The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and UN-Habitat Pakistan recently held a fundraising event for the "Resilient Cities" project in 31 cities of Pakistan.
A child on a bridge after floods in Islamabad, Pakistan © UN-Habitat
The project aims to establish sustainable Disaster Resilient and Healthy cities and townships in the disaster prone regions of the country. Hosted by Dr. Zafar Iqbal Qadir, Chairman of NDMA, the fundraising event was attended by government officials, Capital Development Authority (CDA), UN Resident Coordinator and donor agencies.
The Making Cities Resilient: 'My City is getting ready!' campaign, an initiative of UNISDR was launched in Pakistan in October 2011 to address issues of local governance and urban risk. UN-Habitat joined hands with NDMA and ISDR to move this initiative forward.
By 2030, it is estimated that the urban population of Pakistan will double and 50% of the total population will be residing in urban areas. The rapid population growth and lack of institutional framework contribute to unplanned developments, environmental degradation and poor services rendering these cities vulnerable to disasters and the impacts of climate change.
In his address to the guests, the NDMA chairman acknowledged the role of cities in development, prosperity and innovation. He further said that cities and towns will soon be home to two thirds of the global population which will present risk of exposure to natural hazards.
"Having experienced large scale disasters in the last three years, it is time to remodel our cities and make them resilient to natural hazards. Through the launch of this project, we have identified some of the most vulnerable cities and will try to implement disaster risk reduction measures in public infrastructures, implement building codes, climate change preparedness; city development plans and other areas of urban livelihood," said the NDMA chairman
UN-Habitat Country Programme Manager, Siamak Moghaddam was grateful to all the guests for their participation and the government of Pakistan for supporting the Resilient Cities campaign. He explained the New Habitat Initiative in collaboration with the UNISDR 'City Resilience Profiling Programme' that provides national and local governments with tools for measuring and increasing resilience to multi-hazard impacts including those associated with climate change.
"This project will extend till four years and will require patience from the Government of Pakistan and the community. The first and foremost step is to strengthen the capacity of the local target cities, only then will we be successful in completing this project," said Mr. Moghaddam
The project is expected to start in early January 2013 and will assimilate DRR strategies in the respective cities. With a total requirement of US$ 20,500,920, UN-Habitat and the implementing partners hope to raise adequate funds to achieve the project goal through a range of participatory planning processes incorporating climate change and DRR activities.