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World Bank – Achieving urban climate adaptation in Europe and Central Asia

Achieving urban climate adaptation in Europe and Central Asia, 2009. (pdf, 645KB)

Carmin, JoAnn; Zhang, Yan;

Policy Research working paper ; no. WPS 5088

Many cities across Europe and Central Asia are experiencing the impacts of climate change, but most have not integrated climate adaptation into their agendas. This paper examines the threats faced and measures that can be taken by cities in the region to protect buildings, heritage sites, municipal functions, and vulnerable urban populations.

In general, local governments must be proactive in ensuring that existing buildings are climate ready, paying particular attention to emerging technologies for retrofitting the prefabricated, panel style buildings that dominate the landscape while assessing the viability of homes situated in flood plains, coastal areas, and steep slopes. They also must ensure that new developments and buildings are designed in ways that account for climatic fluctuations.

Although the resilience of all populations needs to be considered, historical patterns of discrimination require that special provisions are made for the poor and for ethnic minorities such as the Roma because these groups will be most at risk, but are least likely to have access to adequate resources. Urban climate adaptation requires national-level support and local commitment. However, centralized planning and expert-led decision-making under the former regimes may affect the ability of cities to pursue programmatic approaches to adaptation.

Therefore, while national governments need to make adaptation a policy priority and ensure that municipalities have adequate resources, local government agencies and departments must be transparent in their actions and introduce participatory and community-based measures that demonstrate respect for diverse stakeholders and perspectives.

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