Mr. Pablo Gándara, International Urban Cooperation Regional Action Asia
Ms. Felicity Tan, The Rockefeller Foundation
Urban resilience involves the capacity of a city to respond to shocks and stresses that can be physical, social, or economic in nature. Stresses are slow onset impacts – e.g. drought, sea level rise, ageing, land use changes, youth unemployment – and shocks are abrupt – e.g. flooding, power cuts, food shortages, economic crisis and disruptions. Fast growing cities in the Asia-Pacific are affected by these challenges with city leaders already innovating and deploying new ideas and implementing measures that will provide tangible benefits for their citizens. Partnerships across all stakeholder groups is key and cities must make efforts to ensure resilience efforts are inclusive and recognize the opportunities and innovations from “bottom-up” processes and the dynamism of the informal sector.
Strengthening urban resilience is crucial to localize the implementation of the Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework, and the New Urban Agenda. While the Paris Agreement is explicit in calling for the involvement of all levels of government in climate change adaptation and mitigation, most adaptation plans at the national level do not focus on sub-national involvement, and urban resilience is often discussed but not practiced. The New Urban Agenda is the main guiding document for urban policy makers while developing innovative solutions to increase their cities’ resilience. Furthermore, governments and development agencies across the region are finding new ways to partner with communities and businesses, scaling up effective solutions, formulating new forms of financing, and we must find ways to champion these efforts and nurture innovation and learning.
In this session, leaders from Asia-Pacific and Europe will debate about urban resilience challenges and future pathways.