Innovate4Cities Conference

Tuesday, 10 September 2024 - 0:00 to Thursday, 12 September 2024 - 23:45 (Europe/Brussels)
Montreal, Canada

Co-hosted by the Global Covenant of Mayors (GCoM) and UN-Habitat this September in Montreal, Canada, the 2024 Innovate4Cities Conference (I4C24) is the premier convening of leaders from academia, government, civil society, and industry at the intersection of cities, climate science, and innovation. The main objective of the conference is to synthesise the latest knowledge and solutions that can inform the Seventh Assessment Report Cycle (AR7) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and address critical sustainability gaps through cross-sector action.

Call for Submissions

The I4C and UN-Habitat team invite contributions from practitioners across the evidence-led landscape to submit their latest work in research and innovation within the scope of conference themes highlighted below. We are interested in receiving submissions from across the globe and particularly encourage practitioners from the Global South.

The conference will host plenaries, innovation showcases, and panel discussions in a largely in-person format, and expect I4C24 to serve as a catalyst for continually growing dialogue and knowledge exchange between local governments and sustainability practitioners across all communities.

Conference Themes

While grounded in all of the practitioner-led priority gaps deemed necessary to meet Paris Agreement goals via the Global Research Action Agenda (GRAA) and the City Research and Innovation Agenda (CRIA), I4C24 is anchored in four themes that offer strategic entry points for impactful, evidence-driven, and cross-sectoral discussion and knowledge generation:

  • Biodiversity and Resilience: Cities play a key role in preserving biodiversity, which can enhance resilience through integrated climate action. One of the Innovate4Cities conference's priorities is advancing understanding of nature-based infrastructure projects and strengthening synergies between local climate initiatives and global biodiversity agreements like the CBD and IPCC-IPBES report.
  • Finance: Current financial management falls short in meeting the requirements for a sustainable future, hindering investment in local climate action initiatives. The 2024 Innovate4Cities Conference will focus on understanding existing financial gaps, showcasing projects with local-level approaches to finance municipal research, innovation, and interventions that support cities in their climate-resilient efforts.
  • Multi-level Governance and Partnerships: Without stronger coordination , urbanization, local practices, and consumption habits may continue in unsustainable patterns. The 2024 Innovate4Cities Conference will showcase the diverse types of knowledge and science needed for cross-sectoral and multilevel governmental collaborations, emphasizing interactions between government and business stakeholders to foster networked resilience across cities and advance transformative climate change responses.
  • Digitalization: With the advancement of digitalization and AI, cities can now access institutional data analysis tools allowing rapid interpretation of information. The 2024 Innovate4Cities Conference will focus on understanding how digitalization impacts decision-making processes and its potential to transform systems, while also showcasing local efforts to drive digitalization for climate action.

In consideration of the main conference themes, we are interested to include cross-cutting topics to learn how aspects such as informality, justice and equity, and history and cultural heritage can play important roles in climate resilient development. We would also like to encourage submissions that unpack the associated challenges of social justice, urban migration, decarbonisation and climate events, from a global and regional perspective.