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Development Account Projects

Capacity development for cities in Asia and the Pacific to increase resilience to climate change impacts


In the face of the changing global climate, the future of millions of people in Asia and the Pacific will be determined by the pace and quality of adaptation and mitigation undertaken by its cities. The region is home to more than 4 billion people with the urban population growing at the rate of 2.4 percent per annum. Significant climate change pressures will challenge environmental sustain-ability, the structure of economies, patterns of settlements, livelihood and employment. It is, there-fore, imperative for the urban sector to take action and to be part of the global discourse on climate change.

This project will support capacity development of local governments in Asia and the Pacific, ena-bling them to increase their resilience to climate change impacts. Through this project, the experi-ence/learnings of the pilot initiative of UN-Habitat's Cities in Climate Change Initiative (CCCI – www.unhabitat.org/ccci) in Sorsogon City, Philippines, which developed a community-based vul-nerability and adaptation assessment methodology, will be replicated and shared across the Re-gion. ESCAP's experience in addressing climate change impacts on cities as well as mitigating climate change (through its support of CDM projects and promoting energy efficient urban infra-structure) and its experience in developing capacity development tools for local governments and other stakeholders will be harnessed. To strengthen a regional partnership approach, UN-HABITAT and ESCAP will closely coordinate the development, dissemination and replication of the project's capacity development tools with partners in Asia and the Pacific. Already, both organiza-tions work closely with a number of partners, such as ICLEI – Local Councils for Sustainability, Rockefeller Foundation (RF), World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN-ISDR), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), Citynet, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Network of Local Government Training and Research Institutes in Asia and the Pacific (LOGOTRI), International Urban Training Centre (IUTC) in Korea and others. This project aims to strengthen these partnerships through experience sharing, tool development and strengthening of the regional partnership approach.

Specifically, this project will undertake two inter-related streams of activities:

1. In selected cities vulnerability and adaptation assessments and the exploration of adaptation options will be conducted and documented. Opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will also be sought, and where"quick-wins"are possible, they will be documented. Countries to be particularly targeted for assistance by UN-Habitat, ESCAP and the other partners, are the island countries of Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka and the Pacific SIDS: Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.

2. It will strengthen regional cooperation and knowledge sharing mechanisms on climate risk management. The project will develop a “Quick Guide on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience in Urban Poor Communities in Asia and the Pacific” aimed primarily at local governments, but also other stakeholders including organizations of the urban poor and their support NGOs and networks. . Apart from a discussion of principles and approaches and an introduction to various tools (including those documented under 1), the Quick Guide will also feature some good practices of climate change adaptation and increased resilience by urban poor communities. For this purpose, a selection from global collections of good practices addressing climate change that are already being undertaken (such as the Climate Action Map http://www.climateactionmap.org/), will be complimented by 5 newly researched innovative and pro-poor Asia-Pacific regional case studies.

In conjunction, the Quick Guide and the existing tool supporting the above development of vulner-ability assessments, aim to assist in redirecting urban development towards more sustainable paths based on urban planning and management approaches, focusing on the most vulnerable people, places and sectors. The development of the vulnerability assessment and dissemination of the Quick Guide will be undertaken jointly with above regional partners to strengthen a coordinated regional approach.


To enhance capacities of local Governments in Asia and the Pacific to address climate change adapta-tion and mitigation

Expected accomplishments:

  • Increased local government awareness and capacity to conduct integrated climate change vulner-ability assessments and develop adaptation and mitigation options
  • Strengthened regional cooperation and knowledge sharing mechanisms on climate risk manage-ment, including through sharing of good practices

Implementation status:

The Development Account Project, Capacity development for cities in Asia and the Pacific to increase resilience to climate change impacts, supports six local governments in the development of climate change vulnerability and adaptation assessments and the formulation of action plans, namely: Lami (Fiji), Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea), Olongapo (Philippines), Batticaloa and Negombo (Sri Lanka) and Port Vila (Vanuatu).

On the local level this significantly increased the capacities of the municipalities to address climate change and disaster risk reduction as UN-Habitat built the capacities and mentored local governments to conduct assessments and identify adaptation options. On the national level, the local action has resulted in greater recognition of the necessity to address climate change in urban policies, strategies and plans and to mainstream the urban dimension in the national climate change response.

On the Asia-Pacific level the collective experience of the cities has led to a better understanding of urban climate change vulnerability and to a revision of the vulnerability assessment and climate change planning tool to the benefit of other local governments aiming to replicate the process developed. The development of a quick guide for policy makers brought together key international and regional players on urban risk reduction and climate change. In response to an open call, a large number of good practices were submitted and under ESCAP’s leadership over 30 good practices are being documented.

UN-HABITAT, UNESCAP and the Rockefeller Foundation have agreed to jointly publish the Quick Guide as it brings together lessons learnt from their collective climate change programmes. UN-Habitat and the Rockefeller Foundation aim to jointly support up to 100 cities in their resilience building in the Asia and Pacific Region and the Quick Guide and partnership forged through this process will support this process. This partnership is already being planned to survive the project as the translation of the Quick Guide and the broad dissemination are being planned with the support of the 8th Tranche of the Development Account.