27, May, 2014

ELLA Learning Alliance on Climate Resilient Cities – Discussion 4: Urban Disaster Risk Reduction

This online discussion brought together a range of African, Asian and Latin American experts to debate urban climate disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies, and analyse the importance of political and financial support in effectively reducing climate risk.

This week’s discussion looked at city level disaster risk reduction strategies, and how the existence, or inexistence, of national DRR strategies can impact upon the development and effectiveness of these. Participants considered which actors were the most pro-active in reducing climate risk in their cities, with a particular focus on the role of the government and local communities.

Learning Alliance participants explained that although DRR strategies often exist on paper, formal strategies are largely non-existent in their cities. It was also felt resoundingly that emergency response strategies and actions are much more prominent than prevention and preparation. Participants highlighted key barriers to DRR efforts as a lack of long-term planning, poor political commitment and weak capacity amongst city officials. This echoed the views of the Latin American expert who was interviewed for this, Dr Alberto Maturana Palacios, who chaired the Chilean National Emergency Office for 12 years. Dr Palacios explained that the lack of emergency preparedness in Chile was largely due to the fact that the government had not prioritised the DRR in its development plans.

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Key Conclusions:

  • There is no clear link between the existence of a national DRR strategy and effective city-level DRR strategies; local solutions need to be developed at the local level.
  • The existence of urban DRR strategies on paper does not necessarily translate into practical action.
  • Within existing climate change and DRR efforts, actions focus on relief and response, rather than prevention.
  • Significant challenges exist in relation to the lack of local technical and financial capacity, as well as poor coordination between relevant stakeholders.

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Other ELLA knowledge materials relating to City-level Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation:





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