Evolution of the Global Research Action Agenda for Cities (GRAA)

Evolution of the Global Research Action Agenda for Cities (GRAA)

Thursday, 17 February 2022 - 10:30am to 11:30am

Sunset view over the Melbourne CBD

The 2018 Cities and Climate Change Science conference initiated a process of engagement between urban policymakers, practitioners, researchers and other societal actors, to map and evaluate the state of research and progress on the intersection of cities and climate change, with an emphasis on research needs for increased action. The primary output of this conference was the Global Research and Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change Science (GRAA)(World Climate Research Programme, 2019), which identified four cross cutting areas and six topical areas where research and knowledge were needed. Expanding the perspective from that seen at the conference to better include the city voice, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM) launched the Innovate4Cities (I4C) initiative, and associated City Research Agenda, to support action by cities as called for within the 2018 Cities and Climate Change Science conference’s GRAA. 

The first Innovate4Cities conference (Innovate4Cities 2021) was held virtually in October 2021 by GCoM and UN-Habitat, and co-sponsored by the IPCC, once again bringing together a community from academia, the private sector, NGOs, local governments, national governments, city networks, youth, international organisations and other stakeholders engaged in addressing climate change in cities. This virtual conference allowed for presentations from around the world to take place across time zones over five days, which facilitated participation from a diversity of presenters and discussants from over 150 countries. In this presentation, Brenna and Cathy will discuss some of the initial insights on the GRAA, resulting from this recent I4C gathering.

Further reading: 

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This event has been organised with the financial support of the European Union’s Partnership Instrument. The opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

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Dr Brenna Walsh is a consultant on climate change and cities, and has been co-editor of the Innovate4Cities update to the Global Research and Action Agenda for the Innovate4Cities conference, supported by UN-Habitat. Brenna is supporting the Global Covenant of Mayors in updating the City Research Agenda. Brenna is also a project manager at the Surface Particulate Matter Network, working at the intersection of urban climate change and health. Previously, as a science officer at Future Earth International she coordinated work of the Scientific Steering Committee for the 2018 Cities and Climate Change Science conference, held in Edmonton, Canada after which she coordinated writing of the Global Research and Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change Science. 


Dr Cathy Oke is currently Melbourne Enterprise Principal Fellow in Informed Cities within the Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning and Associate Director (Enterprise and Impact) in the Melbourne Centre for Cities at the University of Melbourne. In this role, she is also Special Advisor Innovate4Cities at Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM). Cathy was previously the Knowledge Broker at the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes (CAUL) research hub, of the National Environmental Science Program, based at the University of Melbourne; and a Councillor at the City of Melbourne 2008 – 2020 (principally in the Environment Portfolio). Cathy has been a member of the ICLEI  - Local Governments for Sustainability – World Secretariat’s Global Executive Committee since 2009, a leadership body which guides the network in advancing its global vision. She has been a critical member of the team advocating on behalf of cities at seven UN Conference of the Parties – UNFCCC  (Copenhagen, Cancun, Paris, Bonn. Madrid and Glasgow) and Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD) (Cancun and Sharm el Sheik). 


Web tools and Projects we developed

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  • Paris Equity Check

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  • liveMAGICC Climate Model

    Run one of the most popular reduced-complexity climate carbon cycle models online. Used by IPCC, UNEP GAP reports and numerous scientific publications.

  • NDC & INDC Factsheets

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