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During its 48th plenary session, IPCC panel notes Research and Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change Science

This first of its kind Conference and this subsequent Research and Action Agenda have showcased not only the important role cities play in terms of climate impact and opportunities to address it, but the breadth of knowledge needed to support decision-makers and urban practitioners to tackle these challenges. Building on existing knowledge and action, the Conference and the Research and Action Agenda are two steps in a journey towards generating greater knowledge in support of practice and decision-making to address climate change in urban areas.  

The Global Research and Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change Science is the primary outcome of the Cities and Climate Change Science conference. This Research and Action Agenda was co-developed with all 700 conference participants, with information for the agenda collected through all conference plenary and parallel sessions, from poster presenters and from the pre-conference commissioned papers, and from discussions which took place during the conference. After the conference, the Scientific Steering Committee and its support team synthesized the information, and after receiving feedback from conference participants formulated the final Research and Action Agenda which was submitted to the IPCC Panel.


This Research and Action Agenda is broken into three sections. The first highlights four crosscutting issues where there are knowledge gaps related to methodology and understanding that would benefit from better uptake of existing science and knowledge, new research and new perspectives. These crosscutting issues are Systems Approach, Governance and Institutions, Scale and Observation, Data, Modelling and Scenarios at the City Level. Six topical knowledge areas where the availability of more evidence-based knowledge would support practitioners and decision-makers in addressing specific city-level challenges arising from climate change were also presented. These key topical knowledge gaps were around Informality, Urban Planning and Design, Built and Blue and Green Infrastructure, Sustainable Consumption and Production, Finance and Uncertainty. The last section presents approaches to support the implementation of the Research and Action Agenda through strengthening the science practice and policy interface to advance climate action in cities. We propose that this can be done through furthering Knowledge co-design and co-production, Empowering cities to take action and Fostering long-term science-policy-practice collaborations.


The Organising Committee and Scientific Steering Committee invite all those working to address climate change in cities to take up and build from this agenda, integrating perspectives of their constituencies, and tailor the findings from this Conference to the contexts of different cities. This Research and Action Agenda serves as a call for continued collaboration to develop the knowledge needed to mitigate and adapt to climate change in cities.


The Research and Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change Science can now be found on the Conference website, at the following link.


Future Earth was a key scientific partner in this conference, who through its global networks, like the Urban Knowledge Action Network, brings researchers together with other societal actors to drive sustainable transitions. Future Earth also provided support to the Scientific Steering Committee throughout the preparation and post conference phases. Future Earth coordinated the writing of the Global Research and Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change, and invite the Future Earth community to dive in to the agenda, and work together to co-generate the knowledge needed to address climate change in cities.


Dr. Xuemei Bai is an inaugural Science Committee member of Future Earth, and has been leading the development of its Urban Knowledge Action Network. Bai also participated in the The Cities and Climate Change Science Conference (CitiesIPCC), held in March 2018 in Edmonton, Canada.


According to Bai: “This research and action agenda is an outcome of co-design principle in action. Now it's time to co-produce the knowledge identified in the agenda, and Future Earth and its Urban Knowledge Action Network will continue to play an important role in this.”


About the CitiesIPCC Conference and Organising Partners


At its 44th Session (Bangkok, Thailand, 17 – 20 October 2016), the IPCC approved the proposal for an International Conference on Climate Change and Cities, co-sponsored by Cities Alliance, C-40 Cities Leadership Group, Future Earth, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)-Local Governments for Sustainability, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), United Nations Environment Programme, and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). The International Conference on Climate Change and Cities, (renamed and branded Cities and Climate Change Science Conference – CitiesIPCC for communication purposes), which was co-sponsored by the IPCC and the nine partners specified above was hosted by the City of Edmonton, Canada from March 5th- 7th 2018.