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Climate-Smart Urban Planning Legislation

Urban areas account for two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, making them major contributors to climate change.

Benjamin Ojoleck


date June 28, 2022 | 10:00 - 13:00
Multifunction Hall Room 1
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), Institute of Advanced Legal Studies – University of London, Commonwealth Secretariat and UNFCCC
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Urban areas account for two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, making them major contributors to climate change. They also stand to be severely affected by the negative impacts associated with climate change. Cities are already suffering from extreme weather events, flooding, subsidence, storms, heat waves, water scarcity, droughts, and sea-level rise among other climate change effects.

Considering that 55 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, projected to increase to 68 per cent by 2050, cities represent the main battleground for climate change action. Of the 2.5 billion people expected to live in cities in the next three decades, 90 per cent of them will be in Asia and Africa.

This training promotes strengthened environmental reviews in urban development processes which will support the creation of policy frameworks to protect and safeguard the world's natural heritage, improve air quality and municipal waste management, mitigate, and adapt to climate change and improve resilience to disasters (SDG goal 11) and develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels (SDG goal 16).

This training also supports the New Urban Agenda and SDG 13 which call for integration of climate change in policy formulation. This offers an entry point for city involvement in climate change action, including through the establishment of supportive legal frameworks.

Through this training event, participants will learn about the Law and Climate Change Toolkit and its Urban Planning module which includes consideration of climate change law at all levels of urban planning (national, subnational and municipal). Through its assessment process, the module allows for broad examination of a wide array of urban planning legislation that considers opportunities for stakeholder participation.

This training is key for national and local government officials, policy and climate change experts, lawyers, academia, community leaders and civil society organizations.


The key objective of the training is to raise awareness and offer skills to participants in relation to robust and effective policy and legislative measures to address the effects of climate change in urban settings and reduce the GHG emissions of urban dwellers.

The training will explore the aims and content of climate-smart urban planning legislation drawing on global best practice. The training will include discussion on relevant tools and best practices related to the topic, with particular attention paid to the Law and Climate Change Toolkit, a global resource to assist countries in building the necessary legal frameworks for effective domestic implementation of the Paris Agreement and their Nationally Determined Contributions.

It was developed through a core partnership between UNFCCC, UNEP, and the Commonwealth Secretariat, with substantial development contributions from partners including UN-Habitat and FAO. Key features of the Toolkit include functionalities to search existing climate change-related legislation and undertake an assessment of a selected country’s legal framework to identify and address legislative gaps.

It has several thematic modules, including the Urban Planning module, which was developed in recognition of the close nexus between urbanization and climate change. 

Session speakers

Mr. Matthew Moorhead
Legal Adviser
Commonwealth Secretariat
Ms. Anne Amin
Legal Specialist
Mr. Gianluca Crispi
Legal Officer
Dr. Maria Mousmouti
Associate Research Fellow
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies - School of Advanced Study - University of London
Lady Justice Zione Ntaba
High Court of Malawi
Mr. Benjamin Ojoleck
Associate Legal Officer
United Nations Environment Programme
Mr. Javier Torner
Programme Management Officer – Urban Development Specialist
Ms. Shipra Narang Suri
Chief, Urban Practices Branch
Ms. Felicity Owoses
Legislative Drafter
Ministry of Justice