Primer Offers Climate-resilient Cities' Case Studies

"Climate Resilient Cities" is a joint World Bank and United Nations' "primer" written to help cities identify their level of vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and learn how to reduce their risks.

While the primer focuses on the vulnerabilities of East Asian cities, it emphasizes sound practices that are applicable around the world. The document provides examples from Albuquerque, New Mexico, which has instituted a new energy efficiency guide for new buildings, and Makati City, the Philippines, which is aiming to reduce vehicular traffic by building more elevated walkways and green spaces. It also enables cities to decide whether they are in a climate "hot spot" and evaluate the consequences of factors such as temperature rise, change in precipitation, and sea-level rise on their cities' key infrastructure.

"The degree of impact from which cities suffer from climate change will ultimately depend on the actions and initiatives local governments take to build a more climate-resilient city," said Jim Adams, vice president for the World Bank for the East Asia and Pacific Region.

"City officials need to understand characteristics that make their cities vulnerable to disaster risk and develop a strategy to deal with it. They need to 'climate-proof' cities to protect the urban population and property from extreme weather induced by climate change."

With more people moving into cities each month, East Asia's urban population is expected to double by 2030. Many of the region's "mega cities," are also at the center of economic growth. But with climate change bringing a rise in sea levels, East Asian cities are facing greater risk from storm surges and annual flooding. A projected one-meter rise in sea levels could lead to a two percent loss of Gross Domestic Product as a result of shortages in fresh water, impacts on agriculture and fisheries, disruption of tourism, and reduced energy security. China, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam are expected to be most affected by rising sea levels.

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