Local Leadership for Climate: Solutions to the Climate Emergency

Source
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

SRSG Mami Mizutori, remarks

Local Leadership for Climate: Solutions to the Climate Emergency

21 September 2019, New York

 

  • The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, adopted in 2015, recognizes the crucial role of local governments and cities in avoiding the creation of new and reducing existing disaster risk and building resilience.
  • Our future is going to be predominantly in urban areas. We must make cities work for us. The imperative is to make cities places where people can live, work and prosper safely. We cannot have a future where people are merely surviving in cities. We want to plan and build a future where people can flourish in cities. Unfortunately, we are not there yet.
  • One metric which illustrates the extent of the challenge is the scale of insured economic losses over the three years since the Sendai Framework was launched estimates at $665 billion. And this is an underestimate of actual losses as complete data is not available from all countries and local governments.
  • Because of climate change, the frequency and intensity of hydro-meteorological events is increasing in intensity and occurrence. We can expect this trend to continue with losses rising exponentially.
  • The outlook is grim and the time for talk is over. Immediate action is a necessity.
  • We know that many disasters can be avoided, prevented, or the impact can be reduced. This means that a risk-informed approach to development is essential to ensure that the creation of new risk is avoided, and that existing risk is reduced.
  • It is encouraging to see an increasing number of local governments recognizing the benefits of risk-informed development. The numbers are increasing, but not at the required scale and speed.
  • 2.5 billion additional people will live in cities by 2050. How will we meet their needs and keep them safe and resilient from changing climate scenarios and other hazards? Could this challenge be an opportunity for change in our behavior?
  • UNDRR is committed to leading action in this area through the Making Cities Resilient Campaign, which has also grown over time; from eight mayors pledging their commitment to urban resilience in 2010, to more than 4,272 cities now having joined.
  • The energy and commitment of these cities is palpable, but it must be scaled-up meaningfully, with evident impact.
  • The original Campaign launched for advocacy purposes in 2010 is due to end in 2020. In consultation with our partners, and in response to a clear request from the cities with which the campaign has worked, I am very pleased to say that we will be continuing this initiative beyond 2020. Emphasis will be in the implementation of DRR strategies.
  • Studies have shown that cities which have taken part in the MCR Campaign tend to perform better on many aspects of disaster risk reduction. Membership of the Campaign has helped the cities develop the capacities of their leadership and staff for reducing disaster risks. The Campaign cities have been more receptive to learning from the experiences of other cities and have been active in sharing their own experiences.
  • Since the beginning of this year, UNDRR has initiated a series of consultations with different stakeholders, including cities. Key areas have been identified for the successor of the current Campaign. These include (1) giving advisory support for improved DRR and resilience planning, climate finance, municipal finance, climate adaptation, (2) improved coordination between National and local governments, and (3) greater partnerships at the local level for more efficient implementation.
  • In addition, we are exploring means to engaging new partners such as IFIs, risk rating agencies, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, municipal bond valuers, equity and fund managers, property valuers and others who can help to link the work on disaster resilience with investments in DRR and growth. The lack of funds has been identified as the biggest challenge in building local resilience to disaster and climate risks and we hope this broadened engagement will help cities to overcome this.
  • We are also exploring mechanisms to create a process of continuous engagement and learning with local governments, through enhanced city-to-city exchanges and mentoring by high achieving cities. Cities need to share their experiences and the lessons they have learned as they address the challenges of changing climate and disaster risks.
  • We are attempting to bring together the service providers and partners who can support cities achieve their disaster resilience goals, through a grand alliance of partners. This alliance includes experienced cities willing to play a role in the promotion of learning and dissemination of knowledge as Resilience Hubs – inspiring mentors for other cities.
  • Delivering local resilience needs collaborative partnership. We are all here for the same reason, and with the same ambition. I seek your commitment to help local governments around the world help make their communities and their investments resilient to disaster and climate risks.
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