29. 10. 2019

Showcasing impact, consolidating partnerships and promoting longevity: Next steps for RESCCUE

By Esteban León, UN-Habitat

Our world is becoming increasingly urban. Currently, 54% of the world´s population lives in urban environments and that number is expected to increase to 66% by 2050. With increased urbanisation comes an array of new and amplified shocks and stresses that all cities of the world must address. It was in this context that the RESCCUE project was conceived in May 2016 with the support of a diverse range of partners and building on the numerous initiatives led by development actors, private sector and academics alike.

Global urban resilience initiatives have placed the climate emergency as one of the most important challenges of the 21st century. Nevertheless, the impacts of climate change are so far reaching that they cannot be tackled by any one level of government or single actor working in silo. In UN-Habitat’s experience working with cities over the previous decades, we have learned that initiatives focusing on climate resilience alone and failing to consider social resilience will have minimal impact or will not be sustained over the long-term. Similarly, failure to seize the opportunity offered by reconstruction to increase resilience can set a city back decades in terms of resilience. The need for a holistic approach to resilience is clear and one that is reflected in the globally agreed 2030 Agenda. The failure of development initiatives are all too likely when individuals and/or organisations operate in exclusivity within their sector.

The RESCCUE project is a flagship initiative in this sense and has sought to increase the capability of cities to face hazards by drawing on expertise from different domains, promoting positive experiences, and generating creative outputs by bringing together communities of practice. Indeed, over the past few years, the RESCCUE project has brought together partners working on different approaches and tools to find commonalities and complementarities in their approaches to climate resilience in urban areas. For UN-Habitat, the collaboration with RESCCUE partners has shaped the way the agency considers and addresses resilience through our outreach, technical cooperation and knowledge production.

Like so many effective development projects, central to the success of RESCCUE is the multi-stakeholder partnership and an extensive exchange of visions between partners. The project brings together local governments, UN agencies, private sector, and academics to address our shared climate challenges and consider them in a wider context and from different perspectives. As well as creating a community of practice, the projects has been able to build strong partnerships between agents of change that will most likely go beyond the project’s official end date.

The climax of the RESCCUE project will arguably be the upcoming two-day event from 9-10 March 2020. On paper, the Urban Resilience in a Context of Climate Change (URCC) will focus on the urban challenges and solutions to climate change. In reality, the encounter will consolidate the main achievements of the project and increase visibility among outside partners with view to ensuring continuity to the collaborations and initiatives.

A diverse range of actors will facilitate dialogues on the newest research, approaches and innovation regarding urban resilience and climate change. Research institutions, local administrations, academia, central and regional administration bodies, policy makers, public service operators and citizens are all recommended to join. This event, and the hours of work behind it, are the types of partnerships for sustainability that are called for in the 2030 agenda under Sustainable Development Goal 17 and will no doubt be the key to our collective success.

The call for abstracts is now open. Take a look at the themes and submit your presentation abstracts for the URCC conference here. Abstract submission closes on 29th November.