Friday, December 16, 2011

Why city resilience will be an issue at Rio+20

Daniela Hirschfeld in Once, the word of the moment was sustainability, and within years sustainable development became a widely-used to concept. Now, the popular term is "resilience", and the resilience of cities to environmental and social pressures is seen as a major issue for governments and peoples around the world.

This concept underlay many of the events at the Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi (12-15 December), culminating in a panel discussion, "Innovative Cities: Designing for Resiliency and Change", in which the role of technology, green building and access to information were highlighted. On this showing, discusion of sustainable and resilient cities will be an important part of the International Rio+20 conference in Brazil in June 2012.

Resilience is crucial "because it is a flip side of disaster" and "a key component on the path to sustainable development that will become one of the driving forces for the next 30 years as we try to build our own future," said the panel moderator, Jan Hartke, from the Clinton Foundation in the US. "We want to carry this message to Rio+20," he emphasised.
"Cities will be very visible in Rio+20," forecast Susanne Salz, head of the secretary general’s office at Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), an international association of local governments and their associations that have made a commitment to sustainable development.

"In the past we focused on climate change but now it’s resilience because cities are affected by disasters and local governments have to respond. When a city is hit by disasters it needs to bounce back, and people and governments have to learn how to do it," said Salz....

A cable car in Rio, shot by Halley Pacheco de Oliveira, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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