Sustainable Urbanization: Cities in a Changing Climate.
Thursday, 25 March 2010
09:00 – 18:30
“Urbanization is no evil, yet a well done urbanization brings up sustainability potentials.”
Bigeorgi, Denmark, Extract from the E-Debate on Inclusive Sustainable Urbanization,2009.
The main objective of Dialogue 6 and the related Thematic Open Debates is to present policies and practices that cities, governments and communities around the world are embracing to address the challenges of climate change. As the locus of vulnerable populations and the hub of economic activities that emit greenhouse gases, the city occupies a special place in the climate change debate. At the same time, local leaders increasingly are at the forefront of efforts to increase resiliency to extreme climate events and to cut carbon emissions. They are reaching out to new partners, breaking down bureaucratic walls, setting ambitious targets and embracing new tools to confront climate change. Participants in Dialogue 6 and the related Thematic Open Debates will explore cutting-edge, integrated approaches that cities are taking to adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while at the same time addressing the “right to the city” concerns of social inequality, spatial segregation and inadequate housing that were raised in previous dialogues, all in pursuit of sustainable urban development.
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Background document 1
Background document 2
Click here to know more about the speakers and panellists
About the programme
The discussions under this theme will take place in room W4-4, and will be organised as follows:
|1. Dialogue 6 ||09:00 – 11:30||Sustainable Urbanization: Cities in a Changing Climate|
|2. Thematic Open Debate ||13:30 – 15:00||Reducing vulnerabilities to climate change|
|3. Thematic Open Debate ||15:30 – 17:00||Promoting inclusive and environmentally sustainable cities|
|4. Thematic Concluding Session||17:30 – 18:30||Concluding debate|
About the Sessions
The Dialogue will be organized in four segments. The first segment will primarily address broad concepts and ideas. The second and third segments (Thematic Open Debates) will mainly focus on how to replicate successful practices in reducing urban vulnerability and enhancing sustainability. The final segment will summarize the key points and identify possible ways forward.
|Dialogue 6 |
|Title:||Sustainable Urbanization: Cities in a Changing Climate|
|Day, Time & Venue:||Thursday 25 March 2010, from 09:00 to 11:30, W4-4|
|Objective:||How cities, governments and communities around the world are facing the challenges of climate change will be the theme of the dialogue on “Sustainable Urbanization: Cities in a Changing Climate.” Being hosts to vulnerable populations and sources of greenhouse gases, cities have a special role to play in the climate change debate. Local leaders more and more stand at the forefront of efforts to increase resiliency to extreme climate events and to cut carbon emissions. They are reaching out to new partners, setting ambitious targets and embracing new tools to confront climate change. Participants will explore the cutting-edge, integrated approaches that enable cities to adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while at the same time bridging the urban divide.|
|Topics to be Covered:|
- Addressing climate change in the broader framework of environmental, economic and equitable sustainability;
- strengthening local capacities so as to provide for more robust inter-governmental coordination and local-national dialogue;
- reducing vulnerabilities and increasing resilience to climate change in the context of social inclusiveness; and achieving low-carbon and inclusive economic growth.
|Key Questions to be addressed:||Forward-thinking officials and thought leaders will kick off Dialogue 6 by positioning the debate over cities and climate change within the broader framework of sustainable urban development. How are cities around the world confronting climate change while at the same time addressing the broader issues of environmental, economic and equitable sustainability? How can cities effectively engage communities – including marginalized groups – in planning adaptation measures? Where are the ‘low hanging fruit’ – sectors where reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can be made at the lowest economic and political costs? What complementarities – or trade-offs – exist between undertaking mitigation and adaptation actions at the local level? How can we strengthen local-national coordination and dialogue so as to provide for more effective responses to climate change? How can cities make sure their concerns are integrated in a future global climate agreement?|
|Thematic Open Debate|
|Title:||Reducing vulnerabilities to climate change|
|Day, Time & Venue:||Thursday 25 March 2010, from 13:30 to 15:00, W4-4|
|Objective and outline:||This debate develops the notion that confronting sea level rise, heat waves, increased cyclonic activity and changing patterns of precipitation involves more than just addressing physical vulnerabilities. It is true that pinpointing populations and infrastructure facilities that are at risk represents an important starting point. Yet a look at cities around the world confirms that it is generally the poor and marginalized who are the victims of floods, landslides and other disasters. This is because those groups can only afford to build their homes in slums and informal settlements that lack basic services, secure tenure and access to finance and insurance, and that often lie in harm’s way. In such precarious settlements, social and environmental vulnerability comes together. Therefore climate change impacts must be addressed within a framework that acknowledges the presence of the urban divide, and embraces social inclusiveness as an important part of sustainable urbanization.|
|Topics to be Covered:||How can cities:|
- Help reduce the vulnerability of the urban poor to climate change impacts, without using climate change as a pretext for forced evictions?
