long-range planning and forecasting.

Finance: Marcus Mayr moderated. Aries explained Quito’s dialogue with the finance ministers at the Inter-American Development Bank and G-20 annual meetings regarding barriers to climate-related lending directly to cities. Van Straden discussed how ICLEI helps cities with capacity building and technical assistance to do their own GHG inventories and vulnerability studies, and City Climate Finance Leadership Alliance’s efforts to get project preparation facilities for cities.

Dasgupta underscored the need to: mainstream climate finance; facilitate enabling environments; and reduce the cost of private capital for projects. Jackson called for: changing the architecture for municipal finance; moving discussion of municipal finance beyond the political debate over decentralization; and focusing on reducing capital costs.

Mayr asked participants to identify outstanding issues. Responses included: learning more effectively among urban planners and decision makers; focusing on funding policy and capacity building rather than infrastructure projects; and encouraging private capital flows.

Future research agenda: Emmanuelle Pinault and Megan Melamed co-moderated. Ürge-Vorsatz said the paper in Nature Climate Change on six research priorities for cities and climate change is an example of co-designed knowledge.

Helen Cleugh, World Climate Research Programme, underlined the challenge, but also potential for innovation when disciplines work together. Aisa Tobing, Jakarta Research Council, underscored the need to align the priorities of researchers and governments. Rosa Morales, Environment Ministry, Peru, suggested a role for global cities networks to translate academic knowledge to the local decision makers.

Alessandra Sgobbi, European Commission, stated that cities are a key element of Horizon 2020, and outlined several EC programmes to foster research and city-to-city learning. Jessica Seddon, WRI, suggested alternatives to peer review and incentives for academics to form relationships with practitioners, and local research capacity to improve the science-policy interface.

During the discussion, many noted varied experiences and incentives for academics to integrate social impact in their work.

Transforming cities for a 1.5°C world: Moderator Solecki highlighted conditions influencing the likelihood of achieving a 1.5°C world, inter alia: transformation of technical systems, such as transport; the role of city networks and partnerships; and instructional capacity.

Arikan indicated that only one-third of NDCs are on track for implementation, and that even if implemented, they will result in 3°C warming, and lauded the establishment of the Talanoa Dialogue to support collaborative climate actions.

Michael Doust, C40, identified several major world cities that are developing climate plans focused on a 1.5°C target. He underscored the need to accelerate knowledge transfer and ensure better data.

The discussion addressed issues that influence the potential to achieve a 1.5°C world, including: obstacles and strategies for breakthroughs; costs and methods for financing urban action; relationship between city targets and NDCs; role of disruptive institutions and technologies; importance of culture and behaviors; and consumption-based emissions.

Climate change and informality in cities: Julie Greenwalt moderated. Dodman highlighted key areas from the background paper on informal settlements and economies, including: the diversity of informality; recognition of internally-displaced people; and approaches to engaging those in the informal economy.

Aliyu Barau, Bayero University Kano, identified governance, social, and behavioral issues, communities of knowledge, and land tenure as key points to explore to create political opportunity for inclusion, improve legal authority and leverage resources.

Patel discussed examining urgent ways to address informality, suggesting that one of the most powerful interventions can be made by providing new materials and systems for housing.

In breakout groups, participants prioritized areas for further research such as: low-carbon development that increases living standards; formalization of the informal; safeguards; and the politics of informality. On priority actions for urban policymakers, participants named: tenure; representation in governance of marginalized groups; and legal and regulatory frameworks for urban planning.


Scientific Steering Committee members provided an overview of the takeaway messages from the themes, conference papers, and commissioned reports.

On theme one, Cynthia Rosenzweig, UCCRN, highlighted: the need for an integrated framework across global agendas to help cities respond to climate change; the urgency to catalyze sustainable consumption, production, and circular economics; the need for the informal sector to have a voice; and a balance of bottom-up and top-down approaches.

On theme two, Maryke Van Staden, ICLEI, highlighted that feedback loops between research and practice can address knowledge gaps, and that multidisciplinary data will enable more accurate observation to design responses.

On theme three, Dawson highlighted: exploring opportunities and risks from new and old technologies; monitoring, evaluating, learning, and accountability; and linking action beyond urban boundaries.

On the conference papers, Xuemei Bai, Australia National University, presented the paper “Six Research Priorities,” which are: expand observations; understand climate interactions; harness disruptive technologies; study informality; support transformation; and recognize global sustainability contexts.

Ürge-Vorsatz presented two papers in the Nature Climate Change journal. On “City Transformation in a 1.5 World,” she highlighted: severe impacts; varied capacities across cities; and inequalities between emission levels between rich and poor within and among cities. On “Finding the Synergies between Adaptation and Mitigation,” she highlighted the framework developed to identify trade-offs, and noted the lack of actionable knowledge on how existing institutions and infrastructure “lock in” future emissions.

