United Nations Environment Programme
To achieve sustained and effective action at the city level, government officials and urban practitioners must be equipped with the knowledge and tools required to transform their urban environments in an equitable, nature-positive manner. UrbanShift has crafted a specialized set of activities that focus on enhancing city capacity in integrated planning strategies while leveraging the power of dialogue, networking and collaboration.
The UrbanShift team provides tailored support to cities to address the climate crisis at the local level, consisting of: an online course on integrated climate action planning (see City Academy, below); a three-day workshop, one in each UrbanShift region (Africa, Asia and Latin America); and guidance on how to commit to ambitious climate action through declarations, initiatives and mayoral leadership.
The UrbanShift team works with selected cities to identify and provide a set of critical spatial data layers that complement and fill gaps in locally available datasets and improve data governance and decision-making. The analyses serve to highlight key urban problems faced by the cities and suggest promising solutions, and improve municipal and regional coordination on data collection, sharing and management. These spatial layers are compiled using open-source global data and serve as an input for the UrbanShift Labs (see below).
UrbanShift Labs are interactive two- to four-day workshops that illustrate the importance of integrated, evidence-based city planning approaches and demonstrate an alternative to siloed decision-making. The labs also help shape policy and catalyze projects, providing a concrete example of multi-stakeholder coordination in participating cities. The UrbanShift team works with the focal point in each city to understand their strategic needs and identify the most appropriate type of lab to implement, namely: Best Practices, Planning Analysis, and Project Review.
The City Academy consists of eight courses aimed at training city-level decision-makers and practitioners on key integrated planning themes. The course content will be available online for self-paced learning in early 2023. UrbanShift will also offer in-person training based on the City Academy curriculum in each of the nine program countries. These two- to three-day training sessions will combine presentations and interactive exercises with the sharing of best practices. Cities will acquire in-depth knowledge on topics such as the circular economy and nature-based solutions; gain exposure to international experts; and connect with other cities working on similar issues.
The UrbanShift Finance Academies are intensive three-day workshops that bring city officials together with leading financial and technical experts to address a financing challenge within a specified region and sector. The academies support city officials in shaping climate projects that address local infrastructure needs and align with private sector priorities. They also offer guidance on climate finance and climate mainstreaming in city budgets, and enhance local governments’ ability to fund and deliver climate projects. There will be nine Finance Academies, including virtual and in-person sessions.
UrbanShift Forums are the flagship events of the program, where senior political and technical representatives from participating cities and countries gather with international organizations and the private sector to exchange knowledge on different urban development challenges. At these forums, cities enjoy the opportunity to expand their knowledge of regional urban challenges and replicable solutions, explore financing for projects, and boost climate commitments at local and national levels. A total of three forums will take place, one in each UrbanShift region (Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
The City-Business Hub is a half-day event at the UrbanShift Forums for cities and businesses to connect and discuss strategies that promote innovation and accelerate climate action. The event will consist of panels, keynotes and roundtables showcasing the potential of city-business collaboration to achieve a range of climate and sustainability outcomes.
The UrbanShift National Dialogues aim to stimulate communication and enhance coordination between different levels of government and across relevant departments. The dialogues facilitate constructive discussions on national policies for sustainable urban planning and financing, resulting in improved multilevel governance. Cities can also network and build relationships with other cities and national government representatives at these dialogues. The UrbanShift team will organize two National Dialogues in each of the nine participating countries. These one-day events will be modeled on the Talanoa Dialogue approach and conducted in the national language of each country.