by Laura Kavanaugh, Resilient Cities Program Manager at ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
On 8 November, expert stakeholders and national government representatives met at COP23 to discuss climate resilience in human settlements at the 11thFocal Point Forum of the NWP. Interactive discussions built on the findings of submissions from governments and NWP partners and sought to identify concrete opportunities to bridge gaps in knowledge, funding, capacity, and policy.
Five key findings drawn from the submissions and the interactive forum discussions will be incorporated into a detailed synthesis paper and presented during the UNFCCC Climate Conference in May 2018 (SBSTA 48).
First, a long-term view. Short-term solutions are at best unsustainable and at worst lead to maladaptation. Visualizing a range of adaptation pathways that incorporate long term options such as ecosystem-based solutions, supports evidence-based resilience planning that can respond to changing climate scenarios.
Second, an inclusive process. Climate change will manifest in various ways at various times for different people and places. Governments cannot predict and manage these diverse impacts alone. They must partner with scientists as well as stakeholders and communities in order to understand how to prepare and respond most effectively.
Third, equal partnerships. Climate change is a global challenge with highly localized consequences. Local adaptation actions and mandates need to be properly resourced and supported. This includes support for technical capacity building and access to disaggregated data. Multilevel governance structures are needed that create favorable environments to develop and fund local adaptation actions.
Fourth, upscaling mechanisms. Human settlements are at various stages of adaptation planning. There is a lot of knowledge available on good practices that can be shared to accelerate implementation, for example, through city to city partnerships. North-South exchanges are particularly relevant, though learning can flow in all directions.
Last, a monitoring and maintenance plan. The benefits of fixed term adaptation programs (e.g. exchange or planning programs with external funding) often end when the program does. Working through long term, established partners such as city networks can be more sustainable. Measuring and reporting outcomes also encourages sustained engagement and accountability.
Visit http://unfccc.int/adaptation/workstreams/nairobi_work_programme/items/9201.php to follow along and contribute your ideas for advancing climate resilience in human settlements.