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Climate change may push up to 77 million urban residents into poverty by 2030
Nov 04, 2016

According to a world bank report By 2030,  Climate change may push up to 77 million more urban residents into poverty, if no  significant investment being made to make cities more resilient.

What is city resilience:

Resilience as the ability of a system, entity, community, or person to adapt to a variety of changing conditions and to withstand shocks while still maintaining its essential functions.

Urban resilience is a critical element of sustainable development. Investing in resilience contributes to long-term sustainability by ensuring current development gains are safeguarded for future generations. Resilience focuses especially on learning to prepare for, approaches to sustainability. 

Why Urban resilience matters:

Investing in urban resilience is critical in achieving sustainable development as well as the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity by 2030. Rapid urbanization and increasing exposure to hazards threaten to drive the risk of stresses and shocks to dangerous and unpredictable levels with systemic global impact

The growing exposure of cities to natural and man-made hazards represents a real challenge to the global sustainable development agenda. Increasing climate and disaster risks, together with poverty and inequality, undermine sustainable urban development.

The scale of population growth in most towns and cities has overwhelmed the capacity of many municipal governments. Larger and more densely populated cities mean not only that more people and assets are exposed to hazards, but also that the characteristics of the urban ecological system or environment are changed, potentially increasing the level of disaster risk

Why Resilience matters to poor:

There is a growing awareness of the urban resilience-poverty linkages. Poverty is urbanizing and the urban poor, especially those in informal settlements, are increasingly faced with risks to their lives, health and livelihoods. More than 880 million urban residents were estimated to live in slums in 2014, an increase of 11 percent since 2000. Regionally, more than 30 percent of city residents in South Asia and nearly 60 percent in subSaharan Africa live in slums. (U N-Habitat, 2016b). Slums generally have lower levels of infrastructure and services and are more exposed to hazards of varying types. In addition, the majority of internally displaced people and refugees are increasingly settling in cities, and represent a special class of vulnerable people.

 The expansion of informal settlements can create patterns of sprawl to which it is difficult and expensive to extend risk-reducing infrastructure and services. It may also create new environmental and health risks for a city – for instance, informal settlements in watersheds increase exposure to flooding both within these settlements and for urban areas downstream. Urbanization can also contribute to changing precipitation and temperature patterns within the city region

 Risks faced by the urban poor relate to their limited economic base, location, low access to risk-reducing infrastructure and services as well as inadequate governance and disaster risk management. 

■ The urban poor often cannot afford safe housing and lack assets to cope with shocks and stresses. 
■ Many poor neighborhoods are located in or close to hazardous zones which impose adverse costs on their residents.
■ Poor cities and communities are usually deficient in basic infrastructure and services that can substantially reduce exposure to natural and manmade hazards. 
■ In this sense, the resilience of the urban poor is heavily tied to the quality of governance and government capacity to properly plan and manage public infrastructure required to reduce the risks faced by their lower-income residents. Finally, disaster risk management requires that local governments engage with households and communities at risk, taking into account the specific concerns of the urban poor especially

World Urbanisation key facts

⇒ Globally, more people live in urban areas than in rural areas, with 54 per cent of the world’s population residing in urban areas in 2014. In 1950, 30 per cent of the world’s population was urban, and by 2050, 66 per cent of the world’s population is projected to be urban.

⇒ Most urbanized regions include Northern America (82 per cent living in urban areas in 2014), Latin America and the Caribbean (80 per cent), and Europe (73 per cent). In contrast, Africa and Asia remain mostly rural, with 40 and 48 per cent of their respective populations living in urban areas. 

⇒ All regions are expected to urbanize further over the coming decades. Africa and Asia are urbanizing faster than the other regions and are projected to become 56 and 64 per cent urban, respectively, by 2050.

⇒ The urban population of the world has grown rapidly since 1950, from 746 million to 3.9 billion in 2014. Asia, despite its lower level of urbanization, is home to 53 per cent of the world’s urban population, followed by Europe (14 per cent) and Latin America and the Caribbean (13 per cent).

⇒  Close to half of the world’s urban dwellers reside in relatively small settlements of less than 500,000 inhabitants, while only around one in eight live in the 28 mega-cities with more than 10 million inhabitants.

What is needed to make cities more resilient

 Finance:Significant financing is needed to invest in urban resilience. The global need for urban infrastructure investment amounts to U SD 4.5 - 5.4 trillion per year, of which an estimated premium of 9–27 percent is required to make this infrastructure low-emissions and climate resilient 

⇒ Government capacity – Capacity constraints include: the inability to plan and implement resilience investments; inability to generate sufficient revenue to meet existing obligations and maintain on-going programs, adversely impacting their creditworthiness; national legal and regulatory systems that deter private investment; political uncertainty; and general challenges to infrastructure development.

 Private sector confidence – This is driven by some governance constraints (financial regulations and complexity, the policy environment including corruption, political uncertainty, absence of financeable proposals) as well as lack of data and standards to benchmark asset performance.

⇒ Project preparation – Limited government experience with project identification and preparation - and limited resources to commit to project preparation - means that the pipeline of well-developed, financeable urban infrastructure and resilience projects offered to investors is limited.

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