Post by Gino Van Begin, ICLEI Secretary General
2015 is a milestone year, one which will define how the world responds to disasters, the persistent drivers and incipient impacts of climate change, and the barriers to achieving sustainable, inclusive, and equitable development for the world’s 7 billion plus inhabitants over the next two decades. As global population centres, cities have a crucial role and responsibility to promote proactive, progressive frameworks that will advance transformative actions at the local and international level. Decisions taken this year will impact our collective goals and vision for the quality of life of our citizens, and set the tone for the New Urban Agenda to be adopted at the Habitat III conference in 2016.
It is against this backdrop that we convene the first Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific congress. Resilience is a common thread in these global discussions and in how we imagine our urban future. It also addresses an urgent need to prepare our cities to “survive and thrive” in the face of growing risks and preventable losses from climate change.
ICLEI has been working to build resilient communities since the early 2000s. Under our Resilient City Agenda, we apply best practices from our network to develop regional adaptation tools and methods, some of which will be presented here. We also support commitments like the Durban Adaptation Charter and the Compact of Mayors to raise the profile of local governments’ adaptation actions.
It was to complement these efforts that ICLEI launched the Resilient Cities congress series in 2010. The series provides a platform for experts and practitioners to exchange ideas, challenges, and solutions for building local resilience, weaving together disaster risk reduction, climate adaptation, and sustainable development planning. After five successful global congresses, we are delighted to expand the series to the Asia-Pacific.
I look forward to discussing the region’s particular challenges and to exploring with you the possibilities for enacting transformative change from the ground up.