SRSGs remarks at the Meeting of UCLG’s Policy Council on Safer, Resilient and Sustainable Cities, Capable of Facing Crises
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Meeting of UCLG’s Policy Council on Safer, Resilient and Sustainable Cities, Capable of Facing Crises
11 February 2021, 15:00-17:00 (Virtually)
Distinguished Policy Councillors,
I thank you for giving me this opportunity to address you today as a proud partner of UCLG.
May I start by saying that it has been said countless times over the past year that Covid-19 is a tragic reminder on how critical it is for cities and local governments to manage and reduce risk.
This may be the first time we experience a pandemic of this scale, but it may not be the last. We cannot let the impact we are all feeling be repeated.
The impact is immense with some 100 million people estimated to be pushed back into poverty.
The most vulnerable have been hit the hardest as in all disasters, and this includes cities in developing countries, with around 1 billion people living in dense, overcrowded informal settlements with poor access to basic services.
The challenges we face to build safer, resilient and sustainable cities are not new.
The importance of looking at multi-sectoral coordination; the necessity to reduce risks at their root causes; the need to invest in good risk governance; the urgency of a multi-hazard approach.
These are things we have been talking about for many years. And now I believe we have a path for action in which UCLG is a core partner. Please allow me to talk about this.
Over the past decade through the Making Cities Resilient Campaign, more than 4,300 cities and local governments joined and raised awareness on disaster risk reduction and resilience. The number seems large, but as this distinguished body would recognize immediately, it is actually very small when compared with the total number of local governments around the world.
We need to scale up: more cities, more engagement, more implementation.
And this is why we have felt the urgent need to move from advocacy to action, and launched the Making Cities Resilient 2030 Initiative, MCR2030, last year at the ICLEI Daring Cities Conference. This is the result of a two-year consultation with cities, local governments, partners and stakeholders. It builds on the experience of many institutions who have been working with cities on resilience issues, including UCLG, ICLEI, Resilient Cities Network and UN-HABITAT, among others. These institutions have all become core partners. I am delighted to announce that Ms Emilia Sainz, your Secretary General, has agreed to Co-Chair the Global Coordinating Committee with myself.
MCR2030 provides a clear three-stage resilience roadmap for cities; first to enhance knowledge on risk and resilience, second to put in place disaster risk reduction and resilience strategies, and finally, implementation and action to strengthen resilience.
MCR2030 leverages the knowledge and expertise of partners in a grand alliance, providing tangible steps to take and a way to connect with others.
Cities and partners that sign-up will have access to tools and services provided by a wide range of organizations which will help them take actions and progress along the resilience roadmap. These tools and cities’ progress can be measured and monitored through access to an online dashboard.
As I have mentioned, our resolve is to make MCR2030 a vehicle to support cities around the world to reduce the underlying risk and to strengthen resilience, and through this process, we envisage MCR2030 to become the central space for cities and their partners to meet, to share joint experiences and expertise and to form bonds.
We launched the dashboard just ten days ago, but already our member cities represent nearly 34 million people.
Local leaders who are at the front line know first-hand that resilience is not built overnight. It is a long-term process and cities are at different points on that journey. Some cities will need more support and guidance as they move along the pathway to resilience and this is what MCR 2030 will provide.
National governments and national associations of municipalities have a critical role to play in this, especially in strengthening the link with local governments and forging strong partnerships at the local level for more efficient implementation.
That is why we are delighted that UCLG is with us along this journey, co-creating MCR2030 and now a Core Partner. We look to your continued guidance and support to engage local governments around the world to build resilient communities together.