City2City
Blended Finance Solutions and Multi-stakeholder Partnerships to Scale Water Resilience
The session will spotlight real-life examples of projects and outcomes achieved through partnerships between financing initiatives - elevating water resilience as a policy and investment priority in subnational, national, regional, and international development and climate agendas for increased and scaled action.

Blended Finance Solutions and Multi-stakeholder Partnerships to Scale Water Resilience

Webinar by World Resources Institute (WRI) |  -  | Water Pavilion at COP27, Livestream available

Of the $100 billion in private investment towards water since 1990 only 1% has been received in sub-Saharan Africa. Addressing water-related needs, stresses, and shocks in a manner that is low-carbon and sustainable is therefore the biggest investment opportunity that will underpin all other development in the continent and across the globe.

Hosted at the Water Climate Pavilion Finance Day (co-curated with ADB & AfDB) this session will showcase several initiatives and partnerships that are blending public and private investment and know-how to accelerate investment in high-impact water resilience solutions – including the ACWA Fund & Platform.

Moderators

  • Ede Ijjasz, former Regional Director, World Bank
  • Smita Rawoot, World Resources Institute

Speakers

  • Ms. Stientje van Veldhoven, World Resources Institute
  • Jochen Renger, GIZ
  • Kathryn Pharr, WaterAid
  • Martin Shouler, Arup
  • Binayak Das, Water Integrity Network
  • Yasmine Abdel-Maksoud, American University in Cairo
  • David Ramos, HSBC
  • Nick O'Donohoe, British International Investment
  • Rami Ghandour, Metito
  • Colin McQuistan, Practical Action

Register to watch the livestream

Image by: jcomp/FreePik

Retrieved from https://www.wri.org/events/2022/11/blended-finance-solutions-and-multi-stakeholder-partnerships-scale-water-resilience

Innovation Hub at COP27 to Promote Transformative Climate Solutions
A UN Climate Change ‘Global Innovation Hub’ (UGIH) at the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh is set to ratchet up the scale and effectiveness of innovation in tackling climate change and help deliver on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This will happen for the first time through a digital platform designed to facilitate collaboration between key innovators and investors who have a demand for climate and sustainability solutions (CSSs).

Innovation Hub at COP27 to Promote Transformative Climate Solutions

Published by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 1 November 2022

UNFCCC Global innovation Hub

Credit: UNFCCC

UN Climate Change News, 1 November 2022 –

Innovation in the field of climate action is crucial to support both behavioral and system changes necessary to shift the needle when it comes to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to climate change. Innovation can for example apply to ways to generate clean energy, ways to make the construction sector more sustainable and ways to make food supply chain resilient to climate shocks.

“The hub addresses current challenges in the innovation process and provides a space to rethink ways of addressing core human needs in the context of sustainable development,” says Massamba Thioye, Project lead Executive of UGIH for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). “We are creating a space for transformative innovation driven by demands for climate and sustainability solutions linked to human needs and engineered for radical collaboration in housing, nutrition and health, energy, access, mobility and more."

With the window of opportunity to tackle climate change rapidly closing, incremental steps are not enough. The Global Innovation Hub therefore intends to take a ‘moonshot approach’ - setting a goal and encouraging innovation to achieve it instead of what is perceived as possible with current solutions and technologies - thereby driving a profound transformation in how to meet climate goals.

Virtual hub to enable “intelligent matchmaking”

During COP27, the hub organizers will launch Version 1.0 of the Virtual Hub site - a tool for collating government entities demand for climate and sustainability solutions. Co-designed with Amazon Web Services and the Open Earth Foundation, version 1.0 of the platform enables the collection of global ambitions, a critical first step towards intelligent matchmaking and automated coalition building.

The UGIH Pavilion at COP27 will feature up to 80 back-to-back sessions, each spotlighting a specific climate innovation theme, such as cities; digital finance; partners for tomorrow (incubators and accelerators); innovation for climate; youth; gender; and core needs/solutions.

Concrete examples of areas of innovation that will be highlighted at the hub include:

  • The potential of bamboo as a material for sustainable construction and circular economic development. Reports show that bamboo has great potential as a renewable, lightweight and strong building material. Due to faster growth and higher carbon sequestration of bamboo plants compared to trees in the tropics, bamboo is starting to play an increasingly important role in future construction projects.
  • The potential of green hydrogen. With governments at COP26 agreeing to phase down coal, green hydrogen takes the stage at COP27, driving innovation in the collective commitment toward green energy. While the hydrogen production market is forecast to grow up to 9.2% per year until 2030, more than 95% of hydrogen production today is derived from fossil fuels. UGIH explores opportunities for green hydrogen development aligned with the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.
  • The potential of beans in improving food security. As climate change continues to negatively impact global food security, UGIH presents the launch of “Beans is How”, an initiative by the SDG2 Advocacy Hub aimed at highlighting the potential of beans as an affordable and accessible solution to the world’s growing health and climate challenges.

