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Integrating the Climate Resilience Agenda into Urban Decision-Making and Planning in Asia: Assessing Local Institutional Capacity and Support
Published: 10 June 2015 by MDPI in 8th Conference of the International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU) session True Smart & Green Urban Planning and Governance
Abstract: Rapid urbanisation in Asia has led to substantial economic growth and development. The region's highly dynamic urban areas form thriving economic centres and are constantly expanding. At the same time, they are becoming increasingly more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Increased river discharge, extreme weather conditions, subsidence and an increasingly limited access to resources pose significant risks to the inhabitants of these regions. Demographic and socio-economic pressures add to the challenge. Building resilience to these uncertain but urgent threats is necessary to ensure sustainable, future-proof urban development in light of climate change and thus create true smart and green cities. At the same time, this necessitates a paradigm shift in planning and action towards a focus on integration of the climate resilience agenda into everyday planning and decision-making, with a strong involvement of local policy- and decision-makers. However, realisation of this integration requires institutional capacity– which is currently often lacking. Capacity building of local actors- and decision-makers therefore needs to become an inherent part of climate-resilient action planning and development, as this involvement is necessary to not only obtain the relevant local data and knowledge for climate-resilient action plans but also to ensure effective and efficient implementation and monitoring of these plans. In addition, stakeholders' commitment to embrace the paradigm change is essential to ensure successful implementation. Building on previous research on the assessment of cities' sustainability, this paper gleans on urban governance aspects of climate resilience planning. It particularly focuses on the importance of integrating the climate change agenda into the local planning vision, and the evaluation of climate resilience-focused urban governance. The paper proposes a number of indicators as a starting point to assess institutional capacity and support necessary for this integration. To illustrate the discussion, this paper will highlight some case studies which reflect the urgency and challenges of implementing climate resilience strategies, as well as best practices that demonstrate effective implementations.