City2City
February edition of the monthly UNDP4Urban newsletter

February edition of the monthly UNDP4Urban newsletter

UNDP's City2City Network platform is delighted to share the February edition of our monthly newsletter!

UNDP4Urban News spotlights sustainable and inclusive urbanization by featuring urban solutions, initiatives, publications, and major events, to help you stay informed and connected.

Read the February edition and subscribe to the newsletter here: https://mailchi.mp/4711ce88941f/undp4urban-news-issue-2-february-2022?e=c763b4d581

New threats to human security in the Anthropocene: Demanding greater solidarity
COVID-19 has deepened pre-existing vulnerabilities, while unmasking new and interlinked threats to human security. This new UNDP report explores human security in relation to rapid urbanization, digitalization, violent conflict, horizontal inequalities, and evolving challenges to healthcare systems, while presenting a way forward to build resilience against today’s interconnected threats.

New threats to human security in the Anthropocene: Demanding greater solidarity

New Report by UNDP | Published in February 2022

OVERVIEW

Covid-19 has affected everyone, imperiling every dimension of our well-being and injecting an acute sense of fear across the globe. It is not hard to understand how Covid-19 has led people to feel more insecure but fears were growing pre-pandemic. While the world was reaching unprecedented levels of the Human Development Index (HDI); an estimated 6 out of 7 people globally felt insecure in the years leading to the pandemic.

And this feeling of insecurity was not only high—it had been growing in most countries with data, including a surge in some countries with the highest HDI values. For the first time, indicators of human development have declined—and drastically. In 2021, even with the availability of very unequally distributed Covid-19 vaccines, the economic recovery that started in many countries and the partial return to schools, the crisis deepened in health, with a drop in life expectancy at birth. And the HDI, adjusted for Covid-19, had yet to recover about five years of progress, according to new simulations.

It is not hard to understand how Covid-19 has made people feel more insecure. But what accounts for the startling split between improvements in wellbeing achievements and declines in people’s perception of security? That is the motivating question for this Report. In addressing it, we hope to avoid returning to pathways of human development with human insecurity.

Behind this development-security disconnect looms the Anthropocene context. Development approaches with a strong focus on economic growth over equitable human development have led to stark and growing inequalities and destabilized processes at the planetary scale. Our pursuit of development has neglected our embeddedness in nature, leading to new threats as a byproduct of development: worsening health, increased food insecurity, and more frequent disasters. Climate change alone—beyond the effect of pollution or zoonotic diseases—is expected to have significant effects on mortality. By 2100, the number of estimated deaths associated with climate change (in a scenario with very high GHG emissions) could be comparable to some of the leading deaths causes today.

The Report revisits the human security concept to understand what it implies for the Anthropocene context. It explores how the new generation of interacting threats, playing out in the new context of the Anthropocene: the downsides of digital technology, violent conflict, horizontal inequalities, and evolving challenges to healthcare systems. It is the interconnected nature of these threats, which calls for a new approach that goes beyond tackling them individually when designing or evaluating policy.

Solidarity recognizes that human security in the Anthropocene must now go beyond securing individuals and their communities; to consider systematically the interdependence across people and between people and the planet. It is protection, empowerment and solidarity working together that advances human security in the Anthropocene context.

Alarmingly, the Report also finds that perceptions of human insecurity are associated with low interpersonal trust, independently of one’s financial situation. 

In addressing human insecurity how do we attend to the conditions of trust—across people, between people and institutions, across countries?

This Report takes the view that agency lies at the core of an expanded human security framework. Agency reminds us that wellbeing achievements alone are not all we should consider when evaluating policies or assessing progress. Agency will also help avoid the pitfalls of partial solutions, such as delivering protection with no attention to disempowerment or committing to solidarity while leaving some lacking protection.

Access the full report here or download the attached PDF.

UNDP has established the first Waste-to-Energy Plant in Yemen
In an unprecedented initiative, UNDP has established the first Waste-to-Energy Plant in Yemen. The plant, which is in Lahj governorate, is a new approach to energy production that could revolutionize the governorate's way of addressing the waste challenge. This brochure provides facts and figures, along with an abridged summary of the initiative’s objectives and expected results.