On the commissioned papers, Shobhakar Dhakal, Asian Institute for Technology, highlighted, on the “Urban Data Science for Global Solutions” report, the need to upscale data through bottom-up and top-down collection, and drive collaborative efforts. On the “Responding to Climate Change in Cities and in their Informal Settlements and Economies” report, he underscored that development cannot be separated from mitigation and adaptation. In the “Urban Climate Change Science, Impacts and Vulnerabilities: State of the Art Finding and Key Research Gaps” report, he highlighted the potential for “cascading failures” in interconnected systems, which can occur when inaction in one system affects the other systems.

Comments addressed, inter alia, the need to: communicate the science better; consider the informal sector in analyses and practice; balance big data with “not drowning” in information; mainstream gender considerations; and engage with the private sector.


Natan Obed, President of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, underscored that what happens in the Arctic is a product of what happens in cities, and vice versa, linking everyone. He explained that the Inuit do not need to be saved, rather “we need to work with people for our common future.”

Dhakal reviewed high-level messages that emerged during the conference, underscoring that transformation is needed now, across disciplines, and through engagement with science, policy and practitioners by integrating indigenous and local knowledge.

Ürge-Vorsatz outlined key products of the conference: a future research agenda; proceedings that will be peer reviewed so they can be referenced by future IPCC reports; special issues in future journals; translation of IPCC reports for different audiences; and a “live” website and email to continue communication.

Pointing to the interest that the conference has gathered, Schultz noted, among others, the publication of 80 news articles and over 3000 tweets.

On supporting a global research agenda going forward, Watts suggested: promoting and implementing the agenda, and the inclusion of practitioners; strengthening the partnerships started at CitiesIPCC; and supporting science for evidence-based climate action. 

In a video message, COP23 High-level Champion, Minister Inia Seruiratu, Fiji, lauded the efforts of the CitiesIPCC Conference in bringing together researchers, practitioners and policymakers, and highlighted the importance of the Talanoa Dialogue to move climate actions forward.

IPCC Vice Chairs Youba Sokona and Thelma Krug reflected on some key points that emerged during the conference, including: the limited availability, quality and accessibility of city-level data on GHG emissions; the limited literature on climate change regarding cities in developing countries; the special challenge to assessment presented by the informal sector; and that understanding of policy and governance systems remains limited and fragmented.

Mayor Iveson said Edmonton embodies the complexity, challenges and opportunities presented by climate change to cities around the world, and that if Edmonton could become a climate leader, all cites can.

Moderator Miller urged all participants to commit to one contribution to science and action related to the conference theme over the coming months and closed the meeting at 6:04 pm.


IPCC-47: IPCC-47 will convene from 13-16 March 2018, in Paris, France. The IPCC is currently in its Sixth Assessment cycle. During this cycle, the Panel will produce three Special Reports, a Methodology Report on national GHG inventories and the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).  dates: 13-16 March 2018 location: Paris, Ile-De-France, France  contact: IPCC Secretariat  e-mail:  www: 

Resilient Cities: Annual Global Forum on Urban and Adaptation: Resilient Cities is the global platform for urban resilience and climate change adaptation. Resilient Cities was first launched in 2010 with the goal of connecting local government leaders and climate change adaptation experts to discuss adaptation challenges facing urban environments around the globe and forging partnerships that could have lasting impacts for cities.  dates: 26-28 April, 2018  location: Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany  contact: ICLEI Secretariat  www: 

48th Sessions of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies: The 48th sessions of the subsidiary bodies to the UNFCCC are expected to take place in April-May 2018.  dates: 30 April to 10 May 2018  venue: World Conference Center Bonn  location: Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany  contact: UNFCCC Secretariat  phone: (49-228) 815-1000  fax: (49-228) 815-1999  e-mail:  www:

ICLEI World Congress: ICLEI World Congress 2018 is hosted by the Ville de Montréal and organized by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the leading global network of more than 1,500 cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future.  dates: 19-22 June 2018  location: Montreal, Canada  contact: ICLEI Secretariat  phone: +49-228 / 97 62 99-00  e-mail:  www: 

High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) 2018: The theme of HLPF 2018 will be ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies.’  Among the sub-set of SDGs to be reviewed in depth by HLPF 2018 will be SDG11 (sustainable cities and communities).  dates: 9-18 July 2018  location: New York City, US  www:

UNFCCC COP 24: The 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the UNFCCC will take place from 3-14 December 2018, in Poland.  dates: 3-14 December 2018  location: Katowice, Slaskie, Poland  contact: UNFCCC Secretariat  phone: (49-228) 815-1000  fax: (49-228) 815-1999  e-mail:  www:

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