4. Climate policies across intermediary cities in developing countries

This chapter has two main objectives: to highlight the critical role of local governments in establishing successful climate actions, and to help reduce knowledge gaps about climate actions in intermediary cities. The chapter identifies key enabling factors that have led to successful climate actions, based on findings from Africa, Asia and Latin America. It also spotlights the bottlenecks facing local governments in developing countries in the face of rising climate threats.

Cities are increasingly recognised as important agents for economic development, and for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement. Indeed, no global meeting is complete without a mayor or two, while the number of city networks highlights that city/local government concerns continue to increase. Overall, as also shown by the COVID-19 sanitary crisis, city governments play critical roles in establishing a conducive environment for resilience and development, and for identifying and implementing actions to address climate change. In this regard, climate actions focusing on intermediary cities could pay a big dividend.

At present, Information on policies or strategies for addressing climate change in small and medium-sized cities is limited at best. As the urban agenda gains importance, more surveys and initiatives focus on the actions of local governments on climate adaptation and mitigation. However, there are two important caveats. First, most of these studies primarily focus on high-income regions. Second, city studies analysing climate policies in developing countries tend to concentrate on large cities. Yet there is enough evidence to suggest that small and medium-size cities face important constraints in their ability to establish climate policies. In particular, they are challenged by a lack of adequate infrastructure, a financing gap and limited human capacity. Moreover, intermediary cities usually lack the economies of scale and institutional capacity needed for adaptation investments (Revi et al., 2014[1]). This is usually linked to their low national and international profile and to the fragmented governance structures that characterise intermediary cities.

A series of messages stem from this study. First, with the exception of some intermediary cities in Latin America, climate change has often been on the margins of local policies and planning across many of the cities reviewed. Indeed, climate policies are rarely systematically integrated into local plans; rather, they tend to be established sporadically. Second, local governments are critical actors in establishing climate actions. Indeed, in the most successful cases of climate actions – such as in Manizales, Colombia, and Rosario, Argentina – local actors have been the main drivers of the local climate agenda and often are ahead of their respective national governments. Third, there is a strong overlap in strategies or policies that aim to target climate vulnerabilities and those addressing wider socio-economic goals, such as health, infrastructure, etc. Some of the common entry routes for climate policies, such as disaster risk reduction and upgrading of informal settlements, are effective because they target improving the basic needs of vulnerable urban dwellers. They are most effective if they also address the risk-reducing infrastructure needs of urban dwellers, such as provision of health care, safe and sufficient piped water, all-weather access roads, electricity, etc. However, provision of these services tends to be uncoordinated and managed by different departments, reducing the scope for integrated, resilient urban services.

The chapter is structured as follows. The first three sections outline case studies of climate actions in intermediary cities across Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), Asia, and Africa, respectively. The next section highlights common entry points to climate actions: disaster risk reduction (DRR) and informal settlement upgrading and their overlapping functions. The following section outlines common enabling factors that facilitate successful climate actions and anchor climate change policies in the local development process. The final section offers key lessons and a way forward. In general in this study, intermediary cities are defined as those having 50 000 to 1 million inhabitants. It is important to note that some of the case studies presented here concern cities with more than 1 million inhabitants. This is because these cities play an intermediation role, as well as serving as pertinent examples of climate actions in cities across the three regions.

Intermediary cities are important agents for development in highly urbanised developing regions like Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2020, 81% of LAC’s population lived in urban areas, making it the world’s second most urbanised region (after Northern America). Contrary to Asia and Africa, the region has long been heavily urbanised: its urban population came to outnumber its rural population in the early 1960s. In 2020, more than half of the urban population in LAC resided in cities of fewer than 1 million inhabitants (Figure 4.1). Moreover, cities with fewer than 1 million inhabitants in LAC are still growing and are expected to account for up to 32% of urban population growth in the region, by 2035 (UNDESA, 2018[2]). In regions like LAC, where structural transformation is advanced, intermediary cities play an important role as manufacturing hubs, platforms for global value chains and tourist centres. Yet, in a region characterised by high inequality and limited governance capacity, the contribution of these cities to national and subnational development risks being hindered by negative climate shocks.