All interested practitioners at COP are invited to visit the Hub at the physical Pavilion.

More information, including the programme, can be found here.

Retrieved from https://unfccc.int/news/innovation-hub-at-cop27-to-promote-transformative-climate-solutions

3 Essentials for Integrated Urban Climate Action

At the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), more than 1,100 cities representing a quarter of global CO2 emissions signed up to the Cities Race to Zero. In doing so, they committed to ambitious, inclusive and equitable climate action to hold global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F). At COP27 next month, these cities will be expected to demonstrate progress and explain how they plan to deliver on their commitments.

3 Essentials for Integrated Urban Climate Action

Published by TheCityFix (blog by WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities) on 21 October 2022

Authors:  and   

Guadalajara’s metropolitan municipalities commit to achieve net-zero emissions while addressing social inequalities through metro-level projects, such as a new 42-kilometer Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) linePhoto: Alvarado/Shutterstock

Cities have never been more engaged on climate action.

With cities accounting for up to 70% of global CO2 emissions and urban areas being especially exposed to the impacts of climate change, city action is critical to achieving an inclusive, resilient, zero-carbon and nature-focused future, especially in the context of the current global energy crisis. Fortunately, cities are uniquely positioned to drive just the kind of ambitious climate action that scientists say is needed.

By using existing technologies and policy options across buildings, transportation, materials and waste, research shows cities can reduce emissions by 90% by 2050. At the same time, transitioning to low-carbon and resilient infrastructure can improve quality of life, health, and access to economic opportunities of the most vulnerable populations by bridging the “urban services divide.”

To help cities on their journey, we propose three essentials to advancing climate action in cities:

1) Make Climate Action About People

Cities need to balance a wide range of competing priorities. For many, issues such as public health, housing and economic growth rank above climate change in the concerns of most citizens and local authorities. Traditional climate mitigation and adaptation entry points are often insufficient in persuading cities to take action at the scale and pace necessary.

To succeed and provide new motivations to act, cities need to make connections between their wider environmental, social and economic goals and climate action — a concept we refer to as “integrated climate action.”

Integrated climate action begins with integrated planning, which actively seeks out synergies between mitigation and adaptation goals and other local priorities such as economic growth, clean air, energy security, housing, access to services, etc. These synergies aren’t hard to find. Climate change is inextricably linked to tackling social and economic inequalities. Our research shows how closing the urban services divide —reducing inequalities city residents’ abilities to access decent housing, clean water, sewer systems, electricity, transport and jobs — can be one of the most powerful entry points for advancing ambitious climate action.

Cities around the world are already leading the way. For example, Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara Climate Action Plan (CAP) shows how climate action can drive cross-sectoral collaboration across jurisdictions. All nine of Guadalajara’s metropolitan municipalities committed to a achieve net-zero emissions while addressing social and spatial inequalities through metro-level projects, such as a new 42-kilometer Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line. The project prioritizes giving the area’s most vulnerable groups access to public transport and improved air quality.

Similarly, in Mumbai, where 50% of the population lives in informal settlements, the city’s Climate Action Plan aims to increase poor households’ access to climate-resilient housing, green spaces, cooling and health centers to jointly tackle emissions, heat-related risks and socio-spatial inequalities.

2) Get Ready for Integrated Implementation

Incremental mitigation and adaptation projects advanced in isolation, under sectoral silos, will be insufficient. Cities’ need a whole-system approach that unlocks collaboration across sectors and institutional boundaries, effectively embedding climate goals in all key decision-making for a — such as strategic, land use and budgetary planning.

For example, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil embedded targets from its Sustainable Development and Climate Action Plan in its current five-year strategic plan (2021-2024). By doing so, the current city administration ensures that climate action is implemented in a cross-cutting way across multiple city departments — everything from health care to ecosystem services management to innovation and green jobs. It also ensures budget is allocated appropriately for climate action implementation.

Land use planning is oftentimes one of the most powerful policy instruments cities have at their disposal for implementing transformative climate action. Victoria Gasteiz, Spain, for example, prioritizes community engagement, compact land use, sustainable mobility, and public and green spaces in its land use planning. These initiatives can simultaneously foster mitigation, adaptation and equity. With shifts from car travel to low-carbon mobility like biking and walking, the city’s CO2 emissions dropped by 42%. Promoting urban green spaces countered urban sprawl, increased biodiversity, reduced pollution and urban heat islands, and improved water management. Re-densification and rehabilitation of the city center has kept housing affordable and increased equitable access to urban services like public transport.

