Congress Declaration

For Climate Action, Urban Finance 
Climate-responsive Planning for Equitable Places & Communities


1. We, the participants of the joint conference organized by the 5th Urban Economy Forum and the 59th ISOCARP World Planning Congress on the theme For Climate Change, Urban Finance - Climate-responsive Planning for Equitable Places and Communities, representing national, subnational and local governments, parliamentarians, ambassadors, civil society representatives, persons with disabilities, grassroots groups, indigenous peoples and local communities, private sector, foundations and philanthropies, international and regional organizations, academia, urban planners and professionals from other disciplines, and other relevant stakeholders - gathered in Toronto, Canada, from 10 to 13 October 2023, to discuss, debate and pro­pose solutions for urban finance and climate-responsive planning for equitable places and communities.

2. Led by a spirit of collaboration, active par­ticipation and inclusion, and counting with the participation of 630+ participants (including 460 registered in person) distributed across 101 sessions, including 7 plenaries, 4 keynote sessions, an Urban Thinkers Campus (UN-Hab­itat World Urban Campaign), and 30 pre-con­gress virtual sessions, we share common ideals and aspirations as outlined in the Con­gress Concept Note that make us to:

  • Acknowledge the need to find synergies and relevant resolutions for attracting climate finance that can effectively and efficiently contribute to national and international climate mitigation and adaptation objectives while addressing local needs and demands that can give value to the needs and aspira­tions of city residents.
  • Decide jointly to leverage multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral, multi-level collaboration and efficient urban and territorial planning for better urban governance, articulating inter­ventions from different actors in response to local urban development needs.
  • Invest wisely by adopting new ways of proactive planning and investments geared towards solving the challenges of the present for the transformation of cities and communi­ties into prosperous, healthy, socially just and inclusive places.
  • Interact to explore technologies not histori­cally linked to planning practices and urban finance by exploring innovative linkages and opportunities that use prospective data solutions and artificial intelligence.

We recognize and acknowledge:

3. UEF as a global actor engaged in establish­ing the links between policy making, planning, and economic development to accelerate the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with SDG 11 and sustainable urbanization as the focus.

4. ISOCARP is an international society of professional urban and regional planners from across the globe promoting international knowledge sharing and creation while combining a unique quadruple perspective of theory, policy, implementation and practice.

5. The UN Secretary-General' s warning that 'the era of global boiling has arrived' and the urgent need to address climate change and its impacts on communities worldwide.

6. That the impacts of climate change are felt disproportionally in urban areas due to high population density, economic and production activities, and concentration of key infrastruc­ture, particularly with the vulnerable and poor populations.

7. Cities have a pivotal role in creating wealthier, healthier, and safer lives for people and must do more to reverse the negative effects of climate change inter alia on transport and building emissions, energy consumption, food, security, housing, water, health, and biodiversity.

8. The diverse values and aspirations held by the residents of cities and towns for better quality of life in all its dimensions.

9. The need to act now, with bold actions and strategies, bringing together all actors and initiatives to accelerate the implementation of global agendas and its localization in strategic territories.

10. The investment in urban adaptation and mitigation climate finance is however far from what is needed, and existing financial mechanisms and products do not benefit cities, and when they do funds are not commensurate with needs. 

11. The importance of the Covid-19 pandemic that have had negative consequences in the health, social and economic conditions of the world's population, eroding SDG gains and aggravating inequalities that along with the devastating effects of climate change represent one of the most pressing issues of our time, which are exacerbated by armed conflicts and natural disasters.

We recommend:

12. To prioritize integrated territorial ap­proaches to be competitive and sustainable and to create the adequate capacities to get access to cIimate finance mechanisms to adopt long-term solutions for adaptability, mit­igation, and equity.

13. To create conditions to leverage innovative financing mechanisms to fund climate action projects, such as Green Bonds, public-private financiaI mechanisms, and carbon pricing schemes as well as funding for pioneer actors on neighbourhood level, that will provide the necessary capital for investments in sustaina­ble solutions.

14. To adopt integrated, green urban planning strategies that promote sustainable and eco­logical responses that address health, inequal­ities and the climate agenda at the regional, city, district and neighbourhood scale (instead of in specific districts and neighbourhoods), and promote a just transition.

15. To support investment in technology, data science, artificial intelligence, and digital plat­forms/ solutions which intentionally advance carbon neutrality, sustainability, equity, and re­siliency for cities and communities, ensuring success for future generations.

16. To power cities to be predominantly by re­newable energy sources, and as appropriate depending on location a mix of energy sourc­es which are low carbon, adopting sustainable transportation options and a circular economy.

17. To invest in and actively increase women leadership at all levels of decision-making and implementation of climate action, facilitate direct access to climate finance, apply gen­der-responsive planning and budgeting, es­sential for responding to the climate crisis

18. To use indigenous knowledge, resources and practices, taking into account holistic and inter-generational dimensions of health, well­being of people and the planet at individual, physical, mental, social and spiritual levels, to guarantee sustainability.

19. To develop and promote proactive plan­ning and landscape architecture interventions that foster climate adaptation, combat biodi­versity loss, and integrate nature-based solu­tions and cultural heritage into their practices.

20. To collaborate with allied professions and global organisations to enable the exploration of current practices, the discussion of emerg­ing strategies, and the identification of imme­diate actions, ultimately contributing to a more sustainable and harmonious coexistence be­tween nature and culture in our urban and nat­ural environments.

21. To consider nature as an ally in planning processes and promote nature based solu­tions in city and regional planning approach­es, with ecosystem services as key base for solutions, innovations and adaptive strategies that will mitigate the impact of the climate crisis in cities and regions.

22. To adopt the outcome document of the Conference and the summary of the proceed­ings, including the recommendations made, with regards to the four thematic areas or tracks as per the Concept Note.

23. To support the adoption of financial inno­vation and platforms like the Global Platform for Urban Finance launched during this conference to facilitate the access of existing financial mechanisms, connecting investors and institutions to boost financial capabilities to the needs of the cities and their priorities, particularly with regards to the climate agenda.

24. To promote collaborations and connec­tions between local action and international finance resources by all means available for impactful sustainable urban transformation, for example by adopting the Global Solutions Nexus, with the aim to solve local problems, maximize opportunities, and advance the comparative advantages of cities and regions.

25. To embrace the shift from traditional plan­ning towards efficient but responsible utilization of new technology, including artificial intelligence, for better understanding of urban dynamics, capturing complexities of urban processes and preparing for dynamic urban futures.

In adopting this declaration, we affirm our commitment to fostering a resilient, inclusive, and sustainable city that effectively addresses climate change, housing and well-being while respecting the diverse voices and values of our community. 

Reza Pourvaziry 

UEF, Chair

Pietro Elisei
ISOCARP, President

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