The year 2015 was a landmark with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. It was an indication of political will to end poverty and human suffering, whilst protecting the environment. These agendas and frameworks are inextricably linked, and one will not succeed without the other. The concept of resilience brings together climate action, sustainable development and disaster risk reduction. In this sense, mitigation is the way to keep climate change moderate rather than extreme, while adaptation is the strategy to cope with the impacts that cannot be avoided, and sustainable development is the ultimate goal involving appropriate risk management.
Considering the accumulation of disasters over the past months, including the devastating hurricanes in the Atlantic and floods in Asia, building resilience in cities and human settlements is indispensable and at the same time, cities and regions have the highest level of power to develop adequate strategic plans on building resilience. They are crucial actors to be able to deliver on the SDGs and the goals of the Paris Agreement, scale up ambition and deliver innovative solutions. Regional and local governments are in the position to transmit their populations’ needs to the national and international level and at the same time they translate policies and strategies agreed upon internationally and nationally, as well as implement them on the ground. In addition, they often have specific responsibilities in fields of climate action that directly influence emissions reduction and adaptation efforts and they are able to bridge with their citizens towards awareness raising and joint preparedness to disasters.
The resilience workstream of the Global Climate Action (GCA) on cities and human settlements in Marrakech at COP 22 highlighted a total of 32 national, regional and global initiatives and processes on resilient cities and regions, focusing on awareness, coalition building and multi-sectoral alliances. Prominent examples included the nrg4SD’s RegionsAdapt, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, and the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance. The outcome of the workstream stressed that in order to support the development and implementation of the NDCs, the potential and power of integrated urban and territorial development and disaster risk reduction for climate adaptation should be mobilised. Structured and regular dialogue and engagement of the local and regional governments and urban resilience community with national and international partners need to be ensured and an increased flow of global climate finance and other investments and a Global Action Framework for Localising Climate Finance can enhance for a localised implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Building on the proposed actions from the resilience workstream of the GCA on cities and human settlements at COP 22, this roundtable represents the latest in a series of regular dialogue and engagement of the urban and regional resilience and adaptation community in key processes (e.g. UNFCCC TEM-A, Global Platform on DRR, Resilient Cities 2017) related to mobilising the potential and power of integrated sustainable development and disaster risk reduction for climate adaptation. The discussion will focus on the linkages between the implementation of the Paris Agreement and SDG 11.b which is up for review at the High Level Political Forum in July 2018. SDG 11.b states
By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies towards inclusion, resources efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels.
The roundtable will provide fruitful discussion and thought dialogue on solutions and challenges for regions and cities in the implementation of SDG 11.b. Representatives from national, regional and local governments, as well as from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN will discuss how cities and regions can become more resilient facing the increasing impacts of climate change. Possible solutions on how effective disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation programming can be facilitated in their territories will be presented, as well as interlinkages across different sectors, like energy, water, food, disaster risk reduction or adaptation and mitigation.
- Ms Maria Cecilia Alvarado, Vice-Prefect Azuay, Ecuador and Co-Chair nrg4SD;
- Ms Elena Moreno, Deputy Minister for the Environment, Basque Country, Spain;
- Mr Patricio Cisneros Granizo, Prefect Santa Elena, Ecuador Ms Odette Preciado Benítez, Forest Director of Production and Productivity, Jalisco, Mexico
- Mr Musa Hadid, Mayor of Ramallah Municipality, Palestine (tbc)
- Ms Fatimetou Abdel Malick, Mayor of Tevragh Zeina, Mauritania (Disaster Risk Reduction and Sendai Framework champion) (tbc)
- Mr Frank Klipsch, Mayor, City of Davenport, IA, USA, Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative (tbc)
- Mr Manuel Antonio De Araujo, Mayor of Quelimane Municipality, Mozambique (tbc)
- E. Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Government of Dubai
Mr Andrew Steer, President and CEO, WRI (tbc)