A new United Nations report says an increase in extreme weather events and natural disasters like flooding, heatwaves and landslides will impact urban areas the hardest, making climate change adaptation a matter of paramount importance.
UN-Habitat’s World Cities Report 2022, released on Wednesday 24 June 2022 to coincide with the Eleventh Session of the World Urban Forum currently underway in Poland, says urban areas are responsible for 70 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, which means cities must act as leaders of climate action to meet the 1.5 degree Celsius goal set by the Paris Agreement.
Amid warnings about the dangers facing cities, from a sudden global spike in inflation and cost of living, supply chain disruptions, climate change and new armed conflicts, the report details an optimistic vision in which cities are more equitable, greener and more knowledge-based.
“With the right policies and the right commitment from governments, our children can inherit an urban future that is more inclusive, greener, safer and healthier,” said Maimunah Mohd Sharif, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, which produced the report. “We must start by acknowledging that the status quo leading up to 2020 was in many ways an unsustainable model of urban development, and take the best practices learned in our responses to COVID-19 and the climate crisis.”
This new report calls for greater commitment by national, regional and local governments, and encourages the further adoption of innovative technologies and urban living concepts such as the “15-minute city.” Popularized in Paris, Melbourne and other places, it envisages that residents can meet most of their daily needs within a 15-minute journey.