Committed to Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements for All

In Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC


As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year, the world remains trapped in multiple emergencies, most notably climate change, nature loss, energy and food crisis, economic downturn, conflict and violence. It is becoming more arduous to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The latest report issued by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) reveals that “the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is far-reaching. At its current pace, Asia and the Pacific is now only expected to achieve the SDGs by 2065 – more than three and a half decades behind the original goalpost.”

On an urban planet, cities are always the main battleground to resolve the above-mentioned crises and achieve a sustainable and better future. Cities are where we can make the best use of its cutting-edge technology, vigorous economy, talent capability and good governance to accelerate green transition and innovation, and achieve the end goal of leaving no one behind and no life behind.

With the world facing the irreversible and accelerating climate change, moving fast towards carbon neutrality at the city level shall be one of the most urgent tasks to take on. Simply curbing carbon emissions is no longer enough to halt the impacts on our cities and communities. Climate change adaptation and mitigation are equally important. According to new analysis, nearly half of global cities do not have adaptation plans to protect people and critical infrastructure from climate crisis, especially in developing countries.

Today, the severe challenges of traditional security and non-traditional security are multiplying, which leaves us a daunting task to ensure urban security. There are still many hidden safety hazards in buildings and infrastructure systems. And they are becoming increasingly vulnerable with the increase of extreme weather events and natural disasters. In the coming decades, cities must make climate change adaptation and overall resilience building a major policy and smart investment to comprehensively improve systemic disaster prevention and mitigation capabilities, thereby building safe and future-proof cities and communities.  

The future of cities needs to be nature-positive, as cities need nature to thrive. Integrating nature into cities and living in harmony with nature not only improves people’s health and well-being, but helps tackle biodiversity loss and build climate resilience. Unarguably, improving the designing, building, financing and governance of nature-positive cities is one of the most cost-effective and efficient approaches to implement the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, to build a greener urban future for all and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

2022 is both a year of hope to end COVID-19 pandemic and a critical year of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the climate commitments globally. The 77th General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi calls on the international community to work together to develop solutions rooted in solidarity, sustainability and science to address the challenges facing mankind. It is against this important backdrop that the Seventeenth Annual Session of Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS 2022), one of the most important conferences worldwide focusing on sustainable cities and human settlements, will be taking place on December 15-16, 2022, with the theme being “Together for a shared safer and greener urban future: resilient, carbon-neutral and nature-positive cities”.

GFHS 2022 will be held in a virtual format. Senior officials from relevant national governments, the United Nations and other international organizations, green city mayors, business leaders, and well-known experts and scholars will be giving speeches and joining thematic discussions. Webcasting and simultaneous translation between Chinese and English will be available throughout the meeting to foster interactive dialogues with stakeholders across the globe. Under the new global context, GFHS 2022 will discuss how to harness the historical opportunities brought by carbon neutrality and digital economy, how to accelerate all-round green transformation and innovation and cope with multiple crises and challenges, and how to make dramatic breakthroughs in terms of enhancing urban resilience, inclusiveness, sustainability and productiveness, so as to make cities resilient, carbon-neutral and nature-positive and deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement, and the New Urban Agenda. GFHS 2022 is expected to produce the Declaration on Together for a Shared Safer and Greener Urban Future.