In order to ensure sustainable development, the cities along the New Silk Road also have to face major infrastructural and social challenges, as well as climate ecological challenges.

More than 1000 participants from more than 178 cities are expected in September in the Vienna International Center for UNIDO’s Bridge for Cities Conference as part of the Belt & Road Initiative.

Organised conjointly by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Finance Center for South-South Cooperation (FCSSC), “BRIDGE for Cities – Belt and Road Initiative: Developing Green Economies for Cities” (“BRIDGE for Cities” event) is a large-scale annual event, which aims to advance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda.

The event promotes the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development via the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), with which it shares many similarities, in all participating countries, to encourage municipal officials and development stakeholders to scale up their engagement in inclusive and sustainable urban-industrial development initiatives.

Based on previous events, BRIDGE for Cities 4.0 will explore the role of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in fostering urban innovation in cities along the Belt and Road and beyond.

The “4.0” in the title symbolises both the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the fourth edition of the event.

It will aim at providing a wide and multidisciplinary perspective on how cities can tap into advanced technologies and new industrial solutions to enhance the quality of life for their citizens by reducing cities’ carbon footprint, improving public services as well as creating new jobs and attracting skilled labour.

It encourages municipal officials and development stakeholders to scale up their engagement in inclusive and sustainable urban-industrial development initiatives, and establish a municipal platform through which cities can share their development successes and challenges, and ultimately scale up their capacities.

Through its many activities, including the high-level plenaries, the exhibition, city-to-city matchmaking sessions and cultural performances, the event provides ample opportunities for participants to forge partnerships and exchange best practices.

Since its inception in 2016, the “BRIDGE for Cities” event has been evolving continuously, introducing new features and attracting more participants every year.

The increasing attendance not only validates the significance of the “BRIDGE for Cities” events as platforms for facilitating partnerships among cities, but also highlights their importance in the advancement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Both the many outcomes achieved and the participation of case cities testify of the growing momentum the event has gained.