WMU Hosts ICLEI Research Symposium

The World Maritime University (WMU) was pleased to host the Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) Research Symposium that was part of the ICLEI World Congress 2022. The 10 May symposium brought together leading urban sustainability researchers, innovators, and city leaders from across the globe to meet at WMU. The University was a partner in organizing the event and WMU led a panel discussion highlighting the Research Agenda and Priorities Plan of the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute (GOI). Several WMU faculty, researchers and staff contributed to the overall programme as speakers, moderators and rapporteurs. 

In her welcome remarks, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, WMU President, emphasized the University’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. She highlighted that 80 percent of pollution entering the ocean comes from land-based sources and that ICLEI can play an important role in supporting Goal 14, in particular, that is focused on the Ocean. “Increasing urbanization of coastal spaces is either replacing or placing more and more pressure on valuable coastal ecosystems. This is at a time when the myriad impacts of climate change are also compromising the ability of these ecosystems to autonomously adapt to a changing global climate. I believe that this is where ICLEI and this research symposium can play a valuable role in pointing towards ways to address the challenges facing coastal cities and communities and make them and the global ocean more sustainable,” she said.

The Symposium provided a stage to launch the updated Global Research and Action Agenda that was a primary outcome of the Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference. A “Research Market Place”, was also a key part of the event to explore partnerships and coalitions, as well as joint research project possibilities on the topics of digitalization, systems approach, equity and justice, history and cultural heritage, finance, and urban planning and governance.

Discussion topics for the Symposium centered around addressing knowledge gaps and priority topics identified in the updated Global Research and Action Agenda (GRAA) and City Research Agenda (CRA). Gaps were identified concerning potential roadmaps to address them, initiating a process to co-design a few exemplary sub-national government-led research and innovation projects to address the gaps and priority topics. In addition, the day featured a Knowledge Hall for researchers to showcase their work.


ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network of more than 2500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 125+ countries, ICLEI influences sustainability policy and drives local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development. ICLEI Members and the team of experts work together through peer exchange, partnerships and capacity building to create systemic change for urban sustainability.

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