Brochure: Waste to Energy

Originally published by UNDP on 19 January 2022

In an unprecedented initiative, UNDP has established the first Waste-to-Energy Plant in Yemen. The plant, which is in Lahj governorate, is a new approach to energy production that could revolutionize the governorate's way of addressing the waste challenge.

The Waste-to-Energy Plant project was established through a unique partnership between UNDP Yemen, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the SDG Climate Facility Project, the Yemeni Private Sector (Sehab Tech), and the European Union (EU) as part of Supporting Resilient Livelihoods and Food Security in Yemen Joint Programme - ERRY II.

This brochure provides facts and figures, along with an abridged summary of the initiative’s objectives and expected results.

Download the full brochure attached or refer to this link: https://www.arabstates.undp.org/content/rbas/en/home/library/CPR/brochure--waste-to-energy-.html

UNDP has established the first Waste-to-Energy Plant in Yemen
In an unprecedented initiative, UNDP has established the first Waste-to-Energy Plant in Yemen. The plant, which is in Lahj governorate, is a new approach to energy production that could revolutionize the governorate's way of addressing the waste challenge. This brochure provides facts and figures, along with an abridged summary of the initiative’s objectives and expected results.

Brochure: Waste to Energy

Originally published by UNDP on 19 January 2022

In an unprecedented initiative, UNDP has established the first Waste-to-Energy Plant in Yemen. The plant, which is in Lahj governorate, is a new approach to energy production that could revolutionize the governorate's way of addressing the waste challenge.

The Waste-to-Energy Plant project was established through a unique partnership between UNDP Yemen, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the SDG Climate Facility Project, the Yemeni Private Sector (Sehab Tech), and the European Union (EU) as part of Supporting Resilient Livelihoods and Food Security in Yemen Joint Programme - ERRY II.

This brochure provides facts and figures, along with an abridged summary of the initiative’s objectives and expected results.

Download the full brochure attached or refer to this link: https://www.arabstates.undp.org/content/rbas/en/home/library/CPR/brochure--waste-to-energy-.html

City Experiment Fund: Applying systems thinking to urban transformation
Less than a year ago, five cities from across the Europe and Central Asian region embarked on an exploration of a new approach to problem solving, which is rooted in systems thinking.

City Experiment Fund: Applying systems thinking to urban transformation

Originally published on 10 February 2022 by UNDP | Author: Justyna Krol, Urban Development Expert, UNDP IRH

When you talk to urban development practitioners, they seem to agree that there are no silver bullet solutions to the challenges cities face. What is even more difficult is that the number, scale and complexity of these challenges keeps increasing. Simultaneously, our cities do not have the resources to ‘fix it all’. They never will. So where does that leave us? 

Stepanavan (Armenia), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Prizren (Kosovo), Pljevlja (Montenegro) and Skopje (North Macedonia) began designing what we call portfolios of options. ‘Portfolios’ because there are no simple, singular solutions to complex problems. ‘Options’ because addressing complexity (esp. If it’s wicked problems [1]) requires an approach based on experimentation, learning, and dynamic management.  

The process of portfolio design 

During the first phase, the UNDP Country Office teams spent several months going through the processes of portfolio design and deep listening to be able to implement and test out the first iteration of their sets of interventions. Part of the teams used the Agora Urban Transformation Stencil, while others applied strategic risk analysis and solution design. Overall, the key phases were similar for all.  

Teams began their work by unpacking the complexity of the challenges they initially selected. This phase included deep listening, which is a process of identifying local narratives that surround both the challenge at hand, but also, more importantly, the city and its future in general. Once the teams developed a deep understanding of the issues they were attempting to tackle, they established their intent – what is it exactly that they want to change, who are they to change it, and what resources would they tap into? For some of the teams it meant reframing the entire challenge altogether, like shifting the focus from air pollution to alternative job opportunities for vulnerable groups, like in Pljevlja. For others it meant moving from a broader scope to a very specific challenge – like in the case of North Macedonia, where the team shifted from green growth to circularity in biowaste.  

