Innovation and Technology Can Help Asia's Cities Cope with Crises and Disasters. Here's How.

Wednesday, 11 November, 2020

By UNDP in Asia and the Pacific

Asia is experiencing rapid urbanization, with over 2 billion people now living in cities.

Rising population density is putting enormous pressure on housing, utilities and public transport in the region’s major cities, affecting the quality of life and exposing citizens to risk of disease and disaster.

According to the United Nations, over half a billion people in Asia and the Pacific live in slums That’s over half of the world’s total slum population

The WHO estimates that less than 8% of people living in Asia breathe ‘clean air’.

Meanwhile, Asia’s urban residents, particularly the urban poor, are vulnerable to multiple hazards, from disease outbreaks to natural disasters linked to climate change.

With the Government of Japan, we’re finding ways to bring city authorities, citizens and companies together to address some of these challenges.

One of our experiments has been in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad which faces crippling water shortages.

Islamabad requires 150-million gallons of water per day, but only one third of that is currently available in the water supply.

With our support, the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad and the hospitality industry are adopting an innovation to prevent water waste.

Water optimizers installed in a major hotel is already saving 28 million litres of water from being wasted each year.

Another experiment brought local residents, representatives, NGOs and academics to the table to identify problems and co-create solutions in Indonesia’s Banda Aceh.

The 2004 tsunami killed over 130,000 people in Aceh province.

Based on the ideas that emerged, UNDP and Fujitsu are enabling citizens to have more reliable information on extreme weather events.

SAP Japan have developed a disaster-alert mobile app for disaster evacuation and navigation in the event of a disaster.

Discover more about our Matching Platform connecting cities to solutions.