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Working Group 4:
Urban Governance for Risk Reduction:
Mainstreaming Adaptation into Urban
Planning and Development
Chair: Prof. Shabbir Cheema
Rapporteurs: Dr. Kris Ebi and Dr. Dushmanta Dutta
International Workshop on
Cities at Risk: Developing Adaptive Capacity for Climate Change in Asia’s Megacities
26-28 February, Bangkok, Thailand
Key question for the Working Group:
• How can adaptation and climate risk
management best be mainstreamed and
implemented in urban development planning
and governance?
• Participants: 13
• Countries from the region: China, India,
Pakistan, Thailand and Taiwan
Framework for discussion
Mechanism to mainstream adaptation
strategy to urban development planning
Mechanism to mainstream adaptation
strategy in urban governance structures and
Sub issues within development planning
1. Land use planning
2. Infrastructure planning
3. Financing
4. Planning for implementation
5. Monitoring and evaluation
Sub issues within Urban governance
structures and process:
1. Human resources development
2. Local government role/decentralization
3. Multilevel roles
4. Coordination
5. Transparency/accountability
6. Civic engagement
Important issues in mainstreaming
1) Influencing factors on mainstreaming adaptation
measures in planning (from the experiences of some
Asia cities)
– Leadership
– Resources
– Triggering event as entry point
2) Planning is ongoing process and gradual progress in
key development planning sectors has enhanced
adaptability of cities to cope with high frequency, low
and medium scale disasters over time.
3) Increasing resilience of most vulnerable people
• Development planning is relatively long-term process and the
implementation is a lengthy process and does not bring
immediate benefit to the most vulnerable population. It is
important to have effective urban governance mechanism to
increase resilience of most vulnerable sectors that don’t get
benefits from long-term adaptation measures.
• The role of government and civil society is improving the
resilience of most vulnerable urban groups through on-site
upgrading shelter, basic urban services is one of such
4) Decisions making process
• The process through which decisions about development
planning are made is an important determinant for
mainstreaming the adaptation strategy for climate change.
Where power is concentrated in few quarters and transparency
and mechanism of accountability are not place, it becomes
difficult to go beyond narrow and short term vested interest.
5) Role of market
• Market forces have greatly influenced the urban development
planning in the past one or two decades in many Asian
countries. The market forces can play significant role in
influencing the climate risk adaptation measures in
development planning and that should harnessed in
mainstreaming adaptation strategy.
6) Convergence of public and private
• The Private sector has led the infrastructure development in
many Asian cities, which were beyond the capability of the
public sector. There needs to be convergence of the public
and private sectors for mainstreaming climate risk adaptation
measures in development planning. The role of the public
sector in this regard is to identify and maintain the public
standards, while the role of the private sector is resource
generation to achieve the objectives.
7) Government roles
• Governments at different levels need to act effectively and timely fashion to
address the climate change issue and adaptation measures.
• The roles and responsibilities of governments at different levels (central,
state/province, district/local, etc) should be streamlined to clarify who would do
what and how their actions to be harmonized.
• Implementation of adaptation measures at development plans can be made
effective through appropriate new legislations.
• The governments need to ensure the effective implementation of the existing and
new legislations.
• The governments at various levels need to enhance the capacity of the
implementing organizations.
8) Role of Civil society including NGOs
• NGOs can be key players in mainstreaming adaptation measures in several
important components of urban governance including:
– Building awareness to create political wills
– Increasing community awareness
– Contributing to enhance resilience of most vulnerable poor population (not under the
radar of public or private sectors)
• Even though the role of civil society has expanded over the years, there is still a
strong need for continued expansion of political critical space for civil society to
perform its role in mainstreaming adaptation strategy as it has done in the past in
particular in such issues as human rights and debt relief.
9) Agency for climate change
• Lack of coordination among many agencies and
organizations has been detrimental in mainstreaming
climate risk adaptation measures.
• There is a need to improve the structure and processes
of coordination and harmonization and that can be
done through a central coordinating mechanism/entity.
• This is especially important in prompt decision making
processes for quick responses to disasters and hazard
reduction strategies.
• Some countries have recently established a central
agency to coordinate the activities of various
responsible agencies.
• There was also alternative view point was to strengthen
existing coordination structure and mechanism rather
than creating a new one for adaptation strategy.
10) Effective governance at the systemic level is
essential to mainstream adaptation strategies.
• development in the public sector especially concerning
adaption strategy for climate change
• enhance capacity of urban local governments to
provide urban shelters and services to vulnerable
groups and protect the urban environment
• Expansion of democratization of governance process
and decentralization of responsibilities to urban local
governments to improve implementation of national
policy, planning and strategies and to facilitate
participation of civil society in local decision making
• strengthening government and civil society relation and
engagement of Civil Society to change from reactive to
• transparency and accountability mechanism
11) Boundary issues
• Hazards don’t follow administrative boundary.
Many urban vulnerable areas are at the fringe or
outside of city administration boundaries in many
countries. City based adaptation approach will not
be affective and it requires an integrated approach
of bring upstream and downstream together in
adaptation measures.
12) Rehabilitation process in adaptation mechanism
• There needs to be rehabilitation process in
adaptation measures that address the livelihood
and cultural issues.
Assessments and Future Research
1. Need for looking at various Methods for assessments
2. Need for case studies on Comprehensive assessment
of improvement of adaptation capacity of cities
through previous development plans various issues in
cities/countries of different levels of economy,
different governance structures and mechanism
3. Case studies on mainstreaming mechanisms for
climatic risk adaptation (learning from practice)
4. How to effectively communicate with local
5. Common Indicators to measure resilience
Capacity building and Networking
• Research expertise
• Regional centers of excellence for to work
with academics and networking
• Continued education & training
• Collaborative research encored in national
training and research institutes with strong
network and linkages with regional and
international institutions
Future research
• Case studies on mainstreaming mechanisms
for climatic risk adaptation (learning from
• How to effectively communicate with local
• Common Indicators to measure resilience