With a clearly defined intent, each team then moved on to identifying the best places in selected systems to intervene. This sounds abstract, but in practice it is about noticing levers, bottlenecks, elements of the system that either attract the most or the least attention and that – when interacted with – can generate the biggest impact. This is what you design options for. And that’s what the teams did.  

From July to August 2021, the teams went into experimentation mode and began implementing their portfolios of options. What is critical to remember, though, is that the first iteration of an option is merely a beginning. It should never be the end (or the goal in itself, for that matter). Working with complex challenges requires continuous learning. Each implemented option provides new insights and allows us to keep developing more impactful interventions with consecutive iterations of a portfolio.  

[1] Quoting SpringerLink Design Dictionary: “Wicked problems” is a phrase first coined by Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber, theorists of design and social planning respectively, at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1973. A wicked problem defies any standard attempt to find a solution because it is a symptom or result of multiple, contingent, and conflicting issues.

Retrieved from https://innovation.eurasia.undp.org/city-experiment-fund-applying-systems-thinking-to-urban-transformation/

Cover Photo Credit: Unsplash

City Experiment Fund: Applying systems thinking to urban transformation
Less than a year ago, five cities from across the Europe and Central Asian region embarked on an exploration of a new approach to problem solving, which is rooted in systems thinking.

City Experiment Fund: Applying systems thinking to urban transformation

Originally published on 10 February 2022 by UNDP | Author: Justyna Krol, Urban Development Expert, UNDP IRH

When you talk to urban development practitioners, they seem to agree that there are no silver bullet solutions to the challenges cities face. What is even more difficult is that the number, scale and complexity of these challenges keeps increasing. Simultaneously, our cities do not have the resources to ‘fix it all’. They never will. So where does that leave us? 

Stepanavan (Armenia), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Prizren (Kosovo), Pljevlja (Montenegro) and Skopje (North Macedonia) began designing what we call portfolios of options. ‘Portfolios’ because there are no simple, singular solutions to complex problems. ‘Options’ because addressing complexity (esp. If it’s wicked problems [1]) requires an approach based on experimentation, learning, and dynamic management.  

The process of portfolio design 

During the first phase, the UNDP Country Office teams spent several months going through the processes of portfolio design and deep listening to be able to implement and test out the first iteration of their sets of interventions. Part of the teams used the Agora Urban Transformation Stencil, while others applied strategic risk analysis and solution design. Overall, the key phases were similar for all.  

Teams began their work by unpacking the complexity of the challenges they initially selected. This phase included deep listening, which is a process of identifying local narratives that surround both the challenge at hand, but also, more importantly, the city and its future in general. Once the teams developed a deep understanding of the issues they were attempting to tackle, they established their intent – what is it exactly that they want to change, who are they to change it, and what resources would they tap into? For some of the teams it meant reframing the entire challenge altogether, like shifting the focus from air pollution to alternative job opportunities for vulnerable groups, like in Pljevlja. For others it meant moving from a broader scope to a very specific challenge – like in the case of North Macedonia, where the team shifted from green growth to circularity in biowaste.  

With a clearly defined intent, each team then moved on to identifying the best places in selected systems to intervene. This sounds abstract, but in practice it is about noticing levers, bottlenecks, elements of the system that either attract the most or the least attention and that – when interacted with – can generate the biggest impact. This is what you design options for. And that’s what the teams did.  

From July to August 2021, the teams went into experimentation mode and began implementing their portfolios of options. What is critical to remember, though, is that the first iteration of an option is merely a beginning. It should never be the end (or the goal in itself, for that matter). Working with complex challenges requires continuous learning. Each implemented option provides new insights and allows us to keep developing more impactful interventions with consecutive iterations of a portfolio.  

[1] Quoting SpringerLink Design Dictionary: “Wicked problems” is a phrase first coined by Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber, theorists of design and social planning respectively, at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1973. A wicked problem defies any standard attempt to find a solution because it is a symptom or result of multiple, contingent, and conflicting issues.

