Innovating Cities and Regions

Innovating cities and regions lead by example – they influence others through their practice – they innovate and shape sustainable cities through continuing collaboration and action.

City innovation has been the foundation of the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme since its establishment in 2003. From 2005 onwards, twelve pilot cities utilised the Melbourne Model of cross-sectoral collaboration whereby a multi-sector task force – comprising government, business, civil society and academia – worked to address and overcome a complex, intractable urban issue or set of issues through a sustained three-year, innovative project.

Based on the outcomes and lessons learnt from these original city projects, this model has deepened into multi partner project system for sustainable urban development which is now the platform for Leading level engagement with the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme.

Today, Innovating level cities and regions continue to drive the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme forward. They are cities who have demonstrated exceptional innovation and leadership in their participation and in their sustainable development practice.

The framework for Innovating level engagement is as follows:

1.Innovating cities and regions are champions, they are working to influence and inform others with their practice:

  • the results of their projects make an important contribution to the knowledge and practices of the broader network of cities in the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme
  • projects are mapped and evaluated with the aim of producing and distributing accessible reports and case studies to inform urban practice globally and locally
  • the city/region presents at –  and hosts – events, workshops and educational events such as webinars, summits and conferences
  • they work to engage and collaborate with other UN Global Compact participants and UN Global Compact – Cities Programme.

2. Innovating cities and regions are tackling complex urban challenges through Urban Innovation Initiatives. These multi-partner initiatives:

Process to become an Innovating City or Region

Engagement at the Innovating level is by invitation to the highest level executive and is for a three year period.

Cities then register their commitment, identifying:

  • dedicated resources (minimum of one full time staff member or the equivalent and a proportion of executive management time) to facilitate the development and delivery of the Urban Innovation.
  • the names and roles of representatives on the multi-sector task force group (government, business, civil society and academic organisations) – these representatives are named and recognised on the city’s webpage.
  • the name of the local university or research institution partner providing review, monitoring and evaluation services (these services can also be provided by the international secretariat or country representative on a fee for service basis).
  • the innovating project/s  – including objectives, strategy and partners

During the period of Innovation:

  • Progress is communicated throughout the life of projects, through project updates, news posts and with an annual report.
  • A final innovation report is published at the end of three years – this report is launched publicly and disseminated internationally.
  • The city hosts or attends events during this three year period to inform and educate other UN Global Compact Cities Programme participants and partners. These seminars can be held within the city, at other locations and events, and online.

Note: The city or region allocate budget to meet the cost of the aforementioned activities. Funding or support by private sector partners or external funding bodies will be recognised.

Service Fees

The service fee for the Innovating level is negotiated individually with cities or regions depending on the technical, research and communication support needs required from the International Secretariat.

A sliding scale fee is available for smaller municipalities and cities in low GDP countries and in regions facing economic hardship. For cities with financial challenges, sponsorship from other organisations is encouraged and we will support proposals to private sector partners and publicly recognise this support.