- Develop more inclusive adaptation measures that help all members of a given urban area cope with climate change, while avoiding negative ‘downstream’ impacts?
- Mainstream vulnerability reduction measures into the policy, regulatory and procedural tools that local governments already use?
- Plan for urban growth and climate-proof infrastructure in a world of imperfect knowledge, where down-scaled climate projections may yield imprecise or even contradictory projections at the city level?
How can cities’ partners:
- Help to strengthen the technical, financial, institutional and human capabilities that cities require to address climate change?
- Develop climatic projections that are more useful at the local level?
- Effectively provide cities in developing countries with access to the funds for climate change adaptation that the global North and the emerging economies have promised?
|Thematic Open Debate |
|Title:||Promoting inclusive andenvironmentally sustainable cities.|
|Day, Time & Venue:||Thursday 25 March 2010, from 15:30 to 17:00, W4-4|
|Objective:||How can cities position themselves on low carbon growth trajectories? This debate will explore the thesis that reductions in carbon emissions do not have to result in economic loss. On the contrary, controls on urban sprawl and measures to promote smart growth can help cities regain the traditional economies of scale resulting from urban agglomeration. Inclusive urban transport and environmentally sound basic services can help cities attract and retain desirable employers. Furthermore the “greening” of buildings can reduce greenhouse gas emissions while cutting energy costs, and provide for a healthier, more productive work environment.|
Ecosystems in or around cities offer important benefits and services related to environmental sustainability and, more specifically, climate change impacts. Ecosystems extract carbon from the air, buffer communities against sea level rise and extreme climate events, filter water, and so on. Sustainable urban development thus involves reducing our ecological footprint while exploring opportunities for low carbon economic growth and green jobs.
Topics to be Covered:
|How can cities:|
- Reduce their carbon footprint, while at the same time fostering inclusive economic development?
- Re-invent urban planning practices, and re-engineer urban systems such as urban transport, energy, water and sanitation, to reduce their ecological footprint?
- Take advantage of the services that ecosystems offer in a sustainable manner?
- Effectively engage the informal sector in low carbon economic growth?
How can cities’ partners:
- Retool financial mechanisms so as to provide cities in developing countries with increased access to carbon finance?
- Support Local Economic Development processes that open pathways for an inclusive green economy?
- Promote green building practices?
|Thematic Concluding Session|
|Day, Time & Venue:||Thursday 25 March 2010, from 15:30 to 17:00, W4-4|
|Moderators and speakers in the main dialogue and related thematic open debates:||The provisional lists of moderators and speakers include the following: |
- Mr. John Vidal, Journalist, the Guardian's environment editor (tbc)
- Prof. David Simon, Professor of Development Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London
- Mr. Konrad Otto Zimmerman, Secretary General, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
- Mr. Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary, Dept. Housing and Urban Development USA
- Ms. Martha Delgado, Environment Secretary, Government of Mexico City, Vice-Chair of ICLEI (tbc)
- Mr. Jan Vapaavuori, Minister of Housing, Finland
- Ms. Marina Silva, Senator, former Minister of Environment, Brazil (tbc)
- Mr. Arvin F. Gadskill, Junior Minister, responsible for Climate Change, Norway
- Mr. Makhtar Diop, Country Director Brazil, World Bank
- Mr. Mohamed Faiz, Deputy Minister of Housing, Transport and Environment, the Maldives (tbc)
- Ms. Khady Diagne, ENDA, Senegal
- Ms. Vandana Charan, Huairou Commission, India
- Mr. Alexander Muller, Assistant Director General, FAO (tbc)
- Mr. Alain Lecomte, General Inspector for sustainable development, France
- Mr. Peter Orn, Chairman of the Delegation for Sustainable Cities, Sweden
- Mr. Wim Elfrink, Chief Globalization Officer, Cisco
- Ms. Petal Thring, Dept. of Local Government and Housing, Gauteng Province, South Africa (tbc)
- Prof. Mao Qizhi, Tsinghua University, Urban Planning and Urban Development, China
- Mr. Jorge Wilheim, Urban Planner, Brazil
Main Language of the Presentations:
English, Spanish and Portuguese, with simultaneous translation.
Contact Person at UN-HABITAT (plus contact details):
|Mr. Rafael Tuts, |
Chief, Urban Environmental Planning Branch, UN-HABITAT