3) Get the Right People Together

Local governments do not operate in isolation, and many of the levers to accelerate mitigation, increase climate resilience and ensure equitable benefits lie beyond cities’ direct authority. Research from the Coalition for Urban Transitions estimates that 37% of urban mitigation potential requires collaborative action among national, state and city governments.

Responding to the climate emergency requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, where cities actively collaborate with regions, other cities, businesses and national policymakers to unlock investments for urban climate action while raising the bar for more ambitious climate action at the national level.

The Mexican Climate Community is an example of how sub-national governments can collaborate for zero-carbon development. This network of municipal-, state- and federal-level public servants promotes training, peer-to-peer exchange and tailored support on projects ranging from energy efficiency to nature-based solutions to low-carbon transport. It also connects sub-national governments with the private sector to help achieve cities’ Race to Zero pledges.

WRI’s Urban Water Resilience Initiative is another example of the complex governance required for integrated climate action. Through this initiative, a coalition including research institutes, civil society actors, development agencies, national governments, businesses, private investment groups, national banks and consultancies are tackling technical and financial barriers to improve water resilience in six cities in Ethiopia, Rwanda and South Africa. The initiative will soon launch the African Cities Water Adaptation Fund (ACWA Fund) to support 100 African cities in financing urban water resilience measures by 2032.

Integrated Climate Action Means Accelerated Climate Action

Achieving net-zero emissions by mid-century and rapidly increasing our resilience to extreme weather is a must if the world is to have any chance of tackling the climate crisis. To meet these goals in a way that enhances justice and equity, reduces the urban services divide, and protects nature necessitates an integrated and collaborative approach. It also requires improved accountability mechanisms to ensure that cities and their partners deliver on their commitments.

Cities are finally making ambitious climate action promises. Now comes the hard part of turning promises into progress.

Retrieved from https://thecityfix.com/blog/3-essentials-for-integrated-urban-climate-action/

This article originally appeared on WRI’s Insights.

Michael Doust is Director of Urban Efficiency & Climate for WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.

Nathalie Badaoui is Senior Manager for Integrated Climate Action at WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.

Leo Horn-Phathanothai is Head of WRI’s UK Office and Director for Strategy and Partnerships at WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.

The Government of Spain, the regional government of Basque Country, and the United Nations open the Local2030 Coalition Secretariat in Bilbao

The Local2030 Coalition is the UN System-wide platform and network for supporting and accelerating the localization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), endorsed in 2015 by 193 member states to ensure sustained and inclusive economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection, as well as fostering peaceful, just, and inclusive societies.

The Government of Spain, the regional government of Basque Country, and the United Nations open the Local2030 Coalition Secretariat in Bilbao

Published by UNDP on 31 October 2022

Photo from Unsplash of Bilbao, Spain: https://unsplash.com/photos/Er_Z4qZHIEI

Bilbao, Spain, 31 October 2022. The Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, Amina J. Mohammed; the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), Maimunah Mohd Sharif; the Assistant Administrator and Director of Bureau for Policy and Programme Support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Haoliang Xu; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain, José Manuel Albares; the Secretary of State for the 2030 Agenda, of the Ministry for Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda of Spain, Lilith Verstrynge; the President of the regional government of the Basque Country, Iñigo Urkullu; the Mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto, and the President of the BBK Foundation, Xabier Sagredo, participated today in the opening of the Local2030 Coalition Secretariat in Bilbao alongside other high level authorities and stakeholders’ representatives.

During the opening the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, Amina J. Mohammed, highlighted that “The Local2030 Coalition will bring together the combined resources of the UN family in enabling the energy, digital, and green and blue transitions needed for sustainable development.”

The Executive Director of UN-Habitat (the permanent Co-chair of the Local2030 Coalition and lead agency of its Secretariat), Maimunah Mohd Sharif, noted that “The push towards localization started with Agenda 21, evolved with the Millennium Development Goals, and has become a real driving force in achieving the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. We hope that in the post-2030 Agenda, localization will be a central element rather than merely an instrument of implementation, a true manifestation of the principle of inclusive multilateralism.”

The Local2030 Coalition is a shared space to mobilize, engage and empower every local actor to bolster the localization of the SDGs. Fourteen UN Agencies, Funds, Programmes, and Offices are also part of the Local2030 Coalition, acting as the advisory body to its Steering Committee. Together with its partners, the Coalition will generate innovative solutions for local action and impact, it will actively contribute to SDG acceleration and will report progress at the SDG Summit in September 2023.

The Assistant Administrator and Director of Bureau for Policy and Programme Support of UNDP (the rotating co-chair of the Secretariat for the period 2022-2023), Haoliang Xu, stated during the opening that "The Local2030 Coalition has a unique opportunity to promote local actions for sustainable development everywhere and connect these local actions to the global 2030 agenda. The Secretariat, opening today in Bilbao, will provide the locus for cross-fertilization of ideas and exchange of solutions from across the world. We are grateful for the support of the Government of Spain, the Basque Government, and the Bilbao City Council."

