In Namibia, the major share of urban growth is informal, with an estimated 30-40 per cent of the population living in informal settlements, with trends projecting shacks to become the predominant form of housing by 2025. Being especially vulnerable to climate change, these forms of settlements require special attention in the development of climate resilience strategies.
At COP25, the Desk Officer for Sustainable Urban Development at MISEREOR, Clara-Luisa Weichelt, talked to Emanuela Barbiroglio about the challenges of addressing climate change in informal settlements and human-rights based solutions.
Brazil's strategies towards its favelas have varied enormously over time. If they are to be successful in improving people's lives, it is essential that informal settlements are perceived as an integral part of a city, argue Mariana Dias Simpson and Itamar Silva.
High density and poor building materials make informal settlements extremely prone to fire hazards. The Nairobi-based enterprise Kwangu Kwako has developed a housing model that, while being truly affordable, increases fire resilience and thus positively affects many aspects of residents' lives.
Delegates at COP25 in Madrid reached an agreement, without the robust language and ambitions that were wished to be seen in the approved texts. This leaves subnational and urban leaders responsible for implementing the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), making local climate activities the messengers of hope.
The traditional relief-rehabilitation-development paradigm does not hold true in urban conflict zones. A combined approach of long-term support for systems reinforcing short-term support for individuals would meet people’s needs, secure development gains, and represent value for money. The cost of failing to adapt is simply too high, argues Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
As densely populated urban areas like Homs, Raqqa, and Idlib in Syria continue to be the site of years-long armed conflicts, architect Ammar Azzouz argues that cities must not wait for post-conflict reconstruction plans. Rather, amidst destruction, ideas for the cities of tomorrow should be developed.
As part of the Blavatnik School of Government's “Challenges of Government” Conference, the International Growth Centre's Cities that Work team put together a panel on identity and legitimacy in Kabul. The discussion highlighted the importance of building legitimacy in fragile contexts, particularly given the emergence of fragmented identities and new networks of solidarity, resistance and governance in urban contexts affected by conflict.
The climate summit in Madrid represents a unique opportunity for urban communities to take inspiration from each other, to build cities that are better prepared to tackle climate change, and to obtain investments. National delegates will need to increasingly confide in local authorities and provide them with more resources if they want to develop prompt and effective responses to the climate crisis.