Assessment and planning for risks, uncertainties and ambiguities

The Working Group on Risk Informed Urban Development

Photo: GIZ

Hitting the long safely imagined temperate zone, the floods occurring throughout Europe in 2021, heightened the importance and urgency of discussing measures in enhancing risk preparedness and strengthening resilience. By 2050, two-thirds of the global population will be urban. Cities are confronted with new and pressing challenges such as pandemics, climate change and risk management. Such challenges will synergize and further intensify socio-economic disparities and degradation of the natural environment.

The need of cities worldwide to adapt to climate change and an increasing number of extreme weather and cascading events is more prominent than ever to save lives, reduce economic losses, protect critical infrastructure, and secure developmental gains. The race against time to determine solutions to highly complex urban challenges is no more critical than in Africa. 90% of the urbanization experienced by 2050 will be in Africa and Asia. Despite Africa’s low contributions to GHG emissions, the continent remains the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. African cities face exponential collateral damage, posing systemic risks to its economies, infrastructure investments, water and food systems, public health, agriculture, and livelihoods; threatening to undo Africa’s development gains and unfold new levels of inequality.

The complex nature of risks, ambiguity and uncertainties must be integrated in planning and financing processes of various sectors. Therefore, competences and institutional capacities of decision-makers need to be strengthened towards risks informed development. The Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM) and Connective Cities programs have called and established on the occasion of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction #DRRday (13.10.21), the working group on “Risk Informed Urban Development” (WG-RIUD).

The objective of this WG is to contribute to the identification of concrete project ideas for early-stage technical assistance on RIUD and climate change adaptation, context-specific to Southern Africa. In addition, the WG-RIUD will assist in developing scalable and/or replicable solutions, good practices, discussion, and peer to peer exchange while building up a network of cities and experts, addressing flooding and extreme rainfall events, water and wastewater management and adaptation to climate vulnerabilities. Members of the working group include South African and German cities, the Disaster Management Training and Education Center for Africa - (DIMTEC) of the University of Freestate and various DRR-Focal points to the Disaster Risk Reduction Unit of the South African Development Community (SADC). Through the exchange and discussions amongst the WG members, the aim is to strengthen risk governance and build up resilience within the region.

During the process, cities will be supported by peer-to-peer exchanges (“Insight Moments”) on tackling the issues of flooding and stormwater management; gain insight from champions of good DRM practices and governance schemes, tools, frameworks, and innovative projects; and profit from a network of experts. Each insight moment will be delivered by an expert based on the needs of the WG-RIUD and/or relevant topics for informing risk-informed development. This WG-RIUD follows the UNDRR-Making Cities Resilient 2030 Roadmap to mainstream risk-informed development in decision making and is open to all interested. Some of the insight moments currently planned include assessment and management of multi-risks, disaster-risk financing, assessing cascading effects in critical infrastructure, climate-proofing development and much more.

Participation to the “Insight Moments” can be accessed through the link here!

Connective Cities