NEW YORK, 23 September 2019 – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), the Republic of Kenya and the Republic of Turkey organized a high-level evening event to highlight cities’ and youth leadership in combating climate change.
“Cities, with their vast resources and adaptability, provide an ideal incubator for climate-friendly and resource efficient business models, circular economy concepts and product designs”, said UNIDO Director General LI Yong.
The event allowed participants to learn more about the advances of climate action in an urban context and to initiate new partnerships, while highlighting the significance and potential of cities as hubs for climate action and innovation.
City-level climate action should therefore provide suitable framework conditions for the uptake of digital technologies and protect existing standards, such as social inclusion, employment and women empowerment.
Kenya pointed out that often the needed innovation can be found in indigenous solutions. The example of Kisumu, where indigenous groups turned harmful water reeds into replacement for plastic bags following the plastic ban, helped to broaden the concept of innovation. The Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, echoed this and added that it is so important to walk the talk and engage youth, citizens, and communities so we change behaviors and deliver the change needed.
The event included two panel discussions featuring national- and city-level decision-makers as well as representatives from international organizations, financial institutions and youth groups. Panelists were invited to showcase innovative and impactful initiatives and mechanisms that would ensure the availability of resources to support city-level climate action.
The Government of Turkey reinforced the need to move on and act and pointed out that national governments can really help to leverage city-level action.
While cities are economically and socially vulnerable to climate change impacts, they are also responsible for large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. The presentation of concrete and specific initiatives raised awareness amongst the participants on the need to utilize the potential of cities towards inclusive and sustainable industrial development. With the Paris Agreement paving the way for low-emission, climate-resilient development, cities are now at the forefront of climate change action.
For more information, please contact:
Industrial Development Officer
UNIDO Energy Systems & Infrastructure Division