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Climate Change, Disaster
Risk and the Urban Poor
February 16, 2012: | 10:00 AM EST
Speaker: Judy L. Baker
Lead Economist, Urban Practice,
World Bank Institute
o I. Background and Approach
o II. Vulnerability of Cities
o III. Vulnerability of the Urban Poor
o IV. Building Resilience for the Urban
I. Background
o The Mayor’s Task Force launched in December ‘09 at
Mayor’s Summit in Copenhagen during COP-15
o Objectives:
• Better understand the links among climate change,
disaster risk and the urban poor
• Identify good practices for building resilience
• Propose policy and investment programs for scaling up
efforts to reduce risk for the urban poor
• Task Force Members: Dar es Salaam, Jakarta, Mexico
City and Sao Paulo
o Global Study
• Led by World Bank, brought together global experiences
o City Level Case Studies
• Risk assessments following three pillar approach “Urban
Risk Assessment” to assess institutional, socioeconomic,
and hazard impact
– Teams included city officials, local experts, and World Bank
– Compiled existing information
– Field work included institutional mapping, interviews in low
income areas
II. Vulnerability of Cities
o Urbanization is defining this century
• 70 million people move to cities each year
• Pressure on cities to provide urban infrastructure,
services and safe land
o Cities are vulnerable to climate change and natural
• Often located in coastal areas, along rivers, seismic
zones, and cyclone prone zones.
• Changing climate results in more extreme weather
events leading to flooding and coastal storms, sea-level
rise, and higher temperatures
Vulnerability of Cities
o Significant impacts on infrastructure, basic services,
natural environment and residents
• Built environment
• Natural environment
• Residents
o Impacts of disasters are more devastating in cities due
to high concentration of economic assets and people
o Multiple efforts to rank exposure in cities; all show
increasing risk
III. Vulnerability of the Urban Poor
o Urban Poor are on the front line
• Most affected by low intensity, high frequency events
• Live on most undesirable lands which are more
– Steep hillsides, flood plains, coastal areas
– Housing quality is very low
• Basic services are limited
– Poor drainage, solid waste collection, water and
sanitation, roads – heavy rains turn into floods
– Risk of water scarcity, contamination
Vulnerability of the Urban Poor
o Risks linked to density
• Disease can spread rapidly through slums
o Layout and site conditions of slums can vary also
affecting risk
• High density, hazardous locations, and irregular layout of
slums present highest risk
o Less information, fewer safety nets for protection
o Coping mechanisms rely on social networks, and adhoc
• Can sometimes include risk of maladaptation
IV. Building Resilience for the Urban
o Cities are the drivers for addressing urban risk
o Recommended actions require strong institutions for
designing and implementing integrated policies
o Key areas:
i. Understanding risk at the city and community level
ii. Integrating climate change and disaster risk reduction for
the poor into urban planning
iii.Providing basic services in low income areas
iv. Bridging communities and local governments to work
v. Opening new finance opportunities
i. Understanding risk
o City and community level risk assessments are needed
to inform decision making, action plans
o Urban Risk Assessment Framework
Jakarta Slum Areas and Flooding
Understanding risk, lessons
o Data, data, data
• Critical for decision making
o Mapping informal settlements
• Increasingly done by residents themselves, with new
o Key lessons from city cases:
– Multidimensional approach is useful
– High level support critical
– Coordination across agencies is essential
– Access to information was difficult
o Action planning is a natural follow up to process
involving multiple agencies
ii. Integrating risk reduction into
urban planning and management
o A growing list of cities provide good examples: e.g. Cape
Town, Ho Chi Minh City, Quito, Jakarta
o Balancing policy tradeoffs between risk reduction, urban
development and poverty reduction is difficult making
• Land use policies are most instrumental
– Prevent building and settlements in high risk areas
– Proactive sites and services projects reduce risk, but often in
• Efficient transport systems
– Can increase land supply with access and mobility
– Can result in urban sprawl
Integrating risk reduction into urban
planning and management
o Investing in slum upgrading and basic service provision
reduces risk
• Sometimes resettlement will be necessary
o How to address uncertainty in planning?
• Tools such as ‘robust decision making’ are being used.
• Approach aims to minimize negative consequences for
stakeholders and identify choices that are robust over
many future scenarios
iii. Strengthening Institutional
Capacity to Deliver Results
o Cities are the drivers for addressing risk
• Multiple agencies currently involved
– Basic Service Provision, Climate Change, Disaster Management,
Urban Planning and management, Poverty Reduction Programs
• Institutional arrangements typically complex spanning
municipal & administrative boundaries
• Strengthening institutional capacity requires collaborative
governance, involving multiple stakeholders
– Approach may require new mechanism that is formalized such as
inter-agency working group
Strengthening Institutional Capacity
to Deliver Results
o Good practices in service delivery, slum upgrading early
warning systems, safety nets exist
• Lessons: implemented with strong political commitment and
leadership, good governance, good management including
coordination across groups, community participation.
– May require new incentives, structured reward system
• Capacity Building Programs
WBI E-Institute
Knowledge Exchange activities
Peer learning
Research institutions
iv. Bridging communities and local
governments to work together
o Much is happening at the community level
• Gap between local governments and poor often around
informal settlements, much need in linking communities to
network infrastructure
o Numerous good examples exist
Facilitated through mutual recognition of roles
Understanding what is happening at the local level
Understanding what city’s constraints are
Strong local organizations and leaders are important
v. Opening new financing sources
o Major financing needs for urban infrastructure and
basic services, information systems, safety nets and
capacity building
• Estimating the cost of adaptation is challenging
– Cost-Benefit has been used
– Casablanca case: Early warning systems are very cost
– Experiences with costs for slum improvements
o Existing resources rely on national and local revenues,
private sector, PPPs, loans and grants through
development banks
• Few climate change programs explicitly for cities, or for the
For more information
[email protected]
Thank You!
Judy Baker
Lead Economist, Urban Practice
World Bank Institute
The World Bank 1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
Tel: (202) 473-7243
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