07/02/2018 - PfR at the World Urban Forum, 7-13 February, Kuala Lumpur

The New Urban Agenda comes in at a critical moment, when the first time in history over half of the world’s population is residing in cities. Cities, if planned and managed well, will become the main tool for sustainable development and has a potential to be a solution to many of the challenges our planet is facing today. The New Urban Agenda lays out the vision for future cities based on the science of urban development providing tools in crucial areas.

The Theme of the Ninth session of the World Urban Forum (WUF9) “Cities 2030, Cities for All: Implementing the New Urban Agenda” – places the Forum’s focus on the New Urban Agenda as a tool and accelerator for achieving Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

PfR urges for the following factors to be central to dialogues at the WUF9 and in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda:

People and communities at risk of disasters should be central partners in urban planning and design. Inclusive planning and design processes are necessary to reduce disaster risks and creating safe and inclusive cities where all residents have access to basic public services. Particular attention should be paid to ensuring the inclusion of people living in informal settlements, migrants, refugee, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and other vulnerable groups.

PfR applies an integrated risk management approach that ensures communities are empowered to lead/take decisions. By integrating climate change adaptation and ecosystem management and restoration with disaster risk reduction, we are able to build/strengthen community resilience in urban areas.  Core principles to successful integrated risk management include working on different timescales; recognition of landscapes and ecosystems; strengthening institutional resilience; integrating disciplines; promoting community self-management; stimulating learning; focusing on livelihoods; and forming partnerships.

Promote responsible investments in urban areas. As governments all over the world pursue development initiatives to better the lives of their citizens by improving infrastructure and seek economic growth through various industrious activities, social and environmental risks emanating from investment projects must be minimized. PfR is working with governments, the private sector and communities to advance principles of responsible investments with emphasis on community engagement to ensure that risks are not exacerbated nor created from these investments.

Local Financing for Local Action. While the SDGs, Paris Agreement, New Urban Agenda and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction are global agreements, their success will depend on local actors, leading local action.  Financing for local governments and non-state actors needs to be scaled in order for the ambitious post-2015 development agenda to be realized. In order to realize this, changes in the enabling environment and policy landscape need to happen to ensure that financing does not only reach the local actors, but that they reach them in a timely manner.

Partnerships are crucial to resilience building and sustainable urban development. Diverse coalitions comprised of community members, local governments, academia, civil society and the private sector are necessary to advance practical action in building safe and inclusive cities for all.

Ecosystem-based solutions are key to sustainable urban design and risk reduction. Ecosystem based solutions can help city managers to regulate urban water supply, mitigate storm surge in coastal cities, buffer against flood risks, and reduce the risk of extreme heatwaves. Furthermore, ecosystems can play an important role in providing safe and accessible public spaces. Financing of ecosystem restoration, protection and management in urban and peri-urban places needs to increase in order to effectively utilize natural systems in adapting to a changing climate while increasing community resilience.

The New Urban Agenda resonates with resilience ambitions and commitments in all post-2015 key international policy agreements – they all need action on the ground.  We need to focus on the implementation of the agreements and the important role that local governments and non-party stakeholders play, including communities.

On Cordaid's website you can find more information regarding PfR/Cordaid's work on urban resilience in Indonesia and the Philippines.

 

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