University of Pennsylvania Launches Initiative to Help Finance Climate-Resilient Cities

Madrid, Spain — How can cities plan and pay for infrastructure threatened by climate change? Today at the UN’s COP25 climate conference, former mayors, policy makers, and leading scholars from around the world addressed this pressing challenge in a panel discussion. They also launched the University of Pennsylvania’s new City Climate-Resilient Infrastructure Financing Initiative (C2IFI), an effort to help connect cities to new financing mechanisms.

“Cities are where the battle against climate change will be defined, and thus will require a vast infrastructure transformation to make them climate-resilient,” said Mauricio Rodas, former mayor of Quito, Ecuador, current visiting fellow at University of Pennsylvania’s global affairs hub Perry World House and Penn Institute for Urban Research, and a key researcher in the new initiative. “We must channel greater resources to them and redesign the international financial architecture.”

The panel conversation was built around the outcomes of the UNFCCC’s prior Focal Point Forums on human settlements and adaptation, as well as the Report of the Standing Committee on Finance’s 2019 Forum on “Climate Finance and Sustainable Cities.”

“Here at COP25, it’s time for action,” said Koko Warner of UNFCCC and a Perry World House visiting fellow. “Cities play a vital role in building climate resilience for all. This dialogue helps close knowledge gaps to pave the way for climate-resilient infrastructure financing and achieve a more sustainable future.

C2IFI is a joint effort by the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House and Institute for Urban Research. For more information on C2IFI, please visit:

Today’s panel, a UNFCCC Nairobi Work Programme (NWP) dialogue, was organized by C2IFI in collaboration with Penn’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy.

Speakers included:

  • Mauricio Rodas, former Mayor of Quito, Ecuador
  • Ashok-Alexander Sridharan, Mayor of Bonn, Germany
  • Amanda Eichel, Executive Director of Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy
  • Maryke van Staden, Manager of Low Carbon Cities Program; Director of ICLEI’s carbonn Center
  • Stephen Hammer, Advisor to the World Bank Climate Change Group
  • Koko Warner, Manager of Impacts, Vulnerability, and Risks at UNFCCC
  • Thomas Lewis, President of Federal Programs and Logistics for WSP USA
  • Jocelyn Perry, Global Shifts Program Manager at Perry World House (Penn)
  • Mark Alan Hughes, Faculty Director of Kleinman Center for Energy Policy (Penn)

For more information, please contact:

Amy Montgomery
Jocelyn Perry
Cory Colijn