What does existing evidence tell us about climate actions in LAC’s intermediary cities? Overall, large efforts have been made to build climate resilience, but there is still a long way to go. The cities studied in this section stand out for being ahead of their national governments and other cities in advancing integrated urban, environmental and territorial planning, and on DRR and climate change policies. They also stand out for passing ordinances and generating monitoring and data collection systems. Moreover, these cities have been ahead in working across sectors and engaging with multiple actors. In most cases, academia has been a strong partner, as has civil society including social movements and community organisations. The case studies also show how certain themes begin to interconnect and integrate, and demonstrate the relevance of good governance and city leaders. However, and despite increasing attention to climate resilience and pledges made by many mayors, climate policies in the region have often lagged, with slow implementation. This situation is not exclusive to intermediary cities, but the possibility of achieving more balanced development is often challenging for them. For instance, a study applying a climate vulnerability index (looking into exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity) found that, from a group of 70 intermediary cities in the region, 27 had medium vulnerability and 36 high vulnerability (Novillo, 2018[3]).

The experience of selected intermediary cities in LAC in developing climate actions will be discussed below. In many of these cities, climate action has evolved from the key areas of DDR, urban planning and territorial policy. Table 4.1 presents an overview of the cities and their approach to climate change.

Manizales, an intermediary city in Colombia, is one of the most interesting examples in terms of implementation of climate actions. In 2017, the city had 398 830 inhabitants (Alcadía de Manizales, 2017[4]). The city, which sits in the Andes about halfway between the capital, Bogotá, and the Pacific, is subject to various climate risks, including flooding, severe winds, landslides, thunderstorms, forest fires, etc. (Hardoy and Barrero, 2016[5]).

Established in an area of steep mountain ridges and seismic instability, Manizales has a long history of managing disasters. The eruption of the Nevado de Ruiz volcano in 1985 was a turning point. Since the early 1990s, Manizales has been integrating environmental planning and DRR into its urban planning. The city plans integrate long-standing local urban environmental policy (Biomanizales) and the local environmental action plan (Bioplan), and have involved many stakeholders, both as a legal obligation and as a strategy (UNDRR, 2019[6]). Academia has been a fundamental partner in the process. Given its well-documented experience, Manizales has in many ways shaped and guided national urban environmental policy. The city is widely known for its achievements (Hardoy and Barrero, 2016[5]) and is internationally recognised as a reference in urban resilience (Cardona, 2019[7]).

Over the decades, the work of the Manizales local government in building resilience has had its ups and downs. At times, momentum and local government support have wavered; however, an active and committed academic sector and civil society sustained the work and accumulated decades of learning. For instance, authorities have learned that DRR is only possible when there is a convergence between scientific and technical work, in addition to political and administrative will and community acceptance (Carrizosa, 2018[8]). Support from Corpocaldas, the regional environmental agency, has also been important. The last update of the Territorial Development Plan of Manizales (2017[9]) integrates robust technical-scientific data and political support (Carrizosa, 2018[8]). Key to the process developed in Manizales has been access to good information and generation of knowledge. Indeed, a detailed understanding of the territory allowed local authorities to calculate risk and guide urban development.

The climate-adaptation workstream in Manizales has several components. It is based on the idea that good DRR, environmental sustainability and territorial planning all contribute to adaptation and reduction of vulnerability. Some of the activities include:

  • generating very good databases, an automatic hydrometeorological monitoring system and a risk management index to guide decision making

  • relocation of population in at-risk areas. This has been ongoing for over 30 years with a wide variety of approaches, led by different institutions and programmes. Some programmes are more participatory than others, and they have had various outcomes (Chardon, 2021[10]).

  • a voluntary collective insurance scheme that subsidises insurance for low-income groups. The scheme is financed through property taxes and has been operating since 1999.

  • an environmental surcharge defined by law, which the Municipal Council set at 2%. The tax income is transferred to Corpocaldas, which is responsible for its management and implementation (UNDRR, 2019[6]).

  • tax incentives for property-owners who reduce their vulnerability to risks.

  • awareness campaigns, strong linkage with the education system and an active community that participates in different initiatives.

  • structural work such as slope stabilisation. This has transformed hazard-prone areas into areas with “mitigable risk”, where construction with restrictions is allowed, combined with a network of eco-parks, water management, etc.

  • continuous strengthening of the Guardians of the Slope (Guardianes de Ladera). This is a long-standing programme that trains women living in or near high-risk zones to maintain slope vegetation, control drainage channels, monitor slope stabilisation work, report problems and changes in land use, keep an updated register of families living there at high risk and raise the awareness of their neighbours.

