In his address on this year’s World Cities Day, UN-Secretary General António Guterres recognised that “cities have borne the brunt of the pandemic” and called upon governments to “prepare cities for future disease outbreaks”. Authorities cannot waste this opportunity to build back better by simultaneously addressing the increasing economic hardship for the urban poor and climate change impacts. This will help prevent not only future health risks but also the increased risk of urban violence and insecurity.
With cities continuously more threatened by climate change-induced disasters, urban planning’s reflex response is to protect cities against nature. But what if the solution lies in working with nature instead against it? Architect Kongjiang Yu invites readers to imagine what cities could look like if they took into account ancient wisdom on spatial planning.
Ten years after committing to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, G20 countries still subsidise coal, oil and gas to the tune of around USD 150 billion annually. Peer review of fossil fuel subsidies help push the G20 forward on this issue, but these reviews need to be followed by action. Subsidy reforms could free up resources that could be channeled back into government programmes and on accelerating a clean energy transition.
Women are vital for effective climate policy making and implementation. In South Asia, more needs to be done on systematically integrating women into policy processes - as active stakeholders and not merely as victims of climate risks.