Speaker Series #31 – Climate Change Governance

Nov 2020

About the Session

The Speakers

Cities on the Frontline cover image.

Cities on the Frontline Speaker Series

#31 – Climate Change Governance (November 26, 2020)

COVID-19 is still running its course while resilience challenges related to rapid rate of urbanization, natural disasters and climate change remain. Quoting Brian Strong, the Chief Resilience Officer for San Francisco, “I have not seen any projections of sea level rise slowing down as a result of the Covid crisis,” (the New York Times, April 2020).

The compounding crises are affecting cities financial capacity. In our 29th session of Cities on the Frontline, Roland White, the Municipal Financing lead from World Bank shared “We have seen two main impacts of COVID-19 on city budgets. Cities with a significant role in health face increases in unexpected costs. Second, with an increase in costs and decrease in revenues, they’ve cut capital projects“.

Still, we can see this pandemic as a moment to reflect and identify opportunities. In our earlier session, CRO Piero from Milan shared how the lock down reduced the pollution level where according to the European Space Agency, NO2 levels have fallen around 40 percent in Milan. We are also hearing how city leaders are responding with creative solutions, recognizing that actions in response to the pandemic can also make cities greener and more climate resilient. Addis Ababa, Bogota, Kampala, Berlin and Brussels created new bike lanes to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission and decrease congestion, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions[1]. What other actions are cities taking or are contemplating to address long-term climate risks as they start to think about recovering from the pandemic?

This session highlighted the reflection on the challenges and opportunities of compounding crises – pandemic and climate related crises, as well as the reflection on how cities are trying to address climate risks as they start to emerge from the pandemic.

[1] Building Climate-Resilient and Equitable Cities During COVID-19 https://gca.org/solutions/building-climate-resilient-and-equitable-cities-during-covid-19


Arnoud Molenaar
Chief Resilience Officer, Rotterdam and Co-lead for the Resilient Cities Action Track for the Global Commission on Adaptation

“In Rotterdam “doing nothing is not an option.”

Arnoud Molenaar‘s presentation

Dr. Duncan Booker
COP26 Stakeholder Manager, Glasgow City Council and acting Chief Resilience Officer

“Whilst it is nation-states that make pledges, it is cities that are delivering on a low-carbon and resilient future.”

Dr. Duncan Booker‘s presentation

Headshot of Desmond Appiah, Chief Sustainability and Resilience Advisor of the city of Accra.

Desmond Appiah
Chief Sustainability and Resilience Advisor, Accra

“Our city’s work on resilience came in very handy the last few months when dealing with and responding to Covid.”

Desmond Appiah‘s presentation

Headshot of Dr. Jayshree Vencatesan, Urban Ecologist, Care Earth Trust at Chennai.

Dr. Jayshree Vencatesan
Urban Ecologist, Care Earth Trust, Chennai

“We want to convert all challenges into opportunities –Chennai is the knowledge capital of India with a receptive government. It is a place where a small intervention can play a very positive role in building resilience.”

Dr. Jayshree Vencatesan‘s presentation

Watch full session here:

Black climate change thematic icon with blue circular background.

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