- World Resources Institute India
This event aims at exploring ways in which city governments use, or intend to use, community knowledge in developing methods of building resilience to climate change in vulnerable communities of Asian cities. To this end, this side event will help in fulfilling the commitment to prioritize social inclusion in achieving 'environmentally sustainable and resilient urban development', and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 11 and 13.
With climate change, cities are increasingly exposed to a range of hazards such as, severe and prolonged droughts, intense rains, and increased temperatures. 'The number of deaths attributed to natural disasters continues to rise, despite progress in implementing disaster risk reduction strategies. From 1990 to 2015, more than 1.6 million people died in internationally reported natural disasters' (SDG 13, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform). The loss of livelihoods and impacts on social and economic assets, public health, and physical infrastructure that may continue to challenge the lives of vulnerable people, are seldom accounted for. As the world continues to urbanize, climate change is expected to increase the intensity and frequency of existing hazards, as well as usher in new climate risks.
The World Resources Institute has developed a 'resilience strategy' tool called the Urban Community Resilience Assessment (UCRA) that incorporates local knowledge from urban poor communities using participatory data collection methodologies, to help cities identify a list of potential interventions to improve emergency response mechanisms at the city or sub-city level. The UCRA identifies differentiated needs for resilience planning in urban poor communities at the household and community level, focusing on current and future climate risks. The tool is structured into three aspects – 1) assessing vulnerability across the city (based on exposure to hazards, socio-economic characteristics and access to services), 2) mapping collective community resilience potentials (based on social networks, community preparedness, political engagement, and conditions of the built environment); and 3) assessing individuals' capacities to respond to climate risks and extremes (based on communication, risk perception, and economic resources).
Over the last year, the UCRA tool was applied in three cities – Rio de Janeiro, Surat and Semarang – through a project funded by the Joint Work Program (JWP) for Resilient Cities, hosted by Cities Alliance. The JWP for Resilient Cities adopts a comprehensive approach of 'building resilience at every level – by empowering individuals, supporting communities, and strengthening institutional and government capacity.' Moreover, this project, and the prospect of co-hosting this event with support from Cities Alliance, aligns with the JWP's broader aim: 'to strengthen global partnerships and local resilience strategies to facilitate the flow of knowledge and resources and enhance city resilience tools, approaches, and capacity development interventions within long-term urban planning processes that also address informality and the working urban poor'. At this event, city officials will discuss the UCRA process and reflect on the learnings and benefits of applying this tool. Speakers will draw attention to the relevance of community knowledge for better urban planning and management, to ensure 'more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable' cities and communities.