Retrieved from https://innovation.eurasia.undp.org/city-experiment-fund-applying-systems-thinking-to-urban-transformation/

Cover Photo Credit: Unsplash

Launch of Flip the Script Action Campaign
The UN SDG Action Campaign has launched #FlipTheScript, which calls for a journey of advocacy and action to rethinking, recalibrating and reimagining our societies and economies to ensure a just, green, and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and achieve the SDGs, focusing on local action and behavioural change at all levels to transform and implement the changes that we want to see.

Flip the Script Campaign is an open-source campaign that aims to highlight different approaches and actions for a healthy, green and just future. It calls on everyone to keep challenging what they think, to keep pushing what they believe and what they can do. To seize the opportunities and solutions that exist and invest in them to solve our global challenges.

Everyone has the power in their hands to reimagine the world, catalyze positive change and achieve the SDGs through recommitments, rethinking, and changing prevailing narratives.

The campaign offers an entry point for all people, whether you take individual action or work to scale it up, whether you are an organization or a government representative. We provide the tools to tell the SDG story, to inspire, mobilize and connect others to take action.

Use the campaign's dynamic SOCIAL MEDIA ASSETSCAMPAIGN VIDEO, and key messages on your website or talking points, and use the campaign's open-source files to create your own targeted messages that are relevant in your community. You can start a school project, challenge your friends, or create a YouTube video. Tag @SDGaction and use the hashtag #FlipTheScript!

Learn more here: https://act4sdgs.org/flip-the-script/#

UNDP and the EU Partner on Waste Management Support in Lebanon
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union (EU) in Lebanon are partnering to improve the environmental and financial sustainability of the waste management sector in Lebanon. The “Towards a Decentralised Waste Management Integrated Response (TaDWIR) in Lebanon” initiative is funded by the EU and will be implemented by UNDP, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and other relevant national stakeholders including non-governmental organisations, local communities and the private sector.

UNDP and the EU Partner on Waste Management Support in Lebanon

Originally published on 4 February 2022 by UNDP

Beirut: The

Waste management is a critical development challenge in Lebanon, a serious source of environmental degradation, as well as a potential threat to public health . TaDWIR specifically targets some of the most dangerous types of waste in the country, such as medical waste. In addition, green waste, cardboard and paper waste, as well as potentially other types of residual waste that result from material recovery facility, will  be targeted within the framework of this parnership.

The 2020 “State of the Environment in Lebanon” report concluded that Lebanon’s waste management cannot become resilient nor sustainable unless it is underpinned by a firm system of governance and cost recovery. In this respect, this new programme of work will also focus on reducing the amount of waste disposed,  improving the quality of waste and introducing national systems for cost-recovery.

“Environmental protection and the elimination of pollution are at the heart of the European Green Deal, and key pillars of the EU’s efforts in Lebanon. Through TaDWIR, the EU will contribute to improving both the governance and the operational sides of waste management, so to reduce the negative impact of waste on the health and wellbeing of Lebanon’s population, and to foster the sector’s long term sustainability, all the while involving and empowering key public and private stakeholders.” Alessia Squarcella, EU Delegation in Lebanon - Deputy Head of Cooperation.

“Addressing issues related to environmental management and reform needs to remain a priority in Lebanon, and an integral part of building the country forward.  Particularly,  waste management is a critical pillar of environmental management, given its impact on the wellbeing and health of the communities residing in Lebanon, and the country’s natural resources. The new partnership with the European Union is therefore timely to continue our efforts in strengthening Lebanon’s environmental governance and in providing concrete solutions to some of waste streams in the country”  added Celine Moyroud, UNDP Resident Representative.

UNDP’s strategy in Lebanon focuses on several aspects of environmental governance including the effective management of waste and wastewater, the improvement and protection of water resources, and the provision of access to clean energy sources at the central and decentralized levels. UNDP continues to advocate for the integration of environmental and climate considerations into Lebanon’s response to the crisis, with a focus on supporting green recovery that benefit people and planet.

For more information, please contact

In UNDP – Lebanon | Rana Moughabghab | rana.moughabghab@undp.org |  +961 3 835 351

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet.

