Two key outcomes from the Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference — new agendas for cities, climate change science, and policy innovation — were launched and discussed during the research and innovation component of ICLEI World Congress 2021-2022 in Malmö, Sweden on May 10, 2022.
First, an update to the 2018 Global Research Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change Science (GRAA) was released as Findings from Innovate4Cities 2021 and Update to the Global Research and Action Agenda. This document details the research, policy, public discussions, recommendations and research gaps as the global research and action agenda for cities and climate change science, drawing on hundreds of presentations and discussions at the Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference under key topical and cross-cutting themes (Figure 1). The GRAA is also a building block towards the Seventh Assessment Report Cycle (AR7) of the IPCC’s Special Report on Cities and Climate Change and Working Groups II and III reports that highlight the importance of cities in adapting to and mitigating climate change.
Second, an update to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM) City Research Agenda was also launched as the City Research and Innovation Agenda – a response for city practice and city leadership to the updated GRAA. GCoM’s City Research and Innovation Agenda identifies and tackles the data, information, and technology gaps that cities have prioritised and, if addressed, would drive science-based, technology-driven, replicable sustainable action and implementation at the scale the world needs and cities demand.
Both agendas complement Innovate4Cities, GCoM’s city-focused research and innovation initiative that builds on the first GRAA coming out of the 2018 Edmonton Cities and Climate Change Science Conference. They highlight current objectives and motivations, research gaps and priorities, and a regional analysis of research and innovation needs to accelerate climate change action in cities, drawing on the latest understanding of urban climate change science. This is the first release of the updated GRAA and City Research and Innovation Agenda, to be followed by engagements at World Urban Forum 11 and COP 27 later in the year.
These two agendas are key outcomes of the Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference that was co-hosted by GCoM and UN-Habitat, co-sponsored by the IPCC, with ICLEI as one of the core partners. This conference was a virtual global and regional event that brought together nearly 7,000 participants from diverse science and innovation, policy and practice communities, united by the common objective of enabling cities to take accelerated and more ambitious climate action. The next conference is slated for 2023.
Figure 1: Themes from the Findings from Innovate4Cities 2021 and Update to the Global Research and Action Agenda (GRAA), 20221: Cross cutting themes (inner ring), Topical themes (middle ring) and Delivery Approaches (outer ring).
For more details on the findings from Innovate4Cities 2021 and Update to Global Research and Action Agenda or the City Research and Innovation Agenda, contact Benjamin Jance IV, GCoM head of research and innovation – email@example.com
For more details on the ICLEI Research Symposium contact Pourya Salehi, ICLEI World Secretariat senior research officer – firstname.lastname@example.org
 World Climate Research Programme (2019). Global Research and Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change Science – Available at: https://www.wcrp-climate.org/WCRP-publications/2019/GRAA-Cities-and-Climate-Change-Science-Full.pdf
Innovate4Cities City Research Agenda (2019) https://www.globalcovenantofmayors.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/GCoM_Innovate4Cities-OPS_Booklet_8.5×11.pdf