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain, José Manuel Albares, said that Bilbao’s awarding as the Local2030 Coalition Secretariat "is a tangible sign of the effort and commitment of all institutions in Spain, as well as our society, with this common welfare Agenda." 

The Secretary of State for the 2030 Agenda, Lilith Verstrynge, highlighted the "transformative potential of the local level to build the future of sustainability, rights and social justice that we want for everyone" and said that the opening of the Secretariat represents "a qualitative leap” in the commitment of the Government of Spain "with co-governance and with the work from the local level."

For his part, the President of the regional government of Basque Country (Lehendakari), Iñigo Urkullu, thanked the United Nations for selecting Bilbao to host the Secretariat, remarking that this "represents a recognition of the trajectory developed in the Basque Country in terms of the 2030 Agenda; and, fundamentally, it constitutes a commitment to the future." He also remarked the role that subnational governments have in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

The Mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto, conveyed what it means for the city to host the Coalition Secretariat, "We are proud to be the headquarters of the global community's efforts in localizing the 2030 Agenda and we make available to this headquarters the resources, knowledge and experiences of our city to make the motto of 'leaving no one behind' a reality."

And the President of the BBK Foundation, Xabier Sagredo, mentioned that "BBK is firmly and strategically committed with the Local2030 Coalition Secretariat for the localization of the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations that today we open in Bilbao; because we know the transformative value of sustainable competitiveness to respond to the challenges of our territory, the planet and humanity."

The opening of the Local2030 Coalition Secretariat was held on the World Cities Day to recognize the contribution of cities and local actors to addressing the world’s urban challenges and engage the international community towards implementing the New Urban Agenda, the roadmap to sustainable urbanization adopted at Habitat III Conference in Quito in 2016.

The World Cities Day theme of this year Act Local to Go Global focused on accelerating the implementation of the SDGs in cities, towns, and local communities.

A panel session discussed urban challenges, accelerated implementation of the SDGs, and transformative solutions to leave no one and no place behind. The event was also a landmark of the World’s To-Do List global campaign that calls for greater support to cities to achieve the SDGs. Through this campaign the City of Bilbao joined other cities across the world in underlining their commitment to the SDGs.

Retrieved from https://www.undp.org/press-releases/government-spain-regional-government-basque-country-and-united-nations-open-local2030-coalition-secretariat-bilbao

Public activists explore ways to better adapt to war and plan for recovery
The Network of the Community Security and Social Cohesion Working Groups, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine, gathered in Truskavets for a networking event, held offline with the financial support of the European Union and the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, for the first time after the beginning of the full-scale war.

Public activists explore ways to better adapt to war and plan for recovery

Published by UNDP on 1 November 2022

Key discussions at the event, organized by UNDP with financial support from the EU and the Netherlands, focus on the accelerated reconstruction of war-ravaged communities and the critical needs of affected populations.

Representatives of the Community Security Working Groups are exploring strategies to support rapid, sustained and sustainable recovery of war-affected communities. Photo credit: Artem Hetman / UNDP in Ukraine

TRUSKAVETS, Lviv Oblast, 1 November 2022 — 

The event, held under the auspices of the UN Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme, involved civic activists, local authorities and police officers from the most war-ravaged areas of Ukraine. Representatives of the working groups of Donetsk, Luhansk, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Zhytomyr and Kherson oblasts explored strategies for supporting communities that are located in the closest proximity to the frontlines. In particular, participants discussed the fastest ways to operationalize and support humanitarian hubs, the organization of temporary shelters for internally displaced persons, the provision of essential items to the most vulnerable populations, support of the winterization efforts of the affected communities, the arrangement of air raid shelters and evacuation strategies to safer locations.

Jennes de Mol, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Ukraine, said his government admires the unwavering resilience of Ukrainians. “We are happy to support this event, which brought together active representatives of civil society who, despite daily difficulties, continue helping people who remain in war-torn communities and those who have found safer shelter elsewhere,” he said.  

Xavier Camus, acting Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Ukraine, said that that the European Union will provide support to the communities affected by the war, developing capacities of local public initiatives in every possible way. “In the setting of the full-scale Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Community Security and Social Cohesion Working Groups have proven their effectiveness. I am convinced they have saved more than one life from the horrors of war,” he said. "Your ideas and solutions, which you are ready to offer here and now, accelerate post-war recovery and strengthen faith in a prosperous future of Ukraine, free from war, suffering and violence.”

UNDP interim Resident Representative Manal Fouani said the drive and resilience of civil society in the face of insurmountable odds is inspiring and impressive. “By helping your communities, which remain in the zone of active hostilities, you instil faith in a better future and accelerate the recovery of Ukraine,” she said. “We at UNDP can assure you that we will pave this difficult path to recovery together with you, side by side.”

