Bridge for Cities Special Session | Unleashing the potential of innovation for a climate-resilient urban future

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Background

Pollution, climate change, habitat destruction and over-exploitation of natural resources such as fresh water and fisheries, are compounding crises, presenting cascading risks on human health, wellbeing and livelihoods, especially among poorer regions, and are undermining the prospects for a long-term resilient and robust economy.

The risks of climate change are already affecting people and ecosystems. Cities, and notably those in developing countries, are often bearing the brunt of climate change. Natural hazards, changing rainfall patterns, energy shortfalls more and more regularly disrupt urban life. Weaker strata of the population disproportionately suffer from climate-induced stressors.

Most economies around the world are also facing a deepening energy crisis, due to global supply disruptions and high energy prices. Cities being responsible for up to 80% of the world’s energy consumption are certainly hit the hardest. The energy transition policies and the switch to renewables will play a crucial role in the fight against climate change and they can, at the same time, bring benefits to cities and citizens globally.

Meeting the climate challenge requires industries and institutions — both public and private — to be able to assess and understand climate change, measure the impact of cascading risks, design and implement adequate low emission policies and to work towards resource efficient societies, infrastructure and – ultimately – communities. “Decoupling” natural resource use and environmental impacts from economic growth is a key requirement for overcoming the pressing challenge of growing resource consumption.

Sustainable Development Goal 13 and the Paris Agreement urge to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Moreover, the Global Development Initiative put forward by China to support the development of developing countries and the achievement of 2030 agenda, includes climate action as one of its major priorities.

Focus 

As cities have shown great flexibility and provided innovative thinking to address key climate-related challenges at the local level, Bridge for Cities Special Session will offer a platform through which cities along the Belt and Road and beyond can share their development plans and innovative solutions for climate action and to address the energy crisis.

As public-private partnerships have shown a great potential for scalability, triggering investments for innovative climate-friendly and energy efficient solutions, the event will also encourage urban stakeholders, including the private sector, to scale up their engagement in inclusive and sustainable urban-industrial development initiatives.

Organized on the occasion of World Cities Day, the Special Session will lay the ground for the 2023 edition of Bridge for Cities event.

Topics 

Cities at the forefront of tackling climate change

Importance of urban leadership

Compounding crises, cascading risks and urban development 

Economic and social impact on business, investment and local communities

Building resilience through urban innovation: Examples of concrete actions and partnerships

  • Transition to renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • Adopting sustainable and innovative urban planning and design solutions
  • Harnessing disruptive technologies for climate action in cities
  • Fostering inclusion and building resilience in communities

Agenda 

Moderator

Mr. Rhodri Williams, Head of International Public Policy, AIG

Opening Remarks

Mr. Gerd Müller, Director General of UNIDO

H.E. Mr. WANG Qun, Ambassador & Permanent Representative of China to UNIDO

Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)

Mr. Omar Al-Rawi, Member of Vienna City Council

Panel Discussion: Case Studies of Innovation and Partnerships

Mr. Hugh Lim, Executive Director, Centre for Liveable Cities, Singapore

Mr. Jonas Roberts, Vice-President, WSP Environment & Infrastructure

Ms. Marilia Caravalho de Melo, State Secretary for Environment & Sustainable Development, Minas Gerais State, Brazil

Ms. Moza Suwaidan, Director of Strategy & Innovation, Digital Dubai

Mr. Gavin Slater, Head of Sustainability, Neighbourhoods, Regeneration, & Sustainability, Glasgow City Council

Keynote Speeches

Wrap-up and Takeaways for Bridge for Cities 2023

Mr. WU Zhiqiang, Professor, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University, Shanghai, China

Mr. Richard Bellingham, Professor and Director, Institute for Future Cities, University of Strathclyde

Bridge for Cities 2022 Documents

Partners

Organization Team

Mr. Jie Zhao

Chief of Regional Coordination Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, UNIDO

Mr. Kanishka Rathore

Partnerships and Coordination Expert, Regional Coordination Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, UNIDO

Mr. Francesco Azzena

Project Associate, Regional Coordination Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, UNIDO

Ms. Sofya Parfenova

Project Associate, Regional Coordination Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, UNIDO

Mr. Ming Zhang

Team Assistant, Regional Coordination Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, UNIDO