Cities—especially in developing countries—are on the front lines of climate change impacts. These impacts range from an increase in extreme weather events and flooding to increased air temperatures and public health concerns. Climate change affects both human well-being and the economy, posing threats to the livelihoods and assets of people living in cities. Most vulnerable to these impacts are poor residents, the elderly, women, children, and communities living on the margins of society.
Objectives and Focus of this Guide
This guide aims to provide cities in developing countries with practical insights on climate change adaptation. A number of documents already provide valuable information for cities on how to prepare for climate change impacts, both in general and for specific sectors. Building on existing sources, this guide seeks to address climate change adaptation for cities in developing countries with an additional discussion of challenges facing informal settlements, the urban poor, and other vulnerable groups.
This guide specifically addresses an audience of mayors and municipal practitioners in developing countries. These leaders and managers face various existing challenges in running their cities—from waste disposal to policing to public health. When considered in light of these ongoing activities, climate change can be an opportunity for positive change and action in cities, rather than a competing priority for scarce resources. With this context in mind, this guide uses disaster risk reduction—a familiar framework for many cities worldwide—as a practical starting point for climate change adaptation. Although the fields of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation have different origins and different practices, practitioners can find areas of convergence (see Chapter 3). Given resource and time constraints, cities can find cost-effective ways to integrate disaster and climate risk reduction activities at all stages, including vulnerability assessments, planning and prioritization of adaptive strategies, implementation, and measurement of success.
This guide is neither a technical document nor a description of a single methodology or tool. Instead, it provides high-level insights on how to develop a robust picture of climate change vulnerabilities that is also grounded in pressing community priorities, by consulting with both technical advisors and community stakeholders.
Overview of this Guide’s Structure
- Chapter 2 provides brief background information on how climate change is expected to affect cities around the world, with disproportionate impacts
on cities in developing countries.
- Chapter 3 introduces the concept of adaptation—the process by which cities prepare for the specific impacts that they expect to face. More specifically Based on these foundational concepts,
- Chapter 4 then shows how localities can develop roadmaps for adaptation, and how climate change adaptation could change the way cities operate.
- Chapter 5 focuses on what cities can do to build the resilience of informal settlements, the urban poor, and other vulnerable groups.
- Chapter 6 analyzes and gives examples of city-level adaptation in the areas of land use, housing, water and sanitation, public health, transportation, food and agriculture, energy, and solid waste.
- Chapter 7 provides a simple overview of the financing mechanisms available to cities to fund these adaptation responses. Appendix I contains information on the basics of climate change science.