Webinar | 12 Jul, 2023

Shaping Sustainable Cities: Working Creatively with Nature

In 2023, the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) will assess progress on achieving SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities. As an official side event of the HLPF, this Knowledge Dialogue will review the potential cities offer for living more sustainably and what more needs to be done to realize that potential, especially in the face of intensifying climate change and worsening biodiversity loss.

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Photo: CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

In November 2022, the global human population surpassed the eight billion mark. Today, some 56% of people live in cities, and it is estimated that by 2050, urban dwellers will account for more than 68% of humanity, with 95% of future urban growth taking place in developing countries.

Shaping sustainable cities is a crucial piece of the puzzle if we are to meet the challenges of climate change and conserving biodiversity at the same time. The way we build and live in cities is a major factor in meeting these two challenges.

Cities remain unique centres of biodiversity with potential in terms of living resources that must be safeguarded. Greening cities and making them more resilient will be critical to reversing the seemingly inexorable rise of greenhouse gas emissions and to humanity’s ability to adapt to rising global temperatures and worsening climate-related events, whether heatwaves, storms, or flooding.

What is needed to make those cities as sustainable, green, and healthy as possible for their human inhabitants and biodiversity, and to minimize the impact of urban consumption patterns on biodiversity globally?

This Knowledge Dialogue will explore opportunities and financial mechanisms for expanding green infrastructure and buildings. It will explore how to make cities more adaptable in the face of climate change (SDG13), as well as how to green cities for improved human health and well-being (SDG3), and for habitats for biodiversity to thrive (SDG15). Nature-based solutions in cities will be examined.


Welcome and introduction Dr Elizabeth Bennett, Vice President, Species Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society

Introductory remarks - Ms Sonia Peña Moreno, Director, International Policy Centre, IUCN

KeynoteDr Eric Sanderson, Vice President, Urban Conservation, New York Botanical Garden

Panel Discussion on Building Sustainable Cities

Dr Maud Lelièvre, President of the IUCN French Committee & Member of the IUCN Council; Paris councillor and member of the "Climate and Biodiversity" Commission; leads working group of French actors to formulate recommendations for the 12th World Urban Forum (Cairo 2024), to speak on the adaptation of cities to climate change and biodiversity preservation

Mr Clément Payeur, Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, French Embassy in Nairobi, to speak on the resolution on smart cities presented at the UN-Habitat General Assembly in Nairobi (tbc)

Mr Tim Badman, Head, Heritage, Culture and Youth, IUCN, to speak on measuring urban sustainability

Ms Xueman Wang, World Bank Group, to speak on nature-based solutions for urban cooling

Dr Ian Hamilton, UCL Energy Institute, University College London, to speak on urban building decarbonization

Dr Lena Chan, Singapore National Parks, to speak on Singapore’s experience with building a sustainable, green city

Mr Christopher Williams, UN-Habitat (moderator)