Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ten Asian cities leading the way in climate-proofing

T. V. Padma in SciDev.net: Ten cities in South and South-East Asia will be the first in the world to use indicators to assess how resilient they are to climate change, a speaker at the Planet Under Pressure conference has told SciDev.Net. The indicators are the work of the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN), set up in 2008 as a response to projections that the number of people living in cities will increase from today's 50 per cent of the world population to 70 per cent by 2050.

Asian cities will account for the majority of this increase (60 per cent), and nearly half of future urban growth is expected in smaller cities and towns, mostly those with fewer than half a million people now. Stephen Tyler, a senior research associate at the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition, Canada, told the conference yesterday (26 March) that rapidly growing Asian cities stand at a crossroads in how they respond to the impacts of climate change.

He said they could either emerge as "refuges of climate resilience", offering prospects for new jobs and economic growth, or could face even higher levels of poverty.

ACCCRN, which runs until 2014, and is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, is helping three cities each from India and Vietnam, and two each from Indonesia and Thailand, to identify their risks, and the indicators will help assess their strategies to cope with climate change impacts.

Key aspects of resilient urban systems include climate-sensitive land use and urban planning; drainage, flood and solid waste management; resilient housing and transport systems; urban water management; and flexible livelihoods for those affected by climate change....

Nguyen Trai Street, in Can Tho, Vietnam, shot by Dragfyre, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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