Global Launch of UrbanShift

This event marked the official launch of UrbanShift and took place virtually during Climate Week NYC 2021.

date & time
21 Sep 2021, 8:00AM EST
hosted by
World Resources InstituteUnited Nations Environment Programme

Cities are home to 4.2 billion people – more than half of the world’s population. These bustling human habitats are where our daily struggles unfold, where we strive to build a better future for ourselves and our families. But cities today face extraordinary challenges, from floods, storms and heatwaves triggered by the climate crisis to hazardous air quality, lack of affordable housing and deep social divides.

How can integrated planning approaches tackle complex urban challenges to ensure a just, livable future for all?

Join us on September 21 during Climate Week NYC to discuss this pressing question. You’ll learn from experts about holistic solutions and strategies to combat urban environmental crises, such as pollution and biodiversity loss. You’ll also hear from local leaders in India, Sierra Leone, and Argentina on how cross-sectoral collaboration is spurring low-carbon growth within their cities.

This event will mark the official launch of UrbanShift, a global program working to transform cities for people and planet through integrated urban development. UrbanShift is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and implemented in partnership with the World Resources Institute (WRI), C40 Cities (C40), ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).


  • Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme
  • Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, CEO, Global Environment Facility
  • Ani Dasgupta, President & CEO, World Resources Institute
  • Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities
  • Yvonne Denise Aki-SawyerrOBE, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone
  • Hitesh Vaidya, Director, National Institute of Urban Affairs, India
  • Claire O'Neill, Managing Director, Climate & Energy, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
  • Walter Vuoto, Mayor of Ushuaia, Argentina
  • Gino Van Begin, Secretary General, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
  • Neeta Pokhrel, Chief, Water Sector Group, Asian Development Bank
  • Srilata Kammila, Head, Climate Change Adaptation, UN Development Programme
  • Maitreyi Das, Manager, Urban, DRM, Resilience & Land Global Practice, World Bank
  • Gustavo Fonseca, Director of Programmes, Global Environment Facility

This event will be live-streamed in the following languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Indonesian Bahasa and Mandarin Chinese.