UN-Habitat and Sweden launch competition to accelerate the shift to climate-neutral cities
New city-focused climate innovation competition invites innovative organisations to submit their best approaches, solutions, and technologies to reduce carbon emissions while providing positive impacts on the quality of life in four cities — Bogota, Colombia; Bristol, United Kingdom; Curitiba, Brazil, and Makindye Ssabagabo, Uganda.
3 Nov 2021

With over 190 countries present at Expo 2020 Dubai, the country pavilions provide an opportunity to reach out to innovators globally. Today, the Swedish pavilion announced The Climate Smart Cities Challenge together with UN-Habitat. Using an open innovation competition process, teams of innovators are selected to collaborate with cities and investors to demonstrate climate-smart approaches that will inform future investments in the cities. The climate challenges of the four selected cities range from green and affordable homes, net-zero-carbon neighbourhoods, to urban freight management. Up to 20 finalists per city will be invited to form teams to demonstrate how to solve the cities’ climate challenges.

— Cities are at the heart of the climate change problem. But cities are also the key to the solution. Cities need to take climate change seriously and significantly reduce their carbon emissions while improving their resilience and adaptability to climate-related disasters and negative effects. Now is the time for action,” says Maimunah Mohd Sharif, executive director, UN-Habitat.

— We welcome financial institutions to partner with us in finding ways of financing the transition in the four cities and beyond, Tommy Mikelsen, director at Swedish Export Credit Corporation (SEK), comments.

Maimunah Mohd Sharif

The aim is that the outcome of the competition will have a significant impact on the four cities’ responses to climate change. How to reach there is by significantly strengthening their capacity to engage in diverse partnerships, enabling communities, and innovators to play a key and often new role collaborating with government and stakeholders in designing people-driven solutions and reinventing the way that cities innovate. In order to attract innovators from around the world to the competition, each country pavilion at the Expo has been provided with a ”birdhouse”, where innovators can leave their contact details.

Deadline for submissions is 5 January 2022. Up to 80 finalists will be presented on 20 January, followed by a process to form winning teams that will plan for system demonstration.

The Swedish pavilion at Expo 2020, also in the top picture