Tetiana Sihayeva, Coordinator of the Network of Working Groups in the Donetsk Oblast, said the first days of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation into Ukraine, the working groups supported communities in every possible way to overcome the challenges caused by the war and helped the vulnerable population. “Having experience in solving local problems and being ready to represent the interests of local communities,” she said, “working groups have sufficient potential and expertise in solving problems related to community security and social cohesion to multiply advanced changes at the national level as well.”

A unique manual was also presented at the event, highlighting the methodology of the Community Security and Social Cohesion Working Groups. The manual was developed based on the practical experience of community mobilization within several project initiatives of the UN Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme, to spread positive experience of implementing the methodology of working groups among communities throughout Ukraine under the most challenging conditions.

Background

UNDP has been supporting active citizens to form working groups as a way to mobilze efforts to support local communities since 2017, with the first ones established in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts . Later, having proven their effectiveness, the network of working groups was expanded to communities of Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Zhytomyr and Kherson oblasts. Chernihiv and Poltava oblasts are expected to join the network soon.

The United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme (UN RPP) is being implemented by four United Nations agencies: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

Eleven international partners support the Programme: The European Union (EU), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, and the governments of Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.

Media enquiries: Yuliia Samus, UNDP Ukraine Head of Communications; e-mail: yuliia.samus@undp.org

Retrieved from https://www.undp.org/ukraine/press-releases/public-activists-explore-ways-better-adapt-war-and-plan-recovery

Cities Alive: Designing cities that work for women
Join the global launch of the new publication “Cities Alive: Designing Cities that Work for Women.” Developed by Arup, UNDP, and the University of Liverpool, the report presents fresh takes on how to achieve gender equity in the built environment benefits all communities globally.

The report provides actionable recommendations and guidance for policy-makers, urban and development practitioners on how to design and plan for cities that are safer, healthier, fairer and more enriching for women and girls.

Cities Alive: Designing cities that work for women

Webinar by UNDP, Arup, and the University of Liverpool held on 24 October 2022

Cities provide pivotal hubs of innovation, productivity, and opportunities, and importantly homes and communities, and are a melting pot of individuals and cultures. However, when planned without social equity and diversity, they widen social gaps. 

In cities across the world, women of all ages and gender identities face a range of barriers and vulnerabilities. These include gender-based discrimination, inequality, violence, poverty, unpaid care work, limited control over assets, and unequal participation in private and public decision-making. Billions of women who reside in urban areas are underserved by the environments they live and work in. In both subtle and overtly discriminatory ways, cities are often built in such a way that women are unsafe, their basic needs are not met, and that their social and economic opportunities are restricted.

Join the global launch of the new publication “Cities Alive: Designing Cities that Work for Women.” Developed by Arup, UNDP, and the University of Liverpool, the report presents fresh takes on how to achieve gender equity in the built environment benefits all communities globally. It provides actionable recommendations and guidance for policy-makers, and urban development practitioners on how to design and plan for cities that are safer, healthier, fairer and more enriching for women and girls.

The report also offers real-world case studies and an easy-to-follow methodology to directly engage women in urban decision-making processes and incorporate their needs, concerns, and ideas in the planning, design and construction of gender-inclusive cities.

This high-level event and the global launch of the new publication will feature prominent speakers from UNDP, ARUP, the University of Liverpool, civil society, and the private sector.

Speakers include:

  • Francine PickupDeputy Director, UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support
  • Sara CandiracciAssociate Director and Lead for Inclusive and Resilient Cities, Arup
  • Kim PowerPrincipal Planner, Arup
  • Abdallah al DardariUNDP Resident Representative in Afghanistan
  • Sowmya ParthasarathyDirector and Lead for Urban Design and Master Planning, Arup
  • Léan DoodyDirector and Lead for Cities, Planning, and Design in Europe Programme, Arup
  • Martyn Evans, Creative Director, U and I Group PLC 
  • Catherine QueenLecturer in Planning, University of Liverpool
  • Smruti Jukur JohariUrban Planner, School For Potential Advancement And Restoration Of Confidence (SPARC) India and Slum Dwellers International (SDI)

Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMCEn4e4AYw

Cities Alive: Designing Cities That Work for Women

This report, by Arup, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the University of Liverpool, offers a novel approach and a clear methodology to directly engage women in decision-making processes, incorporating their needs, concerns, and ideas across all aspects of urban planning and development. It also provides actionable recommendations for all urban practitioners, government authorities, and communities alike, with real-world case studies to illustrate how cities can be designed in a gender-inclusive way.

Cities Alive: Designing Cities That Work for Women

Published by UNDP, Arup, and the University of Liverpool on 20 October 2022

Cities act as pivotal hubs of innovation, productivity, opportunities, while serving as homes and communities for a melting pot of individuals and cultures. However, when planned without social equity and diversity in mind, urbanization can widen the gaps between different groups in society.

