Managing Urban Risks and Building Resilience: An old challenge has gained new urgency

Friday, 6 August, 2021

With rapidly increasing urbanization, the global development and risk landscape is witnessing a stark shift. Over half of humanity is already living in urban areas, and this proportion is projected to increase to nearly 66% by 2050 [UN-DESA] since urban centers are fast emerging as catalysts for socio-economic development and resilience.

The emergence of cities as engines of socio-economic development has resulted in the increasing manifestation of multiple hues of risks (disasters, climate change, political and economic shocks, crises and fragile contexts, etc.) in urban areas with magnifying impacts due to the concentration of people, economic activities, socio-economic development assets, critical infrastructure, and other developmental sectors. The convergence of multi-dimensional risks and development deficits in cities is redefining the traditional notions of risk management and resilience-building while underscoring the need for sustainable urban development to realize the SDGs.

Considering that the vulnerability of urban areas goes beyond disaster and climatic risks and that the cities are caught, as IPCC assessment succinctly says, “in a perfect storm of population growth, escalating adaptation needs and substantial development deficits created by a shortage of human and financial resources, increasing levels of informality, poor governance, environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, poverty and growing inequality” [IPCC, 2014], the need for fostering an integrated approach towards urban risk management and resilience-building is more pressing today than ever.

The event brings together experts and practitioners, national and city stakeholders, civil society, and private sector as well as development partners and donors to articulate existing unmet demands and emerging priorities for urban risk management and resilience-building and foster key partnerships to advance the implementation of the Urban Risk Management and Resilience Strategy through contextual programmatic action.

The event seeks to deliberate upon the following viz.

  1. Diagnosing and understanding urban resilience,
  2. Strengthening urban governance to foster risk-informed urban planning and development,
  3. Creating avenues for the  effective engagement of city stakeholders, including CSOs and the private sector,
  4. Engaging development partners and donors for mobilizing resources for ambitious urban resilience action to reduce increasing developmental impacts of multi-dimensional and systemic risks,
  5. Identifying actionable policy and programmatic interventions to meet existing (unmet) demands and emerging priorities, and
  6. Fostering partnership-based implementation of contextual urban risk management and resilience-building programs.