Transport, Urban Systems, and UN-HABITAT

July 9, 2009

The GEF invites you to attend at the next event of the GEF Brown Bag Lunch Series

Speaker: Chris Williams, UN HABITAT

Moderator: Osamu Mizuno, Sr. Environmental Specialist, GEF Climate Change and Chemicals

Thursday, July 9 
12:00 - 1:30 PM

GEF Secretariat Main Conference Room (6-151)
1776 G Street NW, Washington DC
Food and Drinks will be served

ABSTRACT:  Rapid urbanization has significant implications for global efforts to mitigate and adapt to the long-term affects of climate change. The United Nations determined last year that for the first time in history, slightly more than 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. The figure is projected to rise to 70% by the year 2050. Most of the growth in urban areas will take place in Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Urbanization has been a mixed blessing.


Many cities have succeeded in harnessing the potential of urban growth to trigger economic growth (cities make up roughly 60% of GDP). Few cities of the Global South, however, have managed to keep pace with the increased demand for adequate housing and basic services and to support cities that enable urban dwellers to realize their productive capacity. The United Nations estimates that 1.1 billion people currently live in informal settlements and slums. The figure is expected to rise to 2 billion by 2030 if present rates of increase continue.

Climate Change mitigation and adaptation in a rapidly urbanizing world will require a better understanding of urban systems. A way forward to developing a more coherent urban climate change strategy will be to unpack the different elements of urban systems and develop appropriate policy instruments, institutional arrangements and tools for each. Eight elements of urban systems are: energy efficiency in buildings, sustainable transport systems, urban planning geared toward anticipated rising sea levels, land administration and tenure security, water/sanitation and urban infrastructure, disaster risk reduction, and financing predicated on domestic capital mobilization.

UN-HABITAT is the agency of the United Nations responsible for housing and urban development. Based in Kenya, the organization maintains operations in 87 countries through regional offices in Brazil, Japan, Poland and Kenya, and Habitat Program Officers working in UNDP offices in 50 countries. In 2006, UN-HABITAT established the Cities and Climate Change Initiative (CCCI) anchored institutionally in its Global Division based at headquarters in Nairobi. UN-HABITAT was recently awarded a grant to execute a project on Energy Efficiency in Buildings in East Africa with UNEP (Paris Office) as an implementing partner. UNEP, UN-HABITAT and GEF are currently in discussions about a project on Sustainable Transport Systems.

If interested in attending at the event, please contact Ms. Osamu Mizuno,, Tel. 202-458-2789