Over the last few years, countries have made considerable efforts in advancing visions embodied in the three monumental 2015 global development frameworks: the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development (the SDGs), the Paris Agreement, and the Sendai Framework of Disaster Risk Reduction. Many countries have made strides towards developing national-level targets, enacting relevant laws, formulating policies, and earmarking budgets to finance actions. Awareness among government officials about these development goals grew significantly over the years.
Cities play a critical role in achieving these development goals. With over 50% of the population in the Asia-Pacific region residing in urban areas and most national economies being driven by economic activities in cities, they are both a source of challenges and solutions. Yet, progress made at the national level with respect to these development frameworks has not cascaded down to the sub-national level because of gaps in awareness, institutional preparedness and capacity, and enabling environments.
To accelerate the achievements of the global goals at the urban scale, UNDP is working across teams to provide technical support to cities to localize SDG progresses, assess climate and disaster risks, and take steps towards ensuring that development planning is risk-informed. The support is based on UNDP’s many years of assistance to national governments in disaster risk management and multi-hazard risk assessment, climate change adaptation, SDG localization, and innovation.
Currently, a pilot set of three municipalities - Waling (Nepal), Rawalpindi (Pakistan), and Cox's Bazar (Bangladesh) - are taking a systemic approach to climate and disaster risk assessment and prioritization, and are developing localized “roadmaps” to guide future investments needed to build resilience and reduce risk. This roadmap is the first step in moving towards a low-carbon, climate and disaster resilient future city that is responsive to the SDGs.
To further scale up these efforts, UNDP is partnering with the Resilient Cities Network (R-Cities), an organization with extensive experience and expertise in guiding cities through resilience-planning processes, along with leading a wide range of relevant initiatives in a network of over 100 cities worldwide. We believe that R-Cities could provide significant value addition to our ongoing efforts in Asia-Pacific while sharing experiences from around the region and from their extensive work with city leaders and urban stakeholders to evaluate and learn from the COVID-19 crisis via the program “Cities for a Resilient Recovery."
By addressing the challenges outlined above, this new partnership strives to build the resilience of vulnerable communities and their livelihoods to the impacts of climate and disaster hazards, enhance inclusive and participatory city planning to maximize the impact on the ground, and increase long-term investments in climate and disaster risk reduction and SDG localization.
UNDP Focal Points:
- Asami Okahashi | Urban Development Specialist, UNDP | email@example.com
- Laura Hammett | Urban Resilience Specialist, UNDP | firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Representational Image from Unsplash by Toomas Tartes (@toomastartes)