The threats posed by climate change are increasing all over the world and cities are at the forefront of increasing loss and damages incurred by flooding, drought, extreme heat, sea-level rise, and more. Urban centers cannot act on climate change mitigation alone but must focus on urban resilience too.
That’s where the Cities Race to Resilience comes into play. Launched on 8 July 2021 as a track of the Race to Resilience, the campaign is a global initiative to mobilize action on climate resilience ahead of COP26. A sibling of the Cities Race To Zero campaign, Cities Race to Resilience calls attention to the urgent need to build global climate resilience in a way that prioritizes people and nature, and enables vulnerable communities to thrive in spite of climate shocks and stresses.
In the words of Nigel Topping, UK High-Level Climate Action Champion, “building resilience is an essential element of global climate action, especially for communities most affected by the climate crisis. The aim of the Cities Race to Resilience is to place those voices front and center, and ensure that climate resilience goals are treated with the same if not greater urgency as our race to halve emissions by 2030.”
As part of their commitment to the Cities Race to Resilience, mayors and local leaders pledge to integrate climate change adaptation and resilience in all aspects of urban planning, and undertake a community-wide climate risk and vulnerability assessment that specifically addresses vulnerable communities. The commitment also requires cities to take immediate action and report progress annually.
Kobie Brand, ICLEI Deputy Secretary-General and Regional Director of ICLEI Africa, also expresses full support for the launch of the Cities Race to Resilience.
It is no coincidence that Cities Race to Resilience was launched at Asia Pacific Climate Week. Indeed, the Asia and Pacific region is one of the most vulnerable to climate change impacts due to its densely populated coastal cities, extreme-events-prone cities, and low-lying inhabited islands. With extreme weather events expected to intensify and rising sea levels already impacting the lives of many, climate resilience in the region is urgent and crucial.
“The steps we take now will help secure our future,” said Abigail Binay, Mayor of Makati City, the Philippines, and ICLEI Global Executive Committee Member. Makati is the first city to officially join the Cities Race to Resilience. “I vow to serve as a critical voice toward meeting the goals of the UNFCCC Race to Resilience campaign, which aims to help communities build resilience and adapt to the impacts of climate change,” said Mayor Binay.
Global city partners of the Cities Race to Resilience include the Resilient Cities Network, C40 Cities, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), Resilient Cities Network, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), CDP, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and World Resources Institute (WRI).