Among the most vulnerable are women all ages and gender identities in both wealthy and socio-economically disadvantaged urban contexts across the globe. Without a gender-responsive approach to urban planning, cities often compound gender inequalities that restrict women’s social and economic opportunities, health and wellbeing, sense of safety and security, and access to justice and equity.

Designing cities that work for women creates wider social, economic, and environmental benefits, along with safer, healthier, and more inclusive spaces, not just for women but for entire households and communities and is integral to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development across urban areas around the world.

Access the full report here: https://www.undp.org/publications/cities-alive-designing-cities-work-women

Making cities safer for women: UN report calls for radical rethink

Cities have an in-built bias against women, who overwhelmingly describe them as unsafe and unwelcoming. A UN report released on Monday, calls for a complete overhaul of city design, and for women to be more closely involved in urban planning.

Making cities safer for women: UN report calls for radical rethink

Posted by UN News on 24 October 2022

Cities have an in-built bias against women, who overwhelmingly describe them as unsafe and unwelcoming. A UN report released on Monday, calls for a complete overhaul of city design, and for women to be more closely involved in urban planning.

Photo: UN Women/Fatma Elzahraa Yassin. Activists protest against sexual harassment faced by women living in Cairo, Egypt.

Even though they make up half the population, women and girls get a raw deal when it comes to city design: in surveys, around 97 per cent of women in the UK aged 18-24, have complained of sexual harassment in public spaces, whilst in Ireland more than half of women surveyed say they feel unsafe on public transport after dark.

Other issues include a lack of suitable public facilities. for example, one third of women globally say that they don’t have access to adequate toilets.

The publication, “Designing Cities that work for Women”, focuses on four themes: safety and security, justice and equity, health and wellbeing and enrichment and fulfilment.

A woman walks through an underground tunnel.

Photo: Unsplash/Kevin Laminto

A lack of representation

A wide range of city design aspects are covered, from street lighting through to statues. Only around three per cent of monuments celebrating heroes of the past and present, depict women.

Women’s needs and aspirations are examined, from safety, to gender-based discrimination, and a lack of access to quality education and employment opportunities.

The study shows that women are not well represented in key decisions that affect the future environment for all: they only run around one in seven environment ministries, and face barriers in crucial areas such as city planning, construction, and leadership positions.

“Achieving gender equity is integral to each of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” declared UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner. “When cities are largely designed without considering the diverse needs and insights of women of all ages and identities, this can have an adverse impact not only on their lives, but on their families.”

The Safe and Friendly City Bus is part of a programme raising awareness about sexual harassment and violence against women and girls in public spaces in Viet Nam.

Photo: UN Women/Hoang Van Nam

Women-friendly solutions

The report, which was developed by global design and engineering company Arup, the University of Liverpool, and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), draws on the voices and experiences of women around the world, as well as a thorough review of data and research.

There is a strong focus on solutions for decision-makers, and finding ways to

actively involve women at every stage of city design and planning, to ensure that cities work better for them, and are more resilient and inclusive.

Concrete recommendations include forming city-wide gender equality taskforces, education and development programmes, and creating design action plans.

Cooperation between city authorities and other stakeholders, such as businesses and civil society groups, is also cited as an important element in creating safer, equitable spaces for women and girls.

Retrieved from https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/10/1129752

Design cities to work better for women, says a new report by Arup, University of Liverpool and UNDP

Approximately 4.5 billion people, or 55% of the world population, live in urban areas, and 50% of the world’s population is made up of women and girls. The new report, Cities Alive: Designing Cities that Work for Women’, shows that while women make up half the global urban population, cities have not been designed with them in mind. It calls on decision-makers, urban designers, and city planners to work towards cities that are more inclusive, safer, and equitable for women around the world.

Design cities to work better for women, says a new report by Arup, University of Liverpool and UN Development Programme (UNDP)

Green City Lab

Photo: UNDP/Moldova

New York, Oct 24 – Urgent action is needed to remove the gender bias built into cities and improve women’s safety, their health, and access to education and employment, according to a new report released today by Arup, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the University of Liverpool.

The report draws on the voices and experiences of women globally, as well as a thorough review of data and research, to identify issues and recommendations based on the four critical themes: safety and securityjustice and equityhealth and wellbeing and enrichment and fulfilment.

The findings show that a limited voice in urban design decisions for women can exacerbate and perpetuate inequalities in cities, backed up by existing global statistics and research. Major issues include sexual harassment in public spaces, reflected by the experiences of 97% of women aged 18-24 in the UK, and a lack of access to suitable facilities, with one third of women globally not having access to adequate toilets. The gender bias built into cities is also reflected in honoring the heroes of the past and the present through public monuments, with only 2-3% of statues representing women across the world. And women are not well represented in key decisions that affect the future environment for all, with only around one in seven environmental sector ministries worldwide being led by women.

