Urban resilience

Urban resilience
Everyone should have a future where they are not threatened by disasters - local governments are on the frontline of efforts towards this goal

The world’s population passed 8 billion in late 2022 with much of the increase concentrated in urban areas, where more than 80 percent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is generated. By 2030, 60 percent of people will live in urban areas. These cities, towns, and settlements are already home to many of the world’s development challenges – as well as many of its opportunities.

The Political Declaration of the midterm review of the Sendai Framework, adopted by countries at the UN General Assembly in May 2023, provided clear recommendations to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement on Climate Change by making cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.

UNDRR has a growing portfolio of accessible tools to support local governments to scale up their ambition and action from understanding their climate and disaster risks to implementing solutions. UNDRR also leads the Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030) global collaboration that has mobilized national and local governments and a ‘who’s who’ of international partners committed to urban resilience.

At a glance

 The area around Quincy Market, Shopping Center and Restaurants in Boston
While the city population share doubled from 25 per cent in 1950 to about 50 per cent in 2020, it is projected to slowly increase to 58 per cent over the next 50 years.“ (UN Habitat 2022)
Flooding in Careiro Da Varzea Brazil 2016
Of the 100 fastest growing cities in the world by population, 84 are at extreme risk of severe climate change risks, with a further 14 at a high risk. Among the total amount of rapidly growing cities, over 95% of the 234 cities considered at extreme risk are in Africa and Asia. At the other end of the spectrum, 86% of the 292 low risk cities are located in Europe and the Americas. (Verisk Maplecrot 2018)
Women covering her head from the sun
By 2050, 1.6 billion people living in over 970 cities will be regularly exposed to extreme high temperatures; over 800 million people, living in 570 cities, will be vulnerable to sea level rise and coastal flooding (Acclimatise 2018)

Challenges  

  • Inter-connected risk drivers (i.e., povertyinequalityunplanned urban developmentweak governancedecline of ecosystems) are creating an urban landscape of multiple shocks, pressures, and increased vulnerabilities.   
  • Systems level crises are heavily impacting urban areas. Many cities face vulnerabilities in terms of water, food, health, energy, and ecosystems as well as climate and conflict-driven urban migration.
  • Rapid urbanization has increased this exposure and vulnerability to disaster risk. This is particularly the case in urban areas in LDCs and SIDS, as well as in smaller, and medium-sized cities and peri-urban areas in all contexts.
  • There has been limited progress in the development of local disaster risk reduction strategies as well as access to quality data and reliable risk information. Existing solutions, such as from the private sector, are not being shared at scale.
  • Significant gaps persist in terms of local capacities, inclusive and integrated risk reduction strategies as well as access to data and finance.
SDG11 Sustainable cities & communities
Sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11)
Land-use policy and urban planning should mainstream DRR, local DRR strategies should be supported by relevant legislation, infrastructure regulations and risk-informed land-use planning, and multi-hazard urban risk assessments be updated to strengthen resilience – as supported in Making Cities Resilient 2030.
Sendai Targets A, B, C, D & E all promote more sustainable cities and communities.

Policy recommendations  

The Political Declaration of the midterm review of the Sendai Framework highlighted the major gaps in terms of implementation at the local level. To address this lack of progress, the Political Declaration calls on countries and partners to scale up support and action at the local level to strengthen climate and disaster resilience.

Specifically, the political declaration urges countries to:

  • Support and enable all local authorities to have disaster risk reduction strategies and local platforms for disaster risk reduction, or similar mechanisms, in place,
  • Ensure the provision of financial assistance, technical support, and capacity development to strengthen local multi-hazard risk governance and local government leadership on DRR
  • Promote local ownership through community-based disaster risk management approaches and whole-of-society engagement; and
  • Promote exchanges and peer learning between cities through increased participation in the Making Cities Resilient 2030 initiative

News on urban resilience

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Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030)

Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030) is a United Nations-led global partnership that has mobilized national governments, national municipality associations, and local governments, committed to strengthening local disaster and climate resilience.

At the international level, MCR2030 has convened a ‘who’s who’ of partners with unmatched expertise and experience of supporting urban resilience. Specifically, MCR2030 focuses on accelerating progress against Target e) of the Sendai Framework (increased number of local DRR strategies in line with national strategies)

Join MCR2030

 

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