Committed to Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements for All

In Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC



The 19th Annual Session of Global Forum on Human Settlements
New Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements

Awards Ceremony (GFHS 2024)

Theme: Invigorate Innovation and Local Leadership 

for a Sustainable Urban Future 

24-25 October 2024   New York City

The world is getting increasingly politically divided, socially polarized, economically insecure, culturally estranged and environmentally unsustainable, which extends a resounding call for collaborative leadership, groundbreaking innovation and collective action towards an inclusive, resilient and sustainable future for all.

On an urban planet, cities are a primary arena to deliver sustainable development and cope with climate change impacts. Cities are where nature-positive pathways can create trillions of business opportunities by 2030. Urban areas are the places in which the greatest progress can be made to resolve the above-mentioned issues of our ill-system, to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and accelerate the transition sustainability for people, for the planet and for prosperity by 2030.

Specifically, in the course of addressing the multiple crises and challenges as well as meeting the SDGs and the climate goal, innovation plays a fundamental role. It has shaped and will continue to reshape our cities and human settlements. Major leading technologies represented by digital technologies, most notably AI and Internet, as well as new resource and energy technologies are and will greatly spur innovation in various sectors and transform the world. Integrated innovation which not only focuses on technologies, but also on governance, business models, processes, and financing, among others, is becoming essential. Meanwhile, innovation starts generally locally and can fuel greater efficiency, lower costs, and better quality of life for all, through replication, acceleration and scaling.

Local leaders are an untapped power to be unleashed. UN Secretary-General António Guterres stressed that: “the role of local power can even be more important than national power in multiple ways. As we consider ways to make multilateral institutions more effective, and to meet the current and future challenges facing people and planet, we need the perspectives and engagement of local and regional authorities. SDGs can only be reached if they are reached at each of the different municipalities.” 

Forward-looking local governments and city leaders are uniquely positioned to harness the power of integrated innovation to improve governance and enhance livability, resilience, prosperity and sustainability of cities and communities through a) accelerating decoupling and decarbonization in a coordinated manner, b) creating people-oriented and pedestrian friendly public spaces, c) experimenting zero-carbon and zero-waste strategy and technology in the major sectors, and d) scaling up nature-positive strategies and solutions. 

In the meantime, Summit of the Future 2024 will be held by the United Nations on 22-23 September in New York to forge a new global consensus on what our future should look like, and what we can do today to secure a better tomorrow. In this important context, the 19th Annual Session of Global Forum on Human Settlements--one of the most important conferences worldwide focusing on sustainable cities and human settlements--will take place in New York City on October 24-25, 2024, while celebrating the World Cities Day 2024. The theme for this session is “Invigorate Innovation and Local Leadership for a Sustainable Urban Future”.


I. Time: 24-25 October 2024

II. Place: New York City

III. Theme: Invigorate innovation and local leadership for a sustainable urban future

IV. Modality: Opening ceremony, keynote speech, high-level dialogue, parallel forums, conclusion and recommendation, New SCAHSA awards ceremony, Global Youth Green Ambassador Forum, closed-door consultation, business leaders and technology pioneers salon, study tour, etc.

V. Institutional Framework (tbc)


Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS)

Permanent Mission of the Republic of The Gambia to the United Nations

World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD)

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

In Collaboration With

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

New York Mayor’s office   Global Human Settlements Foundation (GHSF)

European Committee of the Regions (CoR), European Union

World Wildlife Fund (WWF)  Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)  

International Ocean Institute (IOI) World Ocean Council (WOC)  

Global Buildings Performance Network (GBPN)

World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO)

Washington Biomedical Research Institute of America (WBRIA)

Dual-Carbon Industry Cooperation Branch, China Energy Research Society (DCICB, CERS)

Professional organizations in the U.S.

(This list of organizations is in no particular order)

VI. Objectives
1. To provide a valuable global platform for high-level dialogues with all stakeholders, facilitating productive conversation, producing synergies, fostering innovation, building consensus and maximize partnership value.  
2. To offer policy guide and practical solutions to enhance safety, resilience, inclusiveness, smartness and sustainability in diverse urban systems.
3. To invigorate innovation and local leadership by recognizing and rewarding outstanding examples, and to share successful experiences, promote advanced technologies, and drive breakthrough progress. 

4. To promote funding and financing for sustainable development actions, stepping up sustainable development efforts at the local level and supporting the delivery of global agendas.

VII. Key topics to be addressed (included but not limited to)

1. Unlock the power of local leadership in accelerating the SDGs

2. Smart city in the AI era

3. Innovation on sustainable buildings and construction

4. Innovative technologies and practices for just, smart and green urban transformation

5. Unleash innovation to accelerate a clean and just energy transition

6. Foster innovation and integration in urban planning and design

7. Advance early warning systems and climate services for all

8. Accelerate the circular economy towards zero-waste cities

9. Effective nature-based solutions for resilient cities and communities

10. Sustainable oceans and blue economy to combat rising sea levels

11.       Implementation of New Urban Agenda and its potentials for women and children

12. Human settlements and modern health technology

13. Empower future leaders and achieve a sustainable future

VIII. New Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements Awards Ceremony 2024 (New SCAHSA 2024) 
Drawing on the successful experience of the Nobel Prize with 120+ years of history and backed by Global Human Settlements Foundation, the SCAHSA in 2024 has been fully upgraded to the "New Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements Awards" (abbreviated as the "New SCAHSA"), aiming to become a global top prize for sustainable development. The "New SCAHSA" will recognize and reward outstanding innovation and local leadership in making sustainable cities and human settlements, including climate actions and sustainability practices, and promote their innovative strategies, technologies and approaches as well as successful experience. Winners will be awarded not only certificates and medals but also prize money at the Awards Ceremony, which will inspire their ambition and creativity and improve their work and living conditions, thus enabling them to achieve better performance and make greater contribution to sustainable development.

There are 9 categories under New Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements Awards, including Global Green Smart City, Global Human Settlements Award on Planning and Design, Global Green Smart Model Building/Community, Global Model of Sustainable Tourism, Global Human Settlements Model of Village, Global Model of Ecological Restoration and Protection, Global Innovation Award for Sustainable Development, Global Leadership Award for Sustainable Development, and Global Special Award for Sustainable Development. The application and assessment procedure will be announced separately.

IX. Invited Delegates 

GFHS 2024 will bring together 400+ delegates, including national government officials, ambassadors, United Nations officers, international organization heads and senior representatives, mayors, business leaders, well-known experts and scholars, practitioners in relevant industries, representatives of non-government organizations, outstanding women and youth, among others.

X. Contact

Ms. Christine Lian He:

Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS):