Activities with Partners




Post COVID-19 Recovery Action Plan for Informal Settlements: Balkans and Central Asia Workshops

Online, December 9-10, 2020


In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 global crisis, UNECE has started the Post COVID-19 Recovery Action Plan for Informal Settlements in the UNECE Region project. The Plan aims at providing cities with robust and efficient action measures to enhance the integration of informal settlements in the urban fabric while recovering from the ongoing pandemic crisis. The Plan is underpinned by an assessment effort on the informal settlements of four pilot countries: Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Kyrgyzstan. 

GEPP, The Geneva UN Charter Center of Excellence of the University of Geneva, and UNECE co-organized two Local Stakeholder Workshops (Balkan Region Dec. 9; Central Asia Dec. 10) to facilitate the discussion of urban post Covid-19 Recovery measures, targeted in particular towards informal settlements, focusing in particular the localization process of such measures.  

The event brought together local policymakers, international experts, IOs and academia in fruitful dialogue.  

The event was divided in country-focused sessions. In each session, data from the assessment report of the country will be illustrated, followed by indications on the COVID-19 recovery measures by the lead authors of the Plan as specifically referred to the local context. Finally, local stakeholders discussed with both the assessment team and the experts from their perspective.  


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Post Covid-19 Recovery Action Plan For Informal Settlements: Validation Workshop

Online, December 2, 2020 


In the context of the drafting of the Post Covid-19 Recovery Plan for Informal Settlement, designed to respond effectively the COVID-19 challenges and to increase urban resilience against future pandemic threats, UNECE, GEPP and The Geneva UN Charter Center of Excellence of the University of Geneva, organized the Action Plan Validation Workshop. The objective of the validation workshop is to present and review the main policy areas of the Action Plan, share the underpinning data collected in four pilot cities, and collect feedback from leading experts, other UN agencies, as well as local, national and regional representatives.

The validation workshop was articulated in three main areas: “Space and Infrastructure” (provisions related to buildings and land planning, physical infrastructure and utilities), “Access to Goods and Services” (provisions related to access to of food, medicine and key services);and “Inclusivity, Engagement and Justice” (community involvement, land rights, and impact of containment measures on vulnerable groups). 

Each of these areas was introduced by a presentation by the lead authors of the Plan, followed by feedback provided by a panel of experts in each area. Experts come from UN Nexus Teams, Academia and Civil Society.  Local, national and regional representatives contributed their input and feedback during the Discussion session of each panel.




Improving Urban Resilience in Informal Settlements

Online, 25 November 2020

In the context of UNECE’s Post COVID-19 Recovery Action Plan for Informal Settlements in the UNECE Region, UNECE, GEPP and the The Geneva UN Charter Center of Excellence of the University of Geneva, organized the thematic workshop “Improving Urban Resilience in Informal Settlements.” The workshop brought together lead experts (from UN, academia and civil society) and policymakers to discuss best practices, policies and monitoring frameworks.

The workshop focused on how to improve the inclusion of informal settlements into the urban fabric through better infrastructure and spatial planning, improvement of systems integration and efficient financing and engagement of public and private actors.

Thematic foci were Nature-Based solutions for Informal Settlements and PPP financing solutions to raise capital for interventions. 



Evidence-Based Policies for Sustainable Housing & Urban Development

Belgium, Ukraine, Albania, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia - 2018-2019

GEPP is a co-organizer, along with The Geneva UN Charter Center of Excellence of the University of Geneva,, UNECE, UN-Habitat, UNDP and local organisers, of a series of international training workshops aimed at policymakers of the countries of Ukraine, Albania, Kyrgyzstan and Georgia, after an introductory session in Bruxelles. 
The workshops focused on the importance of data for sustainable housing and urban planning, outlining good practices, future scenarios and practical solutions to improve evidence-based policymaking for more sustainable cities and communities. The workshops convened high-level decision makers at both state and local levels, thus providing institutions with a forum to meet, discuss and learn from each other about data policies in a critical area for sustainability. 
Each seminar leveraged the expertise of local and international experts and International Organisations. 
Dates of the Workshops:
Bruxelles: December 13, 2018
Kiev, Ukraine: January 30, 2019
Tirana, Albania: May 2-4, 2019
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: June 15-18, 2019
Tbilisi, Georgia: June 24-26, 2019





