Innovate4Cities is GCoM’s city-focused research and innovation initiative that aims to answer the most pressing questions cities and local governments ask when evaluating why and how to take climate action.

The initiative defines and addresses cities’ knowledge and innovation opportunities and creates partnerships between the scientific and academic community, businesses, and governments to overcome the challenges local governments face between their publically reported ambition and full-scale implementation.


11-15 October 2021

During the week of October 11-15 2021, UN-Habitat and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM) welcome you to the groundbreaking Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference, a virtual multi-day global/regional event bringing together science and innovation, policy and practice to enable cities to take accelerated and more ambitious climate action.

The Innovate4Cities Conference will bring together over 1,000 city leaders, scientists, researchers, innovators, academics, youth, and business people to advance pragmatic and action-oriented research and science that will help cities reduce their carbon footprint and increase resilience to climate change.

As a follow-up to the 2018 Edmonton Cities and Climate Change Science Conference, the Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference aims to bolster knowledge creation and solutions implementation and to mobilize the transformative potential of cities towards zero-carbon and climate-resilient cities. Especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, cities will be integral to identifying knowledge and innovation gaps, facilitating cooperation and securing necessary green investments in transitioning to a more just, healthier, safer and sustainable world. The conference will also provide inputs to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) being held in November, and the Special Report on Climate Change and Cities in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Seventh Assessment Report (AR7) cycle.

Who should be attending?

  • Local and regional governments and urban practitioners
  • Researchers, academics, and students
  • National government representatives
  • Civil society groups, non-profits, and entrepreneurs
  • Private sector companies and investors

Please visit this site regularly for more information about Innovate4Cities as it is posted.

New update: UN-Habitat launches Call for Regional Curators for the Innovate4Cities conference!


Galvanized by the Edmonton Declaration, Innovate4Cities was launched through the first urban climate research and innovation agenda. The agenda establishes co-developed research and development priorities around the most significant data, innovation, and technological gaps to provide cities with the tools, information, and partnerships they need to achieve sustainable, livable cities.

Call for Action

To deliver accelerated and more ambitious climate change action, it is critical for national and regional governments, academia, private sector, civil society organizations, and local governments to form solutions-driven and outcomes-oriented partnerships. Innovate4Cities challenges these partners to work collaboratively and calls on: 

  • National Governments: to allocate at least one-third of their Research & Development budgets over the next decade to city climate action priorities;
  • Private Sector: to partner with cities and local governments to share valuable data, technologies, and innovative solutions for the public benefit;
  • Academia: to recruit 10 million new students and adopt new models of interdisciplinary learning, knowledge creation and problem-solving;
  • Global City Networks: to establish a consistent city research agenda communicated with one voice and coordinated with global research and academic communities;
  • Cities and Local Governments: to fully embrace their leadership role in accelerating climate action.

Mission Innovation Partnership

No single organization, initiative, sector, or level of government, however innovative or impactful, can accomplish all the transformational change required to meet the challenges of tackling climate change. GCoM is collaborating with Mission Innovation (MI) to connect national governments, the private sector, and mayors to tackle the specific innovation challenges of cities. GCoM and MI are working together to identify and deliver shared innovation priorities at the city level, share best-practice on roadblocks that can hinder the implementation of innovative and integrated technologies, and move forward progress through engagement at annual Ministerials.

Environmental Insights Explorer

The Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE) was founded on the idea that data and technologies can help enable and accelerate the world’s transition to a low-carbon future. GCoM and Google developed EIE to harness Google’s exclusive data sources and modeling capabilities in a freely available platform to help cities measure sources of emissions and identify and inform strategies to reduce emissions.

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