January 2023 Newsletter

In UrbanShift's first newsletter of 2023, we highlight some recent milestones, such as the launch of Freetown's Climate Action Strategy and the successful outcome of the Biodiversity COP. We also hear from UrbanShift stakeholders in Pune and learn about Medellín's transformative cable car system.

Header, January 2023 Newsletter
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



UrbanShift City Freetown Launches First Climate Action Strategy

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

WRI and GEF to Host New Secretariat for the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People

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 

Cities Call For Increased Investment To Halt And Reverse Nature Loss  

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. 

UrbanShift Representatives Meet City Stakeholders in Pune and Surat 

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.

Santiago Hosts UrbanShift’s Latin America Adaptation Finance Academy

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 Vision on Youth Engagement in Global Climate Action  Launches at COP27  

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. 


WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities Learning Roundtable 

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.   

Cities Summit of the Americas 

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.   

About UrbanShift

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.