Although mitigation issues figure in the city’s Development Plan, climate-change mitigation has not been a priority line of work in Manizales. However, mitigation is indirectly involved in the environmental coherence of its policies and actions. Sound environmental policies that contribute to mitigation include the protection of environmentally fragile areas and river basins, the development of the eco-park network, reforestation of mountain slopes and river basins, active education of residents, solid waste management, etc. Most of these activities are incorporated in the municipal budget and developed in collaboration with the private sector, universities and civil society organisations (Hardoy and Barrero, 2016[5]). Work has been done to identify the carbon footprint and water footprint of different activities in order to help generate awareness and guide decision making. Corpocaldas has been working on mitigation with projects of REDD+ (the United Nations-backed framework Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation); carbon markets; and CDM (the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism). Recently it developed an Integral Climate Change Management Plan for the region (Plan Integral de Gestión del Cambio Climático del Departamento de Caldas). The plan involves the integration of DRR, adaptation and resilience, and low-carbon development and actions for climate empowerment and governance. Various municipalities, including Manizales, have developed their climate agendas in line with the regional plan.

Santa Fe is an intermediary city in Argentina with approximately half a million inhabitants. The city lies inland near the junction of the Salado and Paraná rivers and is surrounded by lagoons and marshes. This, combined with heavy precipitation, creates a severe risk of flooding (Maurizi and Fontana, 2019[11]).

Santa Fe has suffered many floods, but two in particular have spurred local action. In 2003, one-third of the city was flooded; this caught the city authorities completely unprepared. In 2007 the same city areas were flooded, exposing the lack of official action. Much of the recovery work fell to evacuees and other community members and institutions. They organised and mobilised to claim justice and compensation. An alternative political coalition built its platform around the impact of 50 years with no official urban land policies (Hardoy, Pandiella and Barrero, 2011[12]). Elections were held later in 2007. The mayor at the head of new city government coalition had been dean of the University of El Litoral (the regional university), and he brought with him a team of professors who moved from academia to public office. Among other priorities, they decided to incorporate disaster risk management (DRM) as “state public policy” in the new urban development plan, backed up by municipal ordinances and internal restructuring.

Santa Fe was managed by the same coalition for the following three four-year political administrations (2007-19). Political commitment was kept alive by political continuity and co-operation among sectoral and DRM representatives of the city. There was also increasing support in mayoral elections from low-income electoral districts (historically, among the most exposed and vulnerable to urban flood risk). The DRM Office has a cross-cutting role in mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in other sectoral departments of the municipal government. This was facilitated by the formal inclusion of the director of the DRM Office in regular cabinet meetings; joint organisation of DRM training for municipal employees with one of the public universities; and strong linkage between the DRM Office and the Department of Communications, which has been central for embedding the DRM approach internally and externally (UNDRR, 2019[6]). The Housing Department (Agencia Santa Fe Habitat) developed a strong programme to address vulnerability by providing land security and tenure regularisation to houses built in areas not at risk of flooding and generating programmes to relocate those in at-risk areas.

Moreover, Santa Fe adopted an integrated approach to addressing urban resilience, which helped the city gain renown and access to international funds. City officials developed ordinances and implemented value-capture tools to minimise flood risks (De la sala, 2019[13]). Santa Fe joined city networks as it became nationally and globally recognised for its DRR approach and urban planning. In 2014, the local government began to apply for international financing for DRR and resilience. This included being part of the 100 Resilient Cities programme of The Rockefeller Foundation and developing the city’s Resilience Strategy, which allowed local leaders to tap into different types of support and guidance. They also received funds from the French Development Agency (AFD) to support nature-based solutions. They created reserves to limit the city’s expansion over flood-prone areas, improving the absorptive capacity of the soil and increasing the quality of life of residents (Simet, 2018[14]). Santa Fe also got involved in the Mercociudades city network, developing training courses on resilience for other cities and presenting the city’s experience at international events such as the UN’s Habitat III housing conference in 2016.

Santa Fe’s local strategies have enabled the city to access various funds in addition to municipal resources. Since 2008, the Department of Water Resources has had an annual budget for the operation and maintenance of the flood defence and pumping systems. The city’s clear definition of a DRM public policy helped it to secure financing from higher political-administrative levels, especially for drainage