At COP23, the 23rd United Nations Climate Change Conference, ICLEI and GLISPA – the Global Island Partnership – launched Front-line Cities and Islands, an initiative uniting islands and coastal cities to advance resilience building. This coalition is supported by a range of regional and international agencies, including the COP23 Presidency.
Initiatives like Front-line are evidence that islands and coastal cities are proactively addressing their vulnerabilities – and doing so through scalable, shareable, integrated solutions.
The actions they take now are critical – and there is little time to waste. The CEO of Lautoka City Council, the second largest city in Fiji, shared a sobering reality today at the Resilient Cities congress. In the past two years, Fiji has been hit by several cyclones and experienced severe drought and flooding. It is clear that climate change is increasingly impacting cities and islands situated on the front lines of global change.
Luckily, the future does not look all grim. More support and solutions are emerging for islands and coastal areas. They are benefiting from global visibility and recognition, particularly after the spotlight was placed on Fiji as COP23 President.
Through Front-line, ICLEI and GLISPA are helping build local capacity by offering towns and cities risk assessment tools and facilitating multistakeholders workshops based on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which outlines clear targets and priorities for action to prevent new and reduce existing disaster risks. Through Front-line, cities and islands also develop joint work programs, share solutions and develop funding sources and innovative financing mechanisms.
The challenges are not small, and time is pressing, but the awareness and will to act are getting stronger. This paints a hopeful picture of what is possible for the most vulnerable – and determined – coastal cities and islands.
This post is based on the Front-line islands and cities: building resilient island communities session at Resilient Cities 2018.