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FEATURE STORY

Strengthening Global Collaboration to Support Urban Resilience

April 15, 2014

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nine institutions announced a new global collaboration for helping cities improve resilience to disaster and climate risk, as well as to economic and other systemic shocks.
  • The partners, which collectively work in over 2,000 cities globally, aims to improve the flow of knowledge and financial resources necessary to help cities become more resilient.

Nine institutions including the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) announced a new global collaboration at the World Urban Forum in Medellin, Colombia, expressing their collective commitment to help cities improve resilience to disaster and climate risks, as well as to economic and other systemic shocks. 

"This collaboration across organizations is a significant step towards facilitating the flow of additional financing to cities and ultimately ensuring that shocks to the urban system don't undermine decades of economic growth and prosperity," said Sameh Wahba, acting director of the World Bank's Urban Development and Resilience Department. 

Strengthened collaboration among partners – UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR),  Inter-American Development Bank, the Rockefeller Foundation, and its 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, and ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, in addition to the Bank and GFDRR – aims to improve the flow of knowledge and financial resources necessary to help cities become more resilient by:

• Fostering harmonization of the multiple approaches and tools available to help cities build their resilience;
• Catalyzing access to innovative finance mechanisms, including risk-based instruments that will enhance cities’ ability to reduce exposure and vulnerability to shocks and stresses and increase their adaptive capacity; and
• Supporting capacity development of cities to achieve their goals by facilitating direct sharing of best practice information and cities’ knowledge enhancement.

Collectively, these organizations work in over 2,000 cities globally, with over $2 billion committed annually toward advancing resilient urban development.

Open Quotes

This collaboration across organizations is a significant step towards facilitating the flow of additional financing to cities and ultimately ensuring that shocks to the urban system don't undermine decades of economic growth and prosperity. Close Quotes

Sameh Wahba
Acting Director, World Bank Urban Development and Resilience

The partnership will also mobilize support for the post-2015 urban resilience agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals, the climate change framework and the Hyogo Framework for Action, and the Habitat III agenda.  

In a rapidly urbanizing world, people and assets are increasingly concentrated in cities, becoming highly dependent on infrastructure networks, communication systems, supply chains and utility connections. While this enables cities to drive prosperity, disruptions caused by natural disasters, the impacts of climate change, as well as a broad range of shocks – economic, health epidemics, conflict or social upheaval – can have a catastrophic effect on a city’s ability to deliver basic services, hurting the lives of urban residents, especially the poor and vulnerable.   

At the World Urban Forum, the World Bank joined partners in a discussion on the increasing importance of improving urban resilience, and the need to move beyond conventional approaches through enhanced collaboration. 

Commenting on the partnership, Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, Antonio Vives, said: “Speaking on behalf of the City of Barcelona, which shares a relationship with all of these organizations; we welcome the establishment of this partnership.  The collaboration will provide more coherence, collate more resources, and offer more options to cities around the world to find the most appropriate means to measure, monitor, and increase their resilience.”