IIED and partners will be hosting and participating in several events at the World Urban Forum from 26-30 June 2022 in Katowice, Poland.

Katowice, Poland
Last updated 23 June 2022
People building informal houses on stilts behind rising water.

Residents in Dhaka, Bangladesh respond to climate change impacts by building houses on stilts over the rising water (Photo: Development Planning Unit, University College London/Department of Architecture, BRAC University, via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

The World Urban Forum (WUF) is a global conference on sustainable urbanisation. It was established by the United Nations in 2001 to examine one of the most pressing issues facing the world today: rapid urbanisation and its impact on communities, cities, economies, climate change and policies.

It is attended by representatives of national, regional and local governments, academics, business people, community leaders, urban planners and civil society representatives.

IIED’s researchers and partners will be among those in Katowice showing how cities can promote resilient, low-carbon and just urbanisation, in a context of increasing climate breakdown and inequality.

They will be setting out a vision for urban transformation to build just and inclusive cities, building on the core principles of the framework for transformative urban recovery co-developed with grassroots organisations, national and international agencies, research institutions, international NGOs and city leaders.

IIED will also be exploring new approaches to data, participation and finance that need to be made to ensure meaningful and transformative planning.

Exhibition stand

IIED can be found at an exhibition stand in the WUF11 Habitat Village exhibition hall, as part of a collaboration between urbaMonde; World Habitat; Misereor; Habitat International Coalition (HIC); Global Platform for the Right to the City (GPR2C); The Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU) of University College London; IIED and MOBA Housing SCE.

Habitat International Coalition (HIC) General Assembly

Ahead of WUF11, IIED principal researcher Alexandre Aspan Frediani will also be attending the Habitat International Coalition (HIC) General Assembly on Saturday, 25 June. The general assembly is convened annually by HIC to bring its members and partners together to share ongoing campaigns and achievements and discuss collaboration.

Frediani will represent IIED, a member of the coalition, in the assembly. He is also attending the assembly as a HIC board member, as the elected representative of European members of HIC.

This year the assembly will be a hybrid event – the first time members have met in-person since the start of the pandemic – and will feature discussion of the key challenges affecting the advancement of habitat rights internationally.

WUF events

Some of the events IIED and partners will be involved in at WUF11 are as follows:

Monday, 27 June 2022

Better cities are possible: responding to the twin urban crises of climate change and inequality 

Networking event

Time: 1.30-3pm
Venue: Multifunction Hall Room 3
Hosted by: IIED 
Partners: IIED-America Latina; SDI-Kenya; Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre; Cities Alliance

The COVID-19, climate and inequality crises present a critical juncture in the evolution of cities but there is limited focus on the urban dimensions of these intersecting crises.

This networking event will coincide with the publication of an agenda-setting document by IIED focused on how the housing, poverty, migration and resilience agendas can inform and engage with global debates concerning urban sustainability and climate change. 

Together with civil society partners, researchers from IIED will present action-priorities in the context of a rapidly warming planet. The event will provide a valuable space to debate these priorities across urban contexts, deepen collaborations and establish new connections between relevant governing, civil society and research actors.

Related reading: Better cities are possible: achieving resilient, low-carbon and inclusive urban development | Better cities are possible: responding to the twin crises of climate change and inequality

How to communicate a crisis? Creating visions for desirable urban futures

Side event

Time: 2.15-3pm
Venue: German Pavilion
Hosted by: United Nations University – Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU–EHS)
Partners: IIED, World Resources Institute (WRI), German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS)

The need for climate adaptation and mitigation is widely acknowledged and urban actors are among the driving forces of global decarbonisation. However, moving from knowledge to practical climate action is far more difficult, as goals might seem unreachable. At the same time, cities and their inhabitants also have to deal with other, supposedly more urgent challenges.

How do we communicate the climate crisis so that the scale is clear but without being so overwhelmed by it that any action seems pointless? What kind of communication is appropriate to create and share visions of desirable urban futures? How do we present the narrative of decarbonisation as something positive that comes with opportunities, and not as limiting?  

By exploring ways to create visions for desirable urban futures for all, this event will seek to inspire climate action and showcase concrete ideas of how socially just decarbonisation processes can be triggered and accelerated in cities.  

Related reading: Transforming cities, transforming lives

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Scaling up community-led planning: learning from Freetown

Training event

Time: 9am-12pm
Venue: Multifunction Hall Room 6
Hosted by: Architecture Sans Frontières-UK
Partners: IIED; Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre (SLURC); Freetown City Council; Centre of Dialogue on Human Settlement and Poverty Alleviation (CODOHSAPA); Habitat International Coalition (HIC); The Bartlett Development Planning Unit of University College London; Commonwealth Association of Architects

This training event will explore the relevance of community-led planning as a means for making cities more inclusive, localising the Sustainable Development Goals and implementing the new urban agenda. 

Drawing lessons from the experience of Freetown, Sierra Leone, the focus will be on informal settlement upgrading initiatives and on the challenges and opportunities for taking community-led planning for informal settlement upgrading to scale.

The event will disseminate the processes, methods and tools for community-led planning illustrated in the Freetown Community Planning Toolkit; share how the Freetown City Learning Platform is a successful example of how to enable the strong multilevel collaborations critical to taking community-led planning at scale; and share the experiences among practitioners and professionals, community leaders, and national and local government officials.

Related reading: Knowledge in action for urban equality | Community Livelihoods Opportunities

Localised durable solutions in conflict-induced displacement contexts - lessons learned from different country contexts

Networking event

Time: 12.30-2pm
Venue: Multifunction Hall Room 3
Hosted by: UN-Habitat
Partners: UN special rapporteur on human rights of IDPs; Somali Disaster Risk Management Bureau; IIED

Over the last decade, the world has witnessed a rise in number of displacement crises, due to the impacts of conflict, natural disasters, and climate change. While efforts to assist displaced populations often focus on camp settings, displacement has taken on an increasingly urban dimension with the majority of internally displaced persons and refugees now seeking refuge in urban areas, where safety, shelter, basic services and livelihoods are often more readily accessible. 

In Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Iraq and Syria, the rapid growth of urban populations has unfolded in an unplanned and informal manner, and as displaced populations face acute vulnerabilities, this creates challenges for accessing adequate housing, food, basic and social services, and land tenure rights.

Using experiences from these countries, this event will share the impact of selected projects that aim to enhance social inclusion and foster rights-based approaches for displaced populations, including a focus on localised durable solutions used by actors across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus.

Related reading: The case for treating long-term urban IDPs as city residents | The road from refugee to resident