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Connecting climate resilience with economic growth in cities

OPM’s Director of urban economics Jim Coleman will speak at the closing session of the Third Annual National Conference on Urban Resilience to Climate Change in Bangladesh.

According to the World Bank, over 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. By 2045, the urban population around the world is expected to increase to six billion. City leaders must therefore move quickly to plan for growth and provide the basic services, infrastructure, and affordable housing their expanding populations need. However, the main challenge policymakers face is not only how to accommodate more people, but how to ensure they are capable of withstanding shocks resulting from climate change, conflict, and economic crises.

In response to these challenges, organisations such as the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities seek to help cities around the world become more resilient to physical, social, and economic challenges. They take a wide view of resilience that incorporates everything from earthquakes, fires, and floods to high unemployment, an overtaxed or inefficient public transportation system, endemic violence, or chronic food and water shortages.

The forthcoming conference, taking place in Dhaka between 18 and 20 November, is focussed on building climate-resilient, and migrant-friendly cities, and is spotlighting how to apply global lessons to growing Bangladeshi cities facing resilience risks. In his presentation, Jim will examine the appropriate forms of policy response necessary to ensure that climate resilience strategies are fully aligned to support sustainable economic growth and boost progress towards achieving the SDGs. Often, there is an unhelpful separation in policy terms where economic growth policy is developed in isolation from policies around the climate resilience of infrastructure and the broader built environment. As such, it is necessary to refocus the discussion to include climate resilience measures, and recognise their potential impact on economic growth of a country, and key cities within it.

The presentation hopes to address the issues around how to target the most desirable industry sectors at national and urban level and facilitate their growth, how to access the social and economic impacts of infrastructure, and how to recognise the interconnected nature of infrastructure, business, and social structures. Building on our experiences in mainstreaming climate resilience into public policy, the presentation will highlight the need for connected, aligned, and financially flexible policies.

Organised by the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS), and the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN), the event will bring together 500 participants, including policymakers, academics and researchers, and private sector representatives, from urban, water and sanitation, disaster risk management, and climate change adaptation sectors.