Speaker Series #9 A Roadmap To Resilience: Cities Planning and Adapting To Climate Change

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Cities on the Frontline Speaker Series

07 July 2022 –09.00 AM EST –03.00 PM CET –09.00 PM SIN/KUL

#9 – A Roadmap To Resilience: Cities Planning and Adapting To Climate Change

To deliver on their climate goals and respond to their urban resilience challenges, cities have undertaken an iterative and collaborative process to draft strategic planning documents establishing a path to climate action. These roadmaps are most often the result of broad consultations and engagement with the various communities and stakeholders in a city, including government, business, and civil society. They aim to identify the risks and challenges posed by climate hazards and propose mitigation and adaptation measures that the city can take to address them.

This Cities in the Frontline session focused on Cities Planning and Adapting to Climate Change Through the implementation of Resilience Road Maps giving city stakeholders a chance to hear directly from officials that have participated in the process including Vienna, who was named the most livable city and Accra who worked on the development of their resilience strategy between 2014 and 2019.

Elisabeth Gruber, the Director of the Department for International Financial Institutions at the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance, shared some opening remarks to emphasize the importance of Resilience Planning for the future of cities that are constantly growing and facing new shocks and stresses due to climate change. By 2050, Elizabeth illustrated, 70% of the world population will live in cities and with this growth they will need to learn how to better cope with the imminent challenges. The Austrian Ministry of Finance, Elisabeth noted, is invested in supporting resilience city planning as urban development and climate change are a part of their institutional pillars. In order to do this they are closely collaborating with international institutions such as the World Bank and its City Resilience Program as well as other Development Banks. To wrap up Elisabeth emphasized the importance of these spaces to share knowledge with experts from around the world.

Johannes Lutter the Head of Department of Urban & Mobility at Urban Innovation Vienna, shared the first presentation that focused on the ways in which Vienna has been integrating resilience planning in its long term and short term strategies. The question of resilience, Johannes said, is very high on the politics and administration agendas for the city as crisis has become a permanent condition for Vienna as much as for other cities around the world. Some of the most relevant challenges for the city in particular include: the Covid-19 pandemic, the Euro-Crisis and of course the eminent climate crisis. In order better face these and future challenges, Johannes said, Vienna needs to be able to prepare for the unforeseen by making sure that their systems have the capacity to be robust, adaptive and innovative. To begin the process of clearly identifying key challenges, Johannes shared, the city of Vienna created a vulnerability survey focussing on both probability and level of impact of shocks and stresses to determine priorities. The biggest challenges that were identified in this process include extreme weather, climate change, social crisis, among others. In order to mitigate their effects Vienna is working on implementing a double solution that includes both short term and long term responses. For their long term response, Vienna has created a smart cities strategy with a horizon of 2040, creating a path for climate neutrality. As for their short term plan they are implementing the Vienna Heat Action Plan, to better prepare and respond to heat waves in the city. Johannes emphasized that both of these strategies are new and in the process of being implemented, therefore, an important aspect of the process will to monitor and evaluate of the success of the implementations in order to optimize the processes each year for better outcomes. With this combined approach, Johannes assured, the city expects to reach a certain degree of resilience.

Lastly, James Kwame Mensah, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Public Administration & Health Services Management of the University of Ghana Business School & former Chief Resilience Advisor to the City of Accra, wrapped up the session sharing the process of the development of the Accra Resilience Strategy as they joined 100 Resilient Cities in 2014. James acknowledged that Accra is no stranger to rapid population growth and a number of shocks and tresses including earthquakes, floodings and weakened infrastructure, all of which may continue to affect the city in the coming years. However, the approach to dealing with them is what the city needs to focus on, James stressed. Historically, Accra’s approach was reactive rather than proactive and through its Resilience Strategy the city is working to change this with a key objective in mind, which is to build a smart, sustainable and resilient city for the future. The development of the strategy, James says, involved key steps to make sure that they were able to accurately identify and prioritize city challenges, but also, and most importantly make sure that key players were part of the conversation to assure that the strategy was actually implementable. With the strategy completed, Accra is now working on 5 key areas of execution including urban mobility and transportation, the informal sector, management of flooding, waste and sanitation, among others. To conclude James emphasized that in this implementation process, it is important to remember that cities are interconnected and therefore solutions cannot be created in silos but rather need to focus on collaborative efforts.


Elisabeth Gruber
The Director of the Department for International Financial Institutions at the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance

Studies suggest that by 2050, 70% of the world population will live in cities,at the same time cities are very exposed to climate change and anticipated increase in natural disasters is also something that we all have to cope with.


Johannes Lutter
The Head of Department of Urban & Mobility at Urban Innovation Vienna

Vienna is not having a resilience strategy of its own, but in view of recent developments, the question of resilience for urban systems is of course very high in the agenda of Vienesse politics and administration and we try to incorporate and integrate the question of resilience in all strategies and all action plans that we have here in Vienna


Johannes Lutter‘s Presentation


James Kwame Mensah
Senior Lecturer at the Department of Public Administration & Health Services Management of the University of Ghana Business School & former Chief Resilience Advisor to the City of Accra

“The vision of the resilience strategy was to make Accra a smart sustainable and resilient city thatanticipates and plans forunexpected shocks and stresses,rather than reacts to them.”


James Kwame Mensah‘s Presentation



Watch full session here:

Speaker Series #9 A Roadmap To Resilience: Cities Planning and Adapting To Climate Change