Post by Emani Kumar, Executive Director, ICLEI South Asia; Deputy Secretary General, ICLEI
We are now living in a rapidly urbanizing world. In regions like Asia-Pacific more than 30 percent of the total population is agglomerated in cities and towns, a figure which is set to increase. Cities are centres of economic activity and consumption, contributing significantly to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Due to the concentration of both population and economically and socially valuable assets and services, cities are highly vulnerable to stresses and shocks induced by numerous climate change impacts such as landslides, urban flooding, heat waves, sea-level rise, degradation of eco systems and more.
No city can be made entirely safe from natural hazards, but they can be made more resilient. And this is where we step in! Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific 2015 aims to provide a regional platform for urban resilience and climate change adaptation. We, through this event, aspire to create lasting partnerships to identify implementable solutions and create indelible impacts for cities in the region.
Urban governments are at the heart of successful urban adaptation because so much of this depends on local assessments and integrating adaptation into local investments, policies and regulatory frameworks. Therefore it has become imperative for local governments to act. The way cities are governed, planned and organised defines the quality of life as well as the social and economic opportunities of their inhabitants to a large extent. With a high potential for increasing resource efficiency they can also contribute significantly to making the wider geographical area and eventually the country in which they are located more resilient.
I look forward to seeing new partnerships emerge that can be an inspiration for many; and hope that each one of us present here will make the most of this event and the numerous productive sessions over the next 3 days.