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IIED – Climate change and the urban poor

Climate change and the urban poor. Risk and resilience in 15 of the world’s most vulnerable cities
IIED, CLACC – Dec 2009.

Full-text – http://www.iied.org/pubs/pdfs/G02597.pdf (pdf, 1.7MB)

Areas: Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Bangladesh, Benin, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Sudan, Nepal, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi

This report outlines lessons learnt regarding the principal effects of climate change on 15 cities in low-income countries, and what makes them vulnerable to these effects. Coastal cities are susceptible to a rise in sea level and are made vulnerable by the low-lying land they are often built on, while dryland cities suffer from scarce water resources due to extended periods of climate change-induced drought. In these and other inland cities, the level of poverty, the rapid pace of urbanization and a lack of education about climate change increase vulnerability and aggravate the effects of climate change. Innovative urban policies and practices have shown that adaptation to some of these effects is possible and can be built into development plans. These include community-based initiatives led by organizations formed by the urban poor, and local governments working in partnership with their low-income populations.

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  1. Sabine Guendel
    June 11, 2010 at 8:29 am


    I just got a posting from one of my students on the isue of cities and climate change. How would you respond to this?

    “The growth of cities presents a whole range of development challenges. These relate to proper provision of urban infrastructure of all kinds, health education transport water sewage drainage waste etc. I question the extent that climate change adds to this list.

    · Flood defences in coastal cities: sea rise of ½ m in the next 100 years is predicted, but the LECZ definition is under 10m, twenty times the sea level rise. IPCC has not shown that any changes in storm frequency are climate related. Even with no increase in storms there are storms and floods. People live on low lying land risk drowning.

    · Transport: Better public transport has been a sound goal in cities since Victorian time.

    · Energy efficient building design has been touted [and not taken up] for a long time.

    · Water provision in drylands: Is that a new problem. Polanski’s film Chinatown deals with this issue in California in the 1930s. Difference in present water provision to poor people in dryland cities is uncorrelated with level of water

    The questions of how we feed people, generate energy and transport them under climate change are there. That people are heading to the cities predates impacts of climate change. Development goals for cities seem to me to be little altered by climate change. Worse, everyone jumping on the bandwagon distracts from the proper focus.”

  2. March 17, 2011 at 7:47 am

    climate change is really an issue, a big issue. as we can see, disasters are everywhere. seems our mother earth is on ‘revenge’. we must do something.

  1. January 5, 2010 at 9:21 pm

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