New Infrastructure to Evaluate Infrastructure - Metropolis


Towards Establishing the Business Case for Sustainable Infrastructures

Harvard University, 17-18 April 2019 

GEPP participated in the Harvard University Graduate School of Design's Zofnass Program workshop on "Towards Establishing the Business Case for Sustainable Infrastructure" with discussions of Nature-based urban planning solutions (A. Hedjazi) and the role of data in SDG Localization (M. Tarantino).

The workshop originated from the Zofnass Program at Harvard's ongoing research on the Business Case for Planning Sustainable infrastructure indicating that having sustainability as a strategy does pays off. Sustainability is providing savings, avoided costs, and added value in different types of infrastructure projects. Thus the workshop was designed to discuss insights through case studies that use sustainability as part of the project strategy, and brought together representatives from academia, the private sector and public administration. 







United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) | South-South Galaxy 


Sustainability Education for Future Urban Leadership

Palais de Nations, 8th April 2019, 13:15 - 14:30 

At the 2019 Day of Cities, organised by UNECE, GEPP designed a special event called “Sustainability Education for Future Urban Leadership”. Experts from University of Geneva (Alexandre Hedjazi and Matteo Tarantino), Harvard University (Spiro Pollalis), UN-Habitat (Tatiana Khabarova) and two different cities (Glasgow, Scotland with Chief Urbanist Brian Evans, and Tbilisi, Georgia with deputy mayor Maia Bitadze) came together to discuss the challenge for higher education to train future leaders of sustainability transitions. Students from UNIGE also took part in the conversation. The lively discussion stemmed several cooperation efforts. 





Environmental Leadership Programme for the Green Development of the Belt and Road Initiative

Turin, ITC Training Center, 9th October 2018, 15:00 - 18:00

GEPP participated in the UN-Environment / ICTILO Environmental Leadership Programme with a session on "Infrastructure system integration and sustainability Acceleration". 

The session, targeted at Central Asian  public officials, detailed the concepts and methods of infrasystem integration as possible responses to pressing environmental concerns. Public officials from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic participated in the event. 

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International Symposium on Sustainable Infrastructure

Fuzhou, Fujian, China - Fujian Normal University, 22-23 October 2018, 15:00 - 18:00

Infrastructure is central to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  It is included in SDG 9, but underlies all of the other socio-economic SDGs. At the same time, the choices that we make about the types of infrastructure we build, where we build it, and how it is designed, constructed, and operated will affect the environmental SDGs including climate actions. 

The Symposium, co-organized by GEPP with UN-Environment and Fujian Normal University, brought together experts from international organizations, academic and research institutions, and the private sector to validate the centrality of infrastructure in delivering the SDGs, raise the visibility of this link, and take forward the idea of an integrated approach to infrastructure planning and development. Participants discussed the meaning of - and the need for - an integrated approach, examined the reality of infrastructure governance in different national contexts, shared good practices and knowledge, and identified a number of priorities for promoting such an approach by countries.  




Infrastructure and Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities from the ground 

Palais de Nations, 2nd October 2018, 15:00 - 18:00

GEPP Co-organized with UNECE Housing and Land Management Unit the roundtable "Infrastructure and Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities from the Ground". 

Over two years after the adoption of the Paris Agreement, a variety of Sustainable Development Goals such as SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities still lack an effective methodology to be effectively assessed/implemented. The elaboration of innovative methodologies and set of effective indicators related to key areas of urban sustainability thus continues to be a top priority for national, regional and local governments alike.

The roundtable provided a platform for experts to share ongoing research and best practices to effectively evaluate some of 21st century’s key urban challenges and measure progress.   


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