Reports / Reports

Ten Cities, Four Countries, Five Years: Lessons on the Process of Building Urban Climate Change Resilience

The Rockefeller Foundation initiated a nine-year Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) in ten initial cities and four countries1 in 2008. ACCCRN seeks to strengthen the capabilities of cities to plan, finance and implement urban climate change resilience (UCCR) strategies for coping with the inevitable impacts of climate change taking place now, and in the decades to come. The approach also involves capturing details from the various experiences that will be useful to other cities as they realize the critical importance of building resilience to climate change. Although the initiative is ongoing and has expanded to include two more countries and more than 20 additional cities, this brief highlights the key insights we took from analysis of progress in the first ten cities over the first five years and the changes observable thus far.

Advancing climate change resilience action in cities requires a structured methodology and process, and a core set of planning principles. However, the process must build in flexibility to allow modalities to evolve and adapt to each city’s unique context, based on the skills and motivations of the facilitating individuals or organizations.

The initial city process needs to prioritize multiple stakeholder engagement from the outset and employ an iterative shared learning dialogue process that sparks critical debate and encourages a broad range of perspectives over time. It is important to engage facilitating partners who are capable of tailoring processes and guidance and thus develop a grounded climate change resilience agenda at the city level; we have identified six distinctive approaches that have been tried to date.

The capacity, autonomy and support from higher levels of government are critical factors that impact upon a city’s ability to conceptualize and take forward resilience planning. Linking current problems in a city to longer-term climate change resilience challenges through dialogue, planning exercises and projects can arrive at short-term approaches that contribute to longer-term solutions.

In most of the initial ten cities, if not all, ACCCRN will leave behind a group of stakeholders with both the motivation and ability to work together to promote practical approaches to better protecting their city from the impacts of climate change.