Innovate4Cities News & Events


Registration opens for the Innovate4Cities Global Marketplace on 10-12 October 2023

Registration is now open for the Innovate4Cities (I4C) Global Marketplace, an online event from 10-12 October 2023 to convene cities, business, academia, other levels of government, and civil society to catalyze partnerships to implement city climate action. 

Grounded in the latest research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the science is clear: climate change demands increasingly urgent transformative action to reduce emissions, meet core human needs, and increase social, energy, and environmental resilience. Cities and local governments can play a crucial role in implementing climate action, but require cross-sector partnership and collaboration to meet the moment. 

In response to these gaps, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM) invites cities and local governments, academics, businesses, individuals to the first of its kind Innovate4Cities (I4C) Global Marketplace October 10-12 online  – visit 

Building on research and innovation priorities identified via key city & climate change science agendas, the Innovate4Cities Global Marketplace is a shared space to connect and match cities, local governments, funders and financiers, academia, and other levels of government to tackle the policy, research, and innovation gaps most critical to urban action. 

The I4C Global Marketplace will provide a virtual space to identify, explore, and connect the challenges, knowledge, and solutions focused on tackling the climate crisis through action implementation in cities and local governments. The Marketplace aims to catalyze regionally relevant partnerships that maximize shared priorities and ambitions to to implement need-based city climate actions and solutions that deliver a net-zero, climate-resilient and safe future.

Moreover, the I4C Global Marketplace informs development of the Innovate4Cities Conferences by taking stock of the appetite for cross-sector partnership and implementation that addresses crucial research and innovation priorities. City and climate change science agendas will benefit directly from the knowledge and opportunities shared and developed within and across Marketplaces. 

Format for the Marketplace: There will be sessions in suitable hours for all timezones across the three days, with meetings and presentation opportunities open to all who are interested. We will be in touch to discuss options to actively participate in the marketplace – to present or pitch your ideas for research and innovation, relevant to your local climate action needs. Importantly, this isn’t like a normal conference. 

You can attend one day, half a day or just a specific meeting – with a program focussed on a few high level stock-take plenaries on research and innovation for cities and local government climate action; and many small to medium meetings to generate meaningful partnerships for research and innovation to close the implementation gap on local climate ambition.

Why attend the I4C Global Marketplace?

  • Connect and match with regionally relevant  businesses and academics on unique project / solution / program offerings that can facilitate action plan implementation; 
  • Learn from other cities and local governments, industry, academia, and business about sustainability-related challenges and opportunities they face – and share good practices to address them; 
  • Generate knowledge around policy, research, and innovation gaps at the nexus of city climate action that feeds into longer-term engagement opportunities 

The GCoM alliance invites you to register your interest to participate at the virtual Innovate4Cities Global Marketplace from 10-12 October 2023. Interested participants may also choose to ‘pitch’ your need and/or solution to a cross-sector audience filled with potential partner organizations within your region. 



In the second episode of the City Climate Innovation: Special episodes of the ClimateTalks Podcast ‘Networked and Innovative Cities’, special guests Maryke van Staden, Director of Business Development, the carbonn Climate Center, and Interim Head of Climate Action at ICLEI World Secretariat, Jean-Baptiste Buffet, Head of Global Policy and Advocacy at United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and Rachel Huxley, Director of Knowledge and Learning at C40 Cities, join hosts Ben Jance, Cathy Oke, and Andy Deacon to discuss the importance of networking and innovation for city climate action – and key activities in the lead up to COP27 from major city networks.

Maryke starts us off with a focus on Daring Cities and the value of these types of forums to empower urban decision-makers to lead in the climate emergency. Jean-Baptiste chimes in live from UCLG World Congress in Daejeon, South Korea on the importance of the role of intermediary cities. And lastly, we hear from Rachel at the C40 World Mayors Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she shares with us some key research priorities identified by cities at the research roundtable. You don’t want to miss it!



In this episode, our impressive lineup of guests join hosts Ben Jance, Marnie McGregor, and Andy Deacon directly from COP27 in the third episode of City Climate Innovation, a podcast series of special episodes of the ClimateTalks Podcast to discuss networking and innovation for cities. We hear from a range of experts that we caught up with at the COP floor that are all working toward innovative climate solutions and research from a range of perspectives.

Our guests are Massamba Thioye, Project Executive of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat (or UNFCCC) Global Innovation Hub; Yunus Arikan, Director of Global Advocacy at ICLEI World Secretariat; Helen Watts, Senior Director of Global Partnerships, Student Energy; Sheela Patel, Founder and Director of the Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC) Founder and Innovate4Cities Advisory Group Co-Chair and Anna Reynolds, Lord Mayor of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia and GCoM Board Member.



Inspired by the 2018 Edmonton Declaration – and galvanized by the Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference – the City Research and Innovation Agenda seeks to fill local-level knowledge, information, and technology gaps at every stage of the city climate action journey. Sourced directly from local policymakers, city leaders, and practitioners, it highlights today’s critical urban climate needs, outlines the necessary cross-sector partnerships and actions for successful delivery, and charts pathways to drive action implementation.

Research and innovation priorities are built on four priority city-focused questions:

  1. How do we build the evidence base for climate action?
  2. How – and for whom – should we prioritize?
  3. What should we do?
  4. How do we finance and scale climate action?

Guided by GCoM’s Research and Innovation Technical Working Group, Innovate4Cities and the City Research and Innovation Agenda encourage alliance partners to contribute, collaborate and co-design projects – involving cities, local governments, and cross-sector stakeholders – to meet the gaps identified in the City Research and Innovation Agenda.

The City Research and Innovation Agenda is a key outcome of the Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference that was co-hosted by GCoM and UN-Habitat and co-sponsored by the IPCC. 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 Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM) is excited launch the new City Climate Innovation: Special episodes of the ClimateTalks Podcast, produced together with the University of Melbourne (UniMelb), Melbourne Climate Futures (MCF) and Melbourne Centre for Cities (MCC). This four-part limited series  focuses on the nexus of cities, climate change science, and policy innovation – and the critical partnerships required to meet Paris Agreement goals at unprecedented speed and scale. By highlighting the priority knowledge gaps identified through the City Research and Innovation Agenda (CRIA) as a common starting point, the limited podcast series takes listeners through key partnerships on the road to COP 27 – including Mission Innovation, Innovate4Cities, and others.

In this first episode of the City Climate Innovation: Special episodes of the ClimateTalks Podcast – Cities on a Mission – we shed light on the critical need for urban research and innovation, kicking off with GCoM Research and Innovation Technical Working Group co-chair Valentina Palermo, Scientific Project Officer at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) who shares what urban practitioners are saying through the lens of the City Research and Innovation Agenda (CRIA) and the Global Research and Action Agenda (GRAA) –  two key outcomes from the Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference, launched and discussed at ICLEI World Congress 2021-2022.

Coming from the Global Clean Energy Action Forum in Pittsburgh, USA we also have Rosalinde van der Vlies, Director of the Clean Planet Directorate in the European Commission’s DG for Research and Innovation and Mission Innovation Vice Chair, and Giorgia Rambelli, Director of the Urban Transitions Mission – unpacking the Mission Innovation Urban Transitions Mission (UTM), a joint effort that aims to mobilize cities worldwide to advance their climate action planning, increase their ambition and implement systemic and innovative approaches to a net-zero, resilient, and people-centered urban future. They will go into more detail on what UTM will bring to the stage and its priorities for the first year. These guests join hosts Ben Jance, Cathy Oke, and Andy Deacon.

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