The 5th Urban Research Symposium on Cities and Climate Change—Responding to an Urgent Agenda, convened in Marseille in June 2009, aimed to underscore the convergence of climate change and urbanization, presenting one of the greatest challenges of our era. Responding to this challenge effectively and sustainably was a primary objective for governments, authorities, institutions, and other stakeholders engaged in urban development processes. The World Bank, the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport, and Housing, along with the French Development Agency, were deeply committed to co-organizing this symposium.

Cities are significant consumers of global energy and consequently major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, they also face varying degrees of vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, with marginalized populations often bearing the brunt of these risks. Thus, prioritizing adaptation and enhancing resilience is essential for every city, while also recognizing the critical role cities play in mitigating climate change.

The symposium shed light on climate change mitigation and adaptation in urban areas, reflecting a growing global interest among governments, the private sector, and academia to exchange experiences and best practices. With approximately 700 participants from over 70 countries engaging in discussions based on around 200 presented papers, the symposium significantly contributed to expanding knowledge and practices in the field of cities and climate change.

This success was made possible through the commitment and contributions of various partners and co-sponsors, as well as the active involvement of the broader community of urban researchers and practitioners. The publication of selected papers from the symposium serves to disseminate its outcomes further, providing insights into the questions raised and potential solutions discussed. The entire collection of symposium papers is available online as a resource for interested readers.

Moving forward, we anticipate that the knowledge gained and partnerships forged during the symposium will positively impact global efforts on cities and climate change. We remain optimistic about the benefits that will accrue from this collaborative exchange of ideas and practices in addressing the complex challenges posed by climate change in urban settings.

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