7-8 JUNE 2017 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

Harnessing opportunities for climate change adaptation and mitigation in cities

Harnessing opportunities for climate change adaptation and mitigation in cities

EDD17 - Replay - Harnessing opportunities for climate change adaptation and mitigation in cities

auditorium
A1
Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 14:30 to 16:00

Key points

  • Cities are the frontline of climate action.
     
  • Internal migration is the leading cause of explosion of urban populations.
     
  • Women have the key role to play in making climate-related decisions.
     
  • Leveraging private finance and public-private partnerships are crucial.

Synopsis

‘Mayors are in the frontline of action and the only ones who know where people are having difficulties,’ said Mayor Celestine Ketcha Courtes of Bangangté in Cameroon. ‘Climate action is not a luxury. It affects the poor much more than the affluent as they inhabit the most ecologically vulnerable environments, often in and around cities,’ agreed Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary General.

‘Eighty per cent of climate-related decisions are taken every day by cities regarding finance, water, energy and human capital,’ added Hakima El Haite, Special Envoy for Climate Change from the Kingdom of Morocco and UN High Level Climate Champion. She pointed out that internal migration in Africa is largely forgotten.

Only a small proportion of people fleeing desertification or conflict reach Europe; the remainder congregate around African cities where there is little or no infrastructure. ‘We should establish coherence between cities and national policies,’ she said. ‘But cities should go ahead if national policy lags.’

‘Financing sources have to be equally available to women,’ insisted Morocco’s EDD Young Leader Rachid Ennassiri. ‘We are pushing harder for climate finance to be reserved for women,’ El Haite added. ‘Women work the land in Africa but need help to develop finance-attractive projects.’ If public funds can be spent better through decentralisation and the local level is most important in climate action, then the best way of ensuring success is putting women in charge.

‘Fifty-two per cent of Africa’s population can't be left out,’ insisted Ketcha Courtes. ‘If there’s no water, then it’s the women and girls who fetch it, or wood if there’s no electricity. Ecological toilets are good for the environment, but they are also good for sanitation, which gets girls going to school.’

‘Even if mitigation and adaptation are priorities for public finance, we need much more if we are going to address the challenges at scale and this is bigger than mayors can do at their level,’ said El Haite. ‘Mayors’ organisations are vital in best-practice sharing, but we have to bring in private finance and convert billions to trillions,’ agreed Jonathan Taylor, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank. ‘There is plenty of liquidity, which we can leverage through de-risking and blending. Flood-risk areas will always require investor encouragement. A lot of this is happening in Europe, but it can be used beyond. It is already the case that a lot of mainstream private sector investment uses social, environmental and governmental metrics, not just ethical or green finance. And public-private partnerships are another crucial means: for example, large corporates may well want to provide solar panels or sustainable construction.’

‘Planning for development and resilience are synergistic and need to be in place before investment,’ said Kirabo Kacyira. ‘Centralised planning needs to become more holistic, with national budgets leveraging private finance and the UN offering technical support and a platform for public-private cooperation. There are opportunities for adaptation as well as mitigation, but these are perhaps invisible to corporates. We’re used to inviting corporates at the end of the process, but we need policy frameworks to bring them in earlier.’

Insight

The penny drops: ‘We should start conversations about sharing knowledge rather than funding,’ said Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General.

Rhetorical question of the day: ‘What’s the point of investing in projects that are not resilient to climate threats?’ asked Hakima El Haite, Special Envoy for Climate Change from the Kingdom of Morocco and UN High Level Climate Champion.

Business plan: ‘Africa has lots of young people and lots of arable land: we must encourage “agripreneurs” and take the climate action necessary to make this a long-term proposition,’ proposed Celestine Ketcha Courtes, Mayor of Bangangté.

Example of interconnectedness: ‘Ocean acidification and reef bleaching are a direct consequence of climate change and affect people’s livelihoods meaning they will migrate to cities,’ offered Jonathan Taylor, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank.

Organised by

    Anya Sitaram
    Founding Director and Executive Producer
    Rockhopper TV
    Ronald Kibuule
    Minister of State for Water
    Aisa Kirabo Kacyira
    Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary General
    UN-Habitat
    Rachid Ennassiri
    EDD Young Leader, Morocco
    Celestine Ketcha Courtes
    Mayor, City of Bangangté, President of the Network for Locally Elected Women of Africa
    Hakima El Haite
    UN High Level Climate Champion and Special Envoy for Climate Change from the Kingdom of Morocco
Photo gallery

Password for download : EDD2017