Global Urban Knowledge Governance

In the wake of COP21 and the establishment of universally applicable Sustainable Development Goals, and in view of the recent UN Habitat III conference, there is a growing momentum around cities as key elements of the global sustainability puzzle. Critical in all of these and other (such as the Sendai framework on disaster reduction; the Addis Ababa Action Agenda) multilateral processes will be the need to track, assess and analyse progress on an urban scale.


Do cities need an “Global Knowledge Platform for Sustainable Urbanisation" to compile and disseminate scientific advances about urban developments and provide a strong evidence base to the monitoring of the implementation of the New urban Agenda?


Despite the proliferation of indicators and 'science of cities' approaches, very little if any discussion as to the governance and decision-support mechanisms sustaining this momentum is presently available. Now commonly circulating in high-level urban policy spheres is the discussion of a possible "IPCCC for cities" to ensure impartial and effective tracking of the commitments in and around COP, SDGs, HIII and more. This pilot project, developed in collaboration with the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town, investigates the nascent science-policy ecosystem around global urban indicators, explore what a “Global Knowledge Platform for Sustainable Urbanisation” would and should look like, and provide recommendations to UN-Habitat and World Bank, as well as the Habitat III policy community more in general, as to how to confront the problems of a fair, effective and innovative system to assess sustainable urbanisation.


The project includes a systematic review of the current multilateral/international knowledge system around urban indicators, an assessment of architecture of global urban governance and of the potential/limits of an International Panel for Sustainable Urban Development.


On September 29-30, 2016, the City Leadership Lab invited representatives from academia, policy and civil society gathered in London (University College London) for a strategic international meeting on the               science-policy underpinnings of the New Urban Agenda. The convening was organized in collaboration with the Prince of Wales's International Sustainability Unit (ISU), the International Council for Science (ICSU), Adelphi and the Penn Institute for Urban Research. A key goal of the workshop was to map current research on the global architecture of urban knowledge governance and develop a roadmap of collaboration amongst research hubs closely involved in the New Urban Agenda (NUA) process.


The participants released a global campaign for the creation of a knowledge platform for sustainable urbanisation - the call is available on the Global Urban Commons webpage as well as below here.


You can find a summary of the two days session here.

2012 EU-China Mayors' Forum © Committee of the Regions

Workshop summary

"Global Urban Knowledge and the New Urban Agenda"


a summary of the Sept 2016 workshop of the IP for Cities? project 

download it here

Project Team

A call to action

"knowledge for sustainable urban development" 

read the call to action here