Recent scientific research has suggested that green initiatives can increase urban resilience against climate change. By reducing urban heat island effects, increasing thermal comfort, decreasing surface runoff, and insulating houses against temperature extremes, among other benefits.
Further studies are being done to explore the benefits of green initiatives during the pandemics. Recent studies in Europe have shown that green spaces are a refuge for urban residents during periods with high levels of stress, thus contributing to urban dwellers’ physical and mental health and the social resilience of cities.
Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), in partnership with the University of Southern Denmark (SDU), co-organized the webinar on “Green Initiatives for enhancing Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia” to showcase success stories from the Southeast Asian region where green initiatives have been adopted to build urban resilience to climate extremes.
Mr. Hans Guttman, ADPC’s Executive Director, highlighted the increasing Global Urbanization trend and the challenges faced by urban areas due to climate risks such as floods, droughts, heatwaves, and sea-level rise.
Mr. Guttman mentioned that the webinar is in line with World Cities Day 2021, which falls on 31 October, whose theme for this year is “Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience”. He also provided an overview of ADPC’s engagement in promoting urban resilience across Asia and the Pacific region.
Professor Nicola Tolin, Professor MSO in Urban Resilience at SDU, mentioned that this important webinar is a result of joint collaboration between ADPC and SDU. The Urban Resilience research group at SDU investigates urban resilient transition, addressing systemically the causes and effects of climate change in cities, including climate change adaptation and mitigation, and other related major urban challenges.
Their main aim is to inform policy making at the international and national levels and support science-based urban planning and design for local action, he added.
Mr. Aslam Perwaiz, Deputy Executive Director at ADPC highlighted the urbanization context and the challenges experienced by Southeast Asia’s urban communities and systems due to its exposure to climate-induced disaster risks.
As around half of ASEAN’s people already live in urban areas, he added that by 2025, a further 70 million people in this region would be city dwellers. This will cause rapid urbanization, increasing pressure on most of these cities that may not be adequately equipped to deal with a growing range of potential threats.
However, he added that strengthening policies, multi-level governance frameworks, and partnerships with relevant national and local agencies and stakeholders help deliver results.
Mr. Perwaiz presented the regional initiative “Urban Resilience to Climate Extremes in Southeast Asia” by ADPC under the aegis of Norwegian Development Cooperation Agency (Norad), which aims to build urban systems and urban communities’ resilience to climate risks.
Mr. Lalit Kumar Dashora, ADPC’s Senior Multi-Hazard Early Warning Specialist, pointed out that the webinar aims to raise awareness among urban resilience practitioners on the vital importance and positive impacts of Green Initiatives in meeting the challenges faced by Southeast Asian cities due to climate extreme events.
Panelists also included Mr. Leonard Ng, Country Director at Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl, Dr. Uma Langkulsen, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Public Health at Thammasat University, Thailand, and Dr. Sharon Taylor, Project Manager at Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) in the Philippines, who presented on multifunctional green/blue infrastructure, public health and well-being of urban communities, and building community resilience to floods and rain-induced landslides.
The webinar provided valuable insights for urban planners, urban designers, policymakers, health & disaster risk management practitioners, and researchers on how to build urban resilience to climate extremes in an environmentally-friendly way.
This event was one of the knowledge dissemination initiatives targeting urban resilience under the “Urban Resilience to Climate Extremes (URCE) in Southeast Asia” program implemented by ADPC under the aegis of the Norwegian Agency of Development Cooperation (Norad).
For further information of the webinar click here.