The World Urban Forum was established in 2001 by the United Nations to address one of the most pressing issues facing the world today: Rapid urbanization and its impacts on communities, cities, economies, climate change and policies. The Forum is a global event attended by the top researchers, policy makers and non-governmental organizations around the world addressing this issue. The 2020 forum took place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in February 2020. Over 24,000 participants representatives from 164 countries participated.
As one of the leading research institutions in Central Asia, Narxoz University was chosen to head an event addressing global challenges connected to urbanization. The Sustainable Kazakhstan Research Institute in partnership with the School for Society, Technology and Environment lead the event together with the United Nations Environmental Program, United Nations Habitats, and Helsinki University entitled 'Addressing air quality in emerging economies and innovative technology potentials. The event highlighted air quality challenges from selected emerging economies in Asia and Africa, including the perspective of Almaty, Kazakhstan. The University of Helsinki presented their frontier technologies to detect/measure coarse scale and fine scale air pollution and its use for policy making in urban cities like Almaty.