A version of this post also appeared on ACCCRN.org.
|Research shows that the economic competitiveness of a city is affected by how resilient it is to climate risks.
|Developing a resilience and competitiveness ranking for cities could help encourage policymakers and business leaders to think about the importance of disaster planning and climate risks.
|Community-based insurance could allow small businesses to recover more quickly by paying members when specific targets are reached (e.g. water levels, wind speeds, temperature).
The World Economic Forum (WEF) “Leveraging Growth for Equitable Progress” East Asia Conferencewas recently held in Manila, highlighting the need for resilient decision-making and action in the face of unpredictable economic and natural disruptions.
Bernice Lee, Director of Climate for WEF, facilitated an interactive session, “Designing Solutions for Climate and Resource Risk,” which included inputs from business and government leaders. The exposure and vulnerability of cities in Asia to climate change and disasters—where high concentrations of people, industry, and assets exist—has been underscored by recent events like Typhoon Haiyan.Ashvin Dayal, associate vice president and managing director of The Rockefeller Foundation, Asia, led a small group discussion to generate ideas on how to strengthen the resilience of cities. Dayal, who leads the Foundation’s Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) and other resilience efforts, reminded the group of the importance of vibrant and resilient urban systems, particularly given their contributions to the global economy.
Led by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) and supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, research showed that the economic competitiveness of a city is affected to a degree by how resilient it is to climate risks. It found that for cities like Surat in India, which depend heavily on the diamond and textile industries, productivity was greatly affected by heat stress, increased flooding and drought.
One solution that emerged from group discussions included a proposition to develop a resilience and competitiveness ranking for cities to encourage policymakers and business leaders to think about the importance of disaster planning and climate risks.
Resilience also featured in the remarks of another speaker, Adam Garrard, CEO of Willis Asia in Singapore, who brought insights from the insurance industry. Garrard’s discussion group drew from the recent experience of Haiyan, and shared that many small business suppliers of basic goods are still unable to operate due to lost and damaged assets. The idea emerged for a community-based insurance scheme that would pay members or residents of a community when specific targets are reached (e.g. water levels, wind speeds, temperature). Such an approach would allow for quicker recovery, a critical ingredient for resilience.
Other speakers led small group discussions highlighting the need for investments in clean energy and green credit schemes as well as the transformation to a “circular economy” where the entire life-cycle of products are integrated into manufacturing and recycling systems.