Article and cover image retrieved from https://www.arabstates.undp.org/content/rbas/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2022/-undp-and-the-eu-partner-on-waste-management-support-in-lebanon.html

UNDP and the EU Partner on Waste Management Support in Lebanon
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union (EU) in Lebanon are partnering to improve the environmental and financial sustainability of the waste management sector in Lebanon. The “Towards a Decentralised Waste Management Integrated Response (TaDWIR) in Lebanon” initiative is funded by the EU and will be implemented by UNDP, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and other relevant national stakeholders including non-governmental organisations, local communities and the private sector.

UNDP and the EU Partner on Waste Management Support in Lebanon

Originally published on 4 February 2022 by UNDP

Beirut: The

Waste management is a critical development challenge in Lebanon, a serious source of environmental degradation, as well as a potential threat to public health . TaDWIR specifically targets some of the most dangerous types of waste in the country, such as medical waste. In addition, green waste, cardboard and paper waste, as well as potentially other types of residual waste that result from material recovery facility, will  be targeted within the framework of this parnership.

The 2020 “State of the Environment in Lebanon” report concluded that Lebanon’s waste management cannot become resilient nor sustainable unless it is underpinned by a firm system of governance and cost recovery. In this respect, this new programme of work will also focus on reducing the amount of waste disposed,  improving the quality of waste and introducing national systems for cost-recovery.

“Environmental protection and the elimination of pollution are at the heart of the European Green Deal, and key pillars of the EU’s efforts in Lebanon. Through TaDWIR, the EU will contribute to improving both the governance and the operational sides of waste management, so to reduce the negative impact of waste on the health and wellbeing of Lebanon’s population, and to foster the sector’s long term sustainability, all the while involving and empowering key public and private stakeholders.” Alessia Squarcella, EU Delegation in Lebanon - Deputy Head of Cooperation.

“Addressing issues related to environmental management and reform needs to remain a priority in Lebanon, and an integral part of building the country forward.  Particularly,  waste management is a critical pillar of environmental management, given its impact on the wellbeing and health of the communities residing in Lebanon, and the country’s natural resources. The new partnership with the European Union is therefore timely to continue our efforts in strengthening Lebanon’s environmental governance and in providing concrete solutions to some of waste streams in the country”  added Celine Moyroud, UNDP Resident Representative.

UNDP’s strategy in Lebanon focuses on several aspects of environmental governance including the effective management of waste and wastewater, the improvement and protection of water resources, and the provision of access to clean energy sources at the central and decentralized levels. UNDP continues to advocate for the integration of environmental and climate considerations into Lebanon’s response to the crisis, with a focus on supporting green recovery that benefit people and planet.

For more information, please contact

In UNDP – Lebanon | Rana Moughabghab | rana.moughabghab@undp.org | +961 3 835 351

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet.

Article and cover image retrieved from https://www.arabstates.undp.org/content/rbas/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2022/-undp-and-the-eu-partner-on-waste-management-support-in-lebanon.html

Building Resilience Through Green-Gray Infrastructure: Lessons from Beira

Building Resilience Through Green-Gray Infrastructure: Lessons from Beira

Feature Story by The World Bank | Originally p

ublished on 31 January 2022

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • For cities threatened by climate change, bringing together green and grey infrastructure may be the key to climate-proofing them and saving lives.
  • Recent investments in the coastal city of Beira in Mozambique showcase how cities can implement new infrastructure that brings not just climate benefits, but socio-economic and environmental benefits, too.

Mozambique is among the planet's most vulnerable countries when it comes to climate risks—and also one of the poorest. In 2019, Cyclone Idai, one of the strongest and deadliest cyclones on record to hit Africa, demonstrated the need for resilience-building investments in Mozambique’s coastal cities.

Beira in particular, named one of the world’s cities most threatened by climate change, is showing how other cities in the country and across Africa can combine innovative green approaches and conventional gray infrastructure to protect residents and assets from climate hazards, while enhancing ecosystems and services.

