Meetings and conferences

The 15th Annual Session of Global Forum on Human Settlements

Organizer(s) International Telecommunication Union International Union for the Conservation of Nature World Meteorological Organization (WMO) International Science Council (ISC) Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS)


COVID-19 that is continuing to cause human tragedy, social upheaval and economic turmoil across the globe can be considered as a once-in-a-century ecological security crisis that creates an urgent need for an in-depth reflection on the relationship between human beings and nature. But striking a balance between the two will not be possible unless the root causes - rampant destruction of nature, increasing resources depletion, sprawling cities and human settlements, unabated greenhouse gases emissions, unsustainable consumption and production patterns – are rapidly halted.

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres emphasized in the latest UN Policy Brief: COVID-19 in an Urban World:Now is the time to rethink and reshape the urban world. Now is the moment to adapt to the reality of this and future pandemics. Now is our chance to recover better, by building more resilient, inclusive and sustainable cities.”

Against this background, the 15th Annual Session of Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS 2020) will be organized in a virtual format as an observance of Urban October on October 15-16, 2020, with the theme being Post-Pandemic Recovery and Transformation: Resilient Cities, Healthy Planet. The Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements Awards Ceremony 2020 will fall on the afternoon of October 16 (Central European Time).

Dignitaries from numerous countries, senior officials from UN and concerned international organizations, mayors of leading cities, leaders of multinational enterprises, and well-known experts and scholars will join the online thematic discussions. In the meantime, webcasting will be available to foster interactive dialogues with all stakeholders across the globe, and is expected to reach out to a much larger number of interested persons.


  1. Draw lessons and accelerate transformation in recovery: the forum will call on the global community to draw lessons from the current pandemic crisis to make the much-needed transformation which is essential to eradicate poverty, protect the planet, and ensure health and prosperity for all.
  2. Promote biodiversity conservation: the forum aims to provide a valuable global platform for high-level dialogue and sharing of innovative approaches, strategies, technologies and successful local experiences, to promote the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity, advocate nature-based solutions and resource recovery, facilitate harmony between built environment and nature, and guarantee ecological security.
  3. Strengthen urban safety and resilience: the forum seeks to offer practical solutions to how cities should be planned, designed, financed, developed, governed and managed so as to support a stronger and greener recovery, building up cities' adaptive capacity against all shocks and stresses, and enhance safety, resilience and sustainability in diverse urban systems.
  4. Foster partnership towards SDGs: the forum is designed to strengthen capacity building, cultivate new type partnerships, foster urban innovation, accelerate effective actions, and to drive progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and a better future.

Scope and Key Issues

  1. Preserving and sustainably managing biodiversity and guaranteeing ecological security
  2. Integrated climate, hydrology and environment services for sustainable cities
  3. Building urban resilience to climate change
  4. Financing for resilient urban infrastructure
  5. Smart, sustainable cities and communities
  6. International Green Model City Initiative: inclusive, resilient, and smart cities
  7. Strategies for fighting epidemics: adaptable buildings and resilient cities
  8. Post-crisis healthy and anti-fragile cities
  9. Blue economy and healthy ocean
  10. Blockchain technology and smart urban governance
  11. Energy-efficient and sustainable housing
  12. Pursuing a resilient, inclusive, gender-equal and green economic recovery


Document links last validated on: 16 July 2021

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