Dignitaries from across the globe had planned to gather in Collingwood this week for the United Nations summit to discuss sustainability and small towns.

However, because of the pandemic, the international summit will be held virtually today and tomorrow.

Collingwood Mayor Brian Saunderson said being able to host the summit is a big step for the town.

"First, it puts us in the centre and forefront of an international discussion about best practices in municipal government, and then we are looking at a pilot project to champion some aspect of the sustainability agenda. That could be affordable or attainable housing. It could be sustainable economic development. It could be racial rights and gender equality," Saunderson explained.

Collingwood is expected to host the summit annually. At the end of the conference, participants will set goals for the next year, which they will revisit when they meet again.