Innovate4Cities Frequently Asked Questions

Explore this FAQ to learn more about how I4C drives science-based and technology-driven climate action worldwide by identifying and sharing local knowledge, fostering innovation, and creating partnerships. Discover how we equip cities with the necessary tools and networks to implement sustainable solutions that meet global climate goals and address the specific needs of urban environments.

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About Innovate4Cities and the Innovate4Cities Conference

The Innovate4Cities (I4C) Conference is a global and regional event that convenes science, innovation, policy, and practice united by a common objective: enabling cities to take accelerated and more ambitious climate action. Held previously in 2018 and 2021, the 2024 Global Conference will deliver various opportunities to present climate scenarios, propose solutions, and offer updates on progress and action taken since the inception of I4C in 2018.

The 2024 Innovate4Cities Conference (I4C24) is a platform for alignment of local level governance networks to extend beyond their sector across local, regional, and national level actors to discuss with academia and the private sector the necessary actions to catalyze city-focused research and innovation, facilitate partnerships for early-stage implementation accelerators and enable urban innovation. I4C24 returns from the 2021 virtual format to an event held primarily in-person, taking place at Le Westin Montréal, in Montréal, Quebec, Canada from September 10th-12th 2024.

Innovate4Cities (I4C) is a core initiative of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM), running in concurrence with the Invest4Cities and Data4Cities initiatives. It is the role of I4C to identify and tackle the data, information, and technology gaps prioritized by cities and local governments for climate action. I4C is positioned to facilitate science-based, technology-driven, replicable sustainable action and implementation at local level, across the world.

Your city/local government does not need to be a GCoM signatory to be involved in the 2024 Innovate4Cities Conference . If you are interested in finding out more, you can click here.

For more information about becoming a signatory of  the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, please click here.

The Global Research & Action Agenda (GRAA) helps frame the need to catalyze action and implementation, focuses on new and emerging research gaps for the topical areas and cross-cutting issues, and hones in on regional insights to highlight variation in research and implementation gaps across different contexts.

The City Research and Innovation Agenda (CRIA) identifies and tackles the data, information, and technology gaps that cities have prioritized and, if addressed, would drive science-based, technology-driven, replicable sustainable action and implementation at the scale the world needs and cities demand.

As new participants register, the range of offerings will continue to grow for all participants. Public sector participants will offer opportunities for innovative sustainability practices in urban governance, private sector will offer goods and services to deploy in the interest of sustainable practices, and academia brings the opportunity to supplement these efforts under the GRAA/CRIA with iterative efforts in data collection, analysis, and synthesis of research to develop new innovations for application. The I4C24 provides a platform to generate knowledge around policy, research, and innovation gaps at the nexus of city climate action that feeds into longer-term engagement opportunities through the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM) and UNHabitat cooperation.

Cities and local governments are crucial to creating pathways that achieve low-emission, resilient, and safe communities around the world. Converting your ambition into action, however, often requires partnerships, expertise, capacity, and knowledge of business, academia, and civil society to implement your plans. Innovate4Cities Marketplaces allow cities and local governments like yours to:

  • Connect and match with businesses and academics on unique project / solution / program offerings that can facilitate action plan implementation; and,
  • Learn from other cities and local governments about sustainability-related challenges and opportunities they face – and share good practices to address them.

Businesses and private sector organizations are sharing their expertise, intellectual capital, and investment with the aim to forge ahead with urban climate change solutions at unprecedented scale. Investors play a crucial role in catalyzing local actions across all stages of project development. Uncovering investment opportunities, however, takes time, especially when ensuring a thorough due diligence process to evaluate fit-for-purpose investments. Maximizing returns on both climate response and enterprise performance goals, often requires knowledge and close collaboration with cities, local governments, and research institutions. Innovate4Cities Marketplaces allow businesses and investors to:

  • Connect and match with cities and local governments on implementation, policy, and research needs/challenges that can be supported by expertise and investment; and,
  • Learn from other private sector organizations about challenges and opportunities they face in investments at the nexus of cities and sustainability – and share good practices to address them.

With ever-greater need to fill knowledge gaps and co-design research and solutions at the intersection of cities, policy, and climate science, academia is a core piece of the urban sustainability puzzle.The Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference highlighted that accelerated recruitment of urban scholars, city focused climate scientists and graduate research students are critical. Innovate4Cities Marketplaces allow research institutions, academics, graduate researchers to:

  • Connect and match with local governments and businesses on implementation, policy, and research needs/challenges that can be supported by your knowledge, projects, and collaboration opportunities; and,
  • Learn from and partner with other academics and research institutions about challenges and opportunities they face in the pursuit of research at the nexus of cities and sustainability – and share good practices to address them.

