Dear friends and colleagues,
Welcome to the first UrbanShift newsletter of 2023! I am thrilled to write to you on behalf of the World Resources Institute, a key partner in this GEF-funded program to transform cities for people and planet through an integrated approach to urban development.
We closed out last year with a few milestones, publishing our inaugural annual report, participating in “China Day” at the Biodiversity COP15 in Montreal, and supporting the mayors’ “Call for Financing Nature for Sustainable Cities and Regions.” And we started the new year strong, hosting an online discussion about the need to accelerate financing for urban nature in parallel to the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, and collaborating with the city of Freetown on the launch of their first Climate Action Strategy.
In the following months, we’ll be kicking off the first phase of UrbanShift’s much-awaited online City Academy – open access, self-paced, interactive courses dedicated to eight key integrated planning themes. The 2023 call for ICLEI’s Transformative Actions Program (TAP) will also be announced in March. Additionally, WRI will be leading the delivery of integrated planning labs in Ushuaia, Argentina and Kigali, Rwanda. The process of working closely with city officials to define the lab scope, refine the data, and bring key stakeholders together is one of UrbanShift’s foundational capacity-building activities. I am personally very excited to continue this effort through the new year.
Thank you to all our partners and supporters! I wish you a healthy and rewarding 2023.
Pablo Lazo / Acting Director of Urban Development, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities
NEWS & UPDATES
Freetown’s first Climate Action Strategy, developed in partnership with C40, was unveiled on January 19, 2023 by Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr. "This plan is not a document that sits on a shelf. It's a living tool that we all have to use." Check out the plan.
The Secretariat will lead the Coalition’s efforts to protect and conserve at least 30% of the world’s land and ocean by the year 2030 (“30x30”). The announcement was made on December 21, 2022, at the culmination of the Biodiversity COP in Montreal. Read the press release.
At the Biodiversity COP, mayors from 15 cities called for increased direct funding for urban nature-based solutions and ecosystem restoration projects, backed by UrbanShift, UNEP, GEF, ICLEI, C40, and other partners. Read the press release.
ICLEI South Asia, along with representatives from UNEP and India’s National Institute of Urban Affairs, met key stakeholders in Pune and Surat in December 2022 to discuss and finalize UrbanShift activities and capacity-building priorities for 2023. Read the update.
The workshop was organized by C40 in Santiago de Chile from November 22-24, 2022. The event brought together 45 representatives from more than 15 cities to discuss approaches and mechanisms for financing local climate adaptation. Read the update.
ICLEI’s strategy to amplify youth voices in climate action was launched on November 10, 2022, “Youth and Future Generations Day” at COP27. The document outlines how subnational governments and youth groups can work together to address the climate emergency. Browse the document.
BLOGS & RESEARCH
Transforming Pune, one neighborhood at a time
Pune's Chief Knowledge Officer talks about some of the inspiring initiatives – from electric buses to urban farms – that the Pune Smart City Corporation is implementing to make the city smarter, greener and more resilient.
Better Forests, Better Cities
This report evaluates how forests both inside and outside city boundaries benefit cities and their residents, and what actions cities can take to conserve, restore and sustainably manage those forests.
Cable Cars: A Low-Carbon Transit Solution for Growing Cities
Medellín’s experience adapting cable cars to an urban context provides an inspiring and practical solution for congestion, air quality and a host of other challenges faced by cities in the Global South.
How Cities Can Attract Investment for a Green and Just Recovery
In addition to advocating for finance for a green and just recovery, cities can focus on raising revenue and attracting funding to pursue local priorities. This C40 article looks at the options available to cities in the wake of COVID-19.
BEST PRACTICES IN GENDER AND BIODIVERSITY
To achieve gender equity and protect biodiversity, initiatives that emphasize inclusion and innovation must be prioritized. This collection of best practices shows how targeted action is critical to producing transformative results for biodiversity.
UPCOMING EVENTS & OPPORTUNITIES
In this interactive half-day event, the 2021-2022 WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities finalists, previous Prize winners and other leading urban changemakers from around the globe will share impactful stories of urban transformation during times of uncertainty and disruption. Register. February 2, 2023.
UrbanShift Online City Academy: Phase 1
The English versions of five of eight City Academy courses will be launched on UrbanShift's online learning platform this spring. These self-paced, open access courses are aimed at training city-level decision-makers and practitioners on key integrated planning themes, such as neighborhood design, circular economy, and climate action planning. Enrollment instructions forthcoming. March - April, 2023.
The 2023 Cities Summit will be held in Denver, Colorado. The summit will convene subnational leaders from across the Western Hemisphere with representatives of government, civil society, business, academia, youth, culture and the arts, and indigenous groups, to promote regional cooperation. Register. April 26-28, 2023.
Unlocking investment in nature for a just urban transformation
Organized in parallel to the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, this webinar highlighted the findings of UNEP's latest "State of Finance for Nature" report and explored what's needed to accelerate the financing of urban nature.
Clean Energy & Buildings Finance Academy
Hosted in Cape Town, this UrbanShift workshop brought together eight cities to discuss the promotion and financing of small-scale clean energy generation on public and private buildings.
Leveraging urban nature to create inclusive and equitable cities
As cities continue to expand their built environment, maintaining equity and inclusion becomes even more critical. Join us to learn about the challenges and opportunities of using nature as a tool to build more inclusive cities.
UrbanShift at Biodiversity COP15
The Biodiversity COP15 saw the adoption of the post-2020 framework, which provides a roadmap for biodiversity conservation, protection, restoration & management for the next decade. Read about UrbanShift's participation at the conference.
Adaptation Finance Academy for Latin America
At this three-day workshop, city and national officials from Latin America shared their experiences and discussed approaches and mechanisms for financing local climate adaptation.
UrbanShift's mission is to transform cities for people and planet through integrated urban development. We engage with more than 23 cities across nine countries (China, India, Indonesia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Morocco, Costa Rica, Brazil and Argentina), bringing together local and global stakeholders to build a resilient, inclusive, zero-carbon urban future.