The new report argues that while barriers to women entering city planning, construction, and leadership positions urgently need to be removed, more needs to be done to reach those influencing how cities are designed now, to show them the importance of gender responsiveness and how to embed it into their work.

Focused on solutions, the recommendations give decision makers and urban practitioners the tools they need to move beyond mere consultation, and actively involve women at every stage of city design and planning – from inception to delivery. Importantly, the report also shows that accelerating the participation of women in urban governance at all levels is a prerequisite for better functioning cities, as cities that work better for women are more resilient and inclusive for all.

“Achieving gender equity is integral to each of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. When cities are largely designed without considering the diverse needs and insights of women of all ages and identities– this can have an adverse impact not only on their lives, but on their families. It restricts their opportunities and negatively impacts the overall sustainable development of societies. Gender-equal cities can generate enormous economic, environmental, political, and social benefits”, stated UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.

“The gender bias built into the design of cities has had a negative effect on the lives of women around the world. We are calling on urban designers and planners to use this report’s recommendations to meet women’s needs in cities now, while working to bring more women into leadership roles,” stated Léan Doody, the European Director of Cities, Planning and Design at Arup.

The recommendations examine all women’s needs and aspirations, as well as safety, showing how issues like gender-based discrimination, lack of access to quality education and employment opportunities, or housing and essential infrastructure, negatively affect women. It also demonstrates that the gender bias built into cities impacts our ability to tackle climate change, with women facing disproportionate exposure to climate hazards.

The report presents actionable recommendations for key decision makers and urban practitioners on how to design and plan more inclusive, safer, and equitable urban areas for women, which generates benefits for all. Examples of projects and initiatives around the world that have seen success by embracing women’s participation are also provided. These include initiatives in Athens (Greece), Cochabamba (Bolivia), Bogota (Colombia), Nairobi (Kenya) Dakar (Senegal), Da Nang (Vietnam), and San Francisco (USA).

To ensure cities work better for women, the report emphasizes that authorities must work together – including organisations from the private and public sector, along with civil society groups – and design and plan cities that are more inclusive, safer, and equitable for women and girls.

Retrieved from https://www.undp.org/press-releases/design-cities-work-better-women-says-new-report-arup-university-liverpool-and-un-development-programme-undp

Media queries:

Arup- Dan Allen, Media Relations Manager

Email: dan.allen@arup.com

Phone: +44 7989 735193

UNDP – Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, email: Sangita.khadka@undp.org

About Arup

Dedicated to sustainable development, Arup is a collective of 16,000 designers, advisors and experts working across 140 countries. Founded to strive for humanity and excellence in everything that we do, we collaborate with our clients and partners, using imagination, technology and rigour to shape a better world.

About UNDP

As the United Nations lead agency on international development, UNDP works in 170 countries and territories to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities, and to build resilience to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Our work is concentrated in three focus areas; sustainable development, democratic governance and peace building, and climate and disaster resilience.

Could local and urban solutions be the missing link in tackling climate change?

Local climate solutions can reduce GHG emissions at source and increase the resilience of densely populated and built-up areas. It is local level that connects overarching policies like NDCs and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and where countries actually achieve their climate targets. By contrast, failure to implement NDCs through concrete projects on the ground runs the risk of creating loss of hope and faith in NDC-related institutions and mechanisms.

Could local and urban solutions be the missing link in tackling climate change?

Blog Post by UNDP Climate Promise on October 17, 2022

Authors:

Photo: UNDP Türkiye

Photo by UNDP Turkey

The climate crisis is no longer as abstract as it once may have seemed. In the last few years, it has created devastating impacts worldwide, touching us all to a varying extent – across international borders through the North and South, high-income nations and low, spanning villages, towns and cities.

In 2022 alone, we’ve borne witness to crushing drought in the Horn of Africa, heat waves across South Asia, and accelerated melting across the Andean glaciers in South America. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirms the world will face “unavoidable multiple climate hazards over the next two decades”. They warned of further impacts, “some of which will be irreversible”.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission projections based on the most recent national climate pledges, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), make clear our path to avoid catastrophe grows increasingly narrow. It’s clear we need decisive action to reduce GHG emissions, coupled with a pivot to low-carbon economies, increased resilience, and greater adaptative capacity for all citizens.

Where does that leave us? One important solution is to rely on local leaders as a key ingredient in the climate solution.

Climate action from the ground up

When it comes to climate action, there is a natural temptation to put a lot of attention on national governments, as they are recognized to have key roles in climate negotiations and a particular responsibility to drive decisive action. A more overlooked approach is to target leaders in villages, towns and cities who can also play a fundamental role in delivering climate action – and frequently do so in creative, innovative ways.