The composition and function of civil society is dictated by the spaces it occupies, and for sustainable, vibrant, successful societies to emerge and persist, active engagement is required to form both the conceptual discourse and physical environment in which we interact. Innovation is a response to necessity, and needs from civil society must be clearly understood to be addressed in coordination with the public sector, private sector, and the research community working to solve existing issues in urban environments. The 2024 Innovate4Cities Conference will allow non-governmental organizations and civil society stakeholders to:

  • Connect and match with local governments, researchers, and businesses on implementation, policy, and social and cultural needs/challenges that can be supported by citizen action and information networks; and,
  • Learn from and partner with other non-governmental and civil society actors concerning challenges and opportunities they face in the pursuit of societal representation and cohesion at the nexus of cities and sustainability – and share both ideas and examples of good practices to address them.

The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM)’s three core initiatives focus on generating the next generation of knowledge, data, tools, and technical support for local policymakers to tackle sustainability challenges and contribute to a global climate solution. 

Innovate4Cities delivers a nexus point between decision-makers and solutions providers,

Invest4Cities is GCoM’s platform to facilitate and mobilize cities’ access to climate finance and technical assistance for critical investment in urban climate change mitigation and resilience projects.

Data4Cities is the evidence-based foundation to measure and manage cities and local governments’ climate ambition and progress in a standard and consistent way as a means to drive innovation and investment.

Announced at COP26, the Urban Transitions Mission is a global initiative with the goal to catalyze action and investment in research and development and make clean energy affordable, attractive and accessible to all this decade. This will accelerate progress towards the Paris Agreement goals and pathways to net zero.

This mission represents a collective effort of national-level government participants to address the urban innovation needs Innovate4Cities is designed to help us with . Mission Innovation (MI) is a global initiative of 23 countries and the European Commission (on behalf of the European Union)

Register your interest for the 2024 Innovate4Cities Conference and join the GCoM network. As supporting events take place leading into the Innovate4Cities 2024 conference, develop an understanding of the scope of urban innovation required around the world through GCoM members and partner institutions. Expressions of interest for marketplace offerings may be submitted here.

The Cities and Climate Change Science Conference (CitiesIPCC Conference) took place from 5-7 March 2018, in Edmonton, Canada. The proposal for this conference was approved by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in October 2016 and subsequently co-organized by a diverse group of organizations, including UN-Habitat, UN Environment (UNEP), C40, Cities Alliance, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), Future Earth, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). The conference brought together over 750 participants, including researchers, practitioners and policymakers.

The proceedings of Cities & Climate Change Science Conference held in 2018 are available here. and the resulting 2019 Global Research and Action Agenda for Cities and Climate Change Science (GRAA) can be found here.

Building on the 2018 Edmonton Cities and Climate Change Science Conference and the resulting Global Research and Action Agenda (GRAA) on Cities and Climate Change Science, the Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference (I4C 2021) focused on the nexus of science, practice, and innovation – including local challenges, priority needs, and cross-sector opportunities to realize ambitious climate action.

The event highlighted more than 500 urban innovative solutions to address climate change and brought together more than 7000 practitioners, researchers, policymakers, innovators, youth, and business leaders to deliver a strong message on the knowledge and partnerships needed to raise climate ambition.

The Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference was co-hosted by the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM) and UN-Habitat, and co-sponsored by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference proceedings are available for review here.

For an understanding of the insights & outcomes of the I4C Marketplace activities informing the 2024 I4C Conference agenda, the report is available here.

General Information

Montreal is great to visit year-round, but the best time generally is from late spring to early fall (May to October) when the weather is pleasant.

The primary language is French, but English is widely spoken, especially in business and tourist areas.

Travel and Accommodation

The nearest airport is the Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL). und.

Public transportation includes buses and the metro (subway). Taxis, ride-sharing services (like Uber), and bike rentals are also available.

The conference will take place at Le Westin Montréal so we recommend staying on site.

Business casual, traditional dress is also welcome. 

Essentials include business cards, a notepad, a laptop or tablet, power adapters (if traveling internationally), and any presentation materials. Also, bring a reusable water bottle and comfortable shoes.

Explore Old Montreal, visit the Montréal  Museum of Fine Arts, walk up Mount Royal, or enjoy the nightlife on St. Laurent Boulevard or Crescent Street.

For more information on activities in Montreal, you can visit Tourisme Montréal’s website: https://www.mtl.org/en 

Or see this document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VC1WApfmLaJbHZH2_4VtszegxlHpxr_b/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=108235891783559713770&rtpof=true&sd=true 

Politeness and greetings in French (like saying “Bonjour” when entering shops) are appreciated. 

It is recommended to have travel insurance that covers health, trip cancellations, and lost luggage, especially if traveling internationally.

Montréal has good internet connectivity. Most hotels, conference centers, cafes, and public places offer free Wi-Fi.

The currency is the Canadian Dollar (CAD).

Canada uses a standard voltage of 120V and a frequency of 60Hz. The plug types are A and B. If your devices use a different voltage or plug type, you will need an adapter.

Arrive at least 30 minutes early to allow time for registration and finding your way around.

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