The World Bank and its development partners have been providing much-needed financing to support these efforts on the ground, in particular, through the Cities and Climate Change Project (3CP). This project, which was implemented by Mozambique’s Administration for Water and Sanitation Infrastructure (AIAS) in coordination with the Municipality of Beira, financed conventional gray interventions, such as upgrades and extensions of inadequate drainage systems, as well as green nature-based solutions (NBS), which focused on restoring the Chiveve River’s capacity to mitigate floods in Beira.

Image

As part of the Mozambique Cities and Climate Change Project, Beira’s stormwater drainage system has been upgraded to reduce flood risk.

Why Focus on the Chiveve River?

The Chiveve River is a 3.5 km tidal river that traverses Beira’s central business district and spans from the city’s fishing port to lower income neighborhoods in the southeast. The river was a focus of the project’s intervention, as its intrinsic ability to absorb and mitigate floods, while also providing other societal benefits, had been significantly reduced. The river itself, its mangroves and native vegetation had been severely degraded, cut off from its natural tidal flow, choked by trash, and polluted by fecal waste.

The “Green Urban Infrastructure,” the NBS component supported under 3CP with financing from the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience and Germany, has transformed the formerly degraded river and surrounding area into a green urban park. It will provide recreational spaces, enhance local revenue, and improve resilience by absorbing and reducing floodwaters brought by increasing climate events.

The Approach: Bringing Green and Gray Together

Understanding the challenges at hand, government officials and municipal leaders proposed a project to comprehensively address the issues by investing in green and non-structural measures in conjunction with traditional gray interventions. The goal was to enhance climate resilience while improving the quality of life for city dwellers through the provisioning of recreational, environmental, and economic opportunities as an added value of NBS.

In an initial phase, community-based mangrove restoration was completed. The city also brought together community groups to lead river clean-ups, establish a waste-collection program for informal settlements, and create outreach campaigns to raise awareness about the river’s importance and role in mitigating urban flooding. This was done alongside gray interventions that included widening the river’s tidal basin to increase its stormwater retention function and building a controllable tidal outlet to regulate the incoming and outgoing flow.

The “Green Urban Infrastructure” phase under 3CP focused on expanding the aforementioned work to create a 17-hectare, multi-functional urban green park along the river. This included the continued restoration and preservation of Chiveve’s stormwater drainage and retention function by rehabilitating its degraded mangroves and native flora. The project also increased the number of recreational and public spaces alongside the river by constructing pedestrian routes, event venues, a local market, kiosks, and other community areas.

Image

Expansion of the urban green park (left), and cultural outreach campaigns (right)

The project aims to ultimately increase the perceived and realized value of the river’s space, reducing future encroachment and leveraging the new economic infrastructure as a funding source for the continued operation and maintenance of the park. The Chiveve is now flowing healthier than before, sans trash and waste, and residents feel safer in areas around the park. The green park is estimated to provide enhanced flood protection for about 50,000 people, which is in addition to the flood protection benefits provided to an estimated 234,000 people by the drainage system rehabilitated under 3CP.

Image

WBG President David Malpass visits Beira and the rehabilitated stormwater drainage system after Cyclone Idai in 2019 (left). The ceremonial unveiling of Beira’s urban green park by the President of Mozambique, Felipe Nyusi, in December 2020 (right).

Moving Forward

Building on these results, the new Cyclone Idai and Kenneth Emergency Recovery and Resilience Project (CERRP) is taking the support for a climate-resilient Beira a step further. World Bank financing under CERRP also mobilized co-financing from the Netherlands (RVO, or The Netherlands Enterprise Agency) and Germany (KfW) for drainage and coastal resilience investments. In addition, support provided by the World Bank’s Global Program on Nature-Based Solutions and the Program on Forests (PROFOR) helped capture lessons learned and best practices from the integrated intervention in Beira under 3CP, which are informing technical preparatory studies for the investments under CERRP, and exploring how similar interventions could be adopted in other Mozambican coastal cities.

Retrieved from https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2022/01/31/building-resilience-through-green-gray-infrastructure-lessons-from-beira