Making Cities Resilient 2030 – A global community to drive local and territorial resilience

Making Cities Resilient 2030 – A global community to drive local and territorial resilience

The Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030) is a cross-stakeholder initiative facilitated by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) for improving local resilience through advocacy, sharing knowledge and experiences, building partnerships to reinforce city-to-city learning, injecting technical expertise, connecting multiple layers of government and building partnerships. 

UCLG is a core partner of the MCR 2030 and currently the co-chair of the Global Coordinating Committee of the initiative. In light of this partnership, UCLG interviewed Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of UNDRR. The result is a joint set of messages that you can read in full further below.

The initiative carries on the legacy of the previous campaign “Making Cities Resilient” and establishes a new platform for the community of experts, providers and practitioners working to enhance resilience in cities and territories.

“Extreme weather events have almost doubled over the last twenty years compared to the previous twenty years. Economic losses from damage to infrastructure in a single storm or earthquake can wipe out the entire annual GDP of a low-income country.”

MCR2030 aims to ensure cities become inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by 2030, the SDG11 and many others, as well as other global agendas including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on persistent inequalities and the fragility of our capacity to take care of the people and the planet. At the forefront of the response to the crises, local and regional governments can drive recovery towards an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future.

An integrated approach to health and disaster risk reduction is now an all-of-society imperative at local government level just as much at national level.”

Cities and regions that join the MCR2030 will be connected to a global community that supports and improve planning and all efforts on DRR, climate adaptation and resilience.

UCLG promotes the ecological transformation of cities and territories, for a new relationship with nature and collaborating with the communities for a social pact. This way forward will entail a decarbonization pathway, which contributes to limiting global warming to the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement, as well as to improve livelihoods and resilience.

UCLG will continue to work with UNDRR, and many other partners, to promote learning opportunities such as through the UCLG Learning Modules on Resilience; advocating for the strengthening of local service provision; calling the attention to the disproportionate impact of climate change and disasters on vulnerable groups; and supporting the constituency of local and regional governments to further commit and deliver transformative action on the ground.

Learn more about the MCR2030 initiative and how to join on this link.

Joint blog

1.    The Making Cities Resilient 2030 was recently launched at the global level and now you are moving to regional launches. The MCR2030 builds on the previous campaign in the last decade. Please share with us some of the inspirations and goals for this new exciting stage.

The first ten years of the Making Cities Resilient Campaign came at an opportune moment.

For the first time in human history, more people were living in cities and towns than in the countryside and there was a greater understanding that rapid urbanization is a major factor in creating disaster risk in many parts of the world where risk is discounted in favor of economic development or the demands of rural-urban migration.

This realization was a major influence on the targets and priorities for action set out in the global plan to reduce disaster losses, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The Sendai Framework specifically recognizes the importance of strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk in urban settings where disaster risk can be complex, systemic, and deep-rooted. Making cities resilient requires high levels of compliance with laws and regulations, including those addressing land use and urban planning, building codes, environmental and resource management and health and safety standards.

The importance of urban risk governance is underlined by the fact that the greatest loss of life and the heaviest economic losses come about as a result of multiple hazards striking cities simultaneously, earthquakes, extreme weather events, and now the global COVID-19 pandemic, and their impact on large population centres.

Importantly, Target E of the Sendai Framework, which is about establishing the foundation for good risk governance, is not just about putting national strategies for disaster risk reduction in place but also seeks a substantial increase in the number of local strategies for disaster risk reduction. To date, 101 UN member States have put national strategies in place aligned to some degree with the Sendai Framework.

Unfortunately, progress is slow when it comes to local strategies and in order to accelerate progress, we need to build on the foundation created by the first phase of the Campaign which attracted over 4,300 cities and towns across the world.

The MCR2030 draws on the lessons learned from the earlier decade of the MCR Campaign by focusing on key areas including:

·       First, giving advisory support for improved DRR and resilience planning, climate finance, municipal finance, and climate adaptation;  

·       Second, improved coordination between national and local governments, and greater engagement with national associations of local governments;

·       And third, forging strong partnerships at the local level for more efficient implementation.

The MCR2030 is exploring engagement with new partners such as IFIs, risk rating agencies, Chambers of Commerce, municipal bond valuers, equity and fund managers, property valuers and others who can help to link the aspirations of cities on disaster resilience with investments and economic resilience.

The MCR2030 aims to promote peer learning by creating a process of enhanced city-to-city exchanges and mentoring between local governments at different stages of development and resilience building.

At this stage we hope to have more and more cities joining the MCR2030, so they can avail of the services this unique initiative offers. In parallel we are striving to increase the number of service providers offering services for cities. We hope UCLG can urge its members to join, make clear commitments to enhancing resilience, and avail of the services which can support better post-disaster recovery.   

2.    The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of the urgency to build resilience, particularly in cities. A broad understanding of resilience, including for individuals, targeting mental health and the importance of local service provision to better protect our people. What would it take to ensure urban resilience is properly reflected in the recovery plans?

COVID-19 is taking a terrible toll in lost lives and livelihoods and it is estimated that cities worldwide have borne 95% of coronavirus infections. 

The realization of how exposed cities are to the simultaneous threats of disease pandemics and extreme weather events fueled by the climate emergency, adds a whole new layer of responsibility to disaster risk governance in urban settings.

The pandemic has highlighted the important links between health and disaster risk reduction, and the need to invest in the safety and effectiveness of frontline health facilities in urban settings including those which provide psycho-social support to disaster-affected people.

Public health and public health infrastructure are a key area of focus for building urban resilience in the recovery phase. It is not a question of if but when the next pandemic comes and health systems are key to avoiding the societal disruption and economic loss on the scale that the world is currently enduring.

An integrated approach to health and disaster risk reduction is now an all-of-society imperative at local government level just as much at national level. Resilient health systems require long- term investment in key elements including an adequate number of trained health workers; robust health information systems, including surveillance; appropriate infrastructure including supply chain, stocks and labs; sufficient financing and transparent financial management system, and a strong health governance system that ensures quality and accountability.

Local governments, and especially the national associations of municipalities, can make their voice heard to ensure that the recovery fund allocations include proposals that improve urban resilience. The lessons must not be forgotten, and in recovery, cities must adhere to a bold new vision of the future.

3.    MCR2030 gathers many relevant partners, cities, national governments and local and regional governments networks, such as UCLG, ICLEI and C40. What should our cities and regions expect to find in the MCR2030? What messages would you like to convey to our constituency?

Cities joining the MCR2030 can expect to find a multi-partner global initiative aiming to bring large numbers of service providers to support cities, providing technical support in diverse and challenging areas including climate scenarios for cities, green bonds, updating of building codes for new realities, integrating the health sector into risk assessments, and more.

Once cities join the MCR2030, they can expect access to services offered by many service providers through the online Dashboard. Cities starting their resilience journey, can receive access to relevant tools and services. Those in the later phases, have an opportunity to provide invaluable support to other cities and have the chance to become a Resilience Hub.

To the UCLG constituency we take this opportunity to reiterate that with more than 55% of our population living in urban areas, cities are on the front line of both climate impact and climate action. A resilient city is a risk-resistant city and by harnessing the potential of sustainable urbanization, we can turn urban risk into opportunity.