Why? It is at these subnational levels where:

  • We find the closest interaction between people and authorities, and a higher level of trust between communities and authorities.
  • Leaders possess the ‘know-how’ to engage diverse views to get things done and pragmatically implement policy.
  • Individuals and whole communities – including those most vulnerable and marginalized – have the opportunity engage in climate action in sustained and more meaningful ways.

City responses to the climate crisis are particularly critical – currently, cities hold over 50 percent of the global population, with this number projected to rise to 70 percent by 2050. Climate action must also focus on helping the over three billion people highly vulnerable to climate change and the close to one billion urban dwellers living in informal settlements.

All of this is why, among development agencies such as UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN-Habitat, we are placing much more attention on “Localizing NDCs” – that is to say, helping ensure climate targets can be achieved. But how can we ensure that strategies and plans do not sit on a shelf gathering dust?

Photo: UNDP Mali

Photo by UNDP Mali

Local leaders paving the way on climate action

UNDP is supporting many countries to blaze new trails in implementing climate action where local actors take the lead:

  • In Lima, Peru, water is a scarce resource. To help tackle the water crisis, the government has been successfully piloting a method of water harvesting in unique ecosystems with dense concentrations of fog, known as Fog Oases. Communities play a key role implementing these systems.
     
  • In Serbia, where more than half the population resides in cities, a Climate Smart Urban Development Challenge is driving local initiatives to cut GHG emissions, create green jobs, and improve public services.
     
  • Provincial authorities and communities across Cambodia are tackling temperature rise and increased variability in the monsoon season, by establishing Drought Infohubs to predict droughts and better coordinate early responses to reduce losses and help approximately six million people.

These and other examples of climate projects implemented at subnational levels are highlighted in UNDP’s new report, Climate Action from the Ground Up: Supporting Cities and Local and Regional Governments to Achieve the Paris Agreement. This work is conducted through UNDP’s Climate Promise, which has been providing supporting to more than 120 countries since 2019 to help achieve Paris Agreement targets and raise their climate ambition.

UN-Habitat is also partnering with subnational governments and community experts to help deliver climate solutions as key aspects of NDC implementation. In addition to leading the way to ensure urban areas are developed and grow sustainably, UN-Habitat looks to nature as a central element in delivering NDC targets in cities, while building resilience to climate change. These “Nature-based Solutions” protect, manage, and restore ecosystems to address societal challenges while providing numerous benefits for people and nature. The following are initiatives UN-Habitat is driving as part of its flagship programme, Resilient Settlements for the Urban Poor (RISE UP), which directs support to low-income ‘informal settlement’ or slum areas in cities that lack basic services such as clean water and waste management, and where occupants run such risks as threat of eviction, unstable construction, and overcrowding:

  • In Madagascar, in collaboration with the municipality of Bemanonga and local associations, CODE Menabe and Consortium des Jeunes Mahery, 35 hectares of mangroves were restored in Lovobe and Kimony to increase the water-storage capacity of wetlands. This increased the adaptive capacities of vulnerable poor communities to climate change, while capturing carbon from the atmosphere and helping achieve biodiversity targets.
     
  • The local government in Honiara, Solomon Islands, with RMIT University support, is focusing on improving ground slope stabilization to protect informal settlements from landslides caused by heavy rains and soil erosion resulting from climate change.
     
  • vegetative cover restoration campaign was introduced in Lilongwe, Malawi, to address the sharp rise in the loss of vegetation due to rapid expansion in the capital over the last 30 years. Strengthening the city’s connection to nature is an important part of the Lilongwe Ecological Corridor initiative.

Building from the groundswell of momentum and increased awareness from the recent wave of NDC submissions and raised attention on NDC implementation, it’s critical we don’t waste this opportunity. We must maximize local expertise, from city to town to village –  one of our most precious resources.

Retrieved from https://climatepromise.undp.org/news-and-stories/could-local-and-urban-solutions-be-missing-link-tackling-climate-change

Editor’s Note: UNDP and UN-Habitat work in close partnership to helping partner countries amplify climate ambition through climate action at local levels – this is a core pillar of the UNDP/UN-Habitat Enhanced Collaborative Framework, which underpins both Agencies’ commitment to strengthening their service offers with greater subnational perspective.

As we approach the COP27 annual climate change conference that brings together key actors to discuss approaches to climate actions to enable countries to collectively meet Paris Agreement targets, UN-Habitat and UNDP welcome you to register for the Sustainable Urban Resilience for the next Generation (SURGe) Initiative recently launched by the COP27 Presidency and UN-Habitat. SURGe provides Member States, local governments and non-state actors a holistic framework to achieve sustainable and resilient urban systems. Over 50 organizations have signed on so far: register here.