The history of Innovate4Cities

Innovate4Cities is underpinned by the “wheel”, formally known as the Global Research and Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change Science (GRAA), one of the key outcomes of the 2021 Innovate4Cities Conference.


The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM) and UN-Habitat invited cities and local governments, and their partners in climate action research and innovation, to the first of its kind Innovate4Cities (I4C) Global Marketplace that took place October 10-12 2023 online.

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.

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 provided 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.


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. Against the backdrop of a green recovery from COVID-19, I4C 2021 raised local and regional voices – localizing efforts to build back better towards a cleaner, more resilient, sustainable society and a fairer world. 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).

Strategically positioned to take insights from – and subsequently inform – engagements including Race to Zero, Race to Resilience, the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the Convention on Biological Diversity, and COP 26, I4C 2021 brought a constructive city and local government lens to the challenges, solutions, and pathways forward – inclusive of the regional sensitivities critical to fair and inclusive climate action.

Cities and Climate Change Science Conference 2018

The CitiesIPCC Cities and Climate Change Science Conference aimed to inspire the next frontier of research focused on the science of cities and climate change. The conference was organized by CitiesIPCC and was held in Edmonton from March 5-7, 2018.


Find out more about the next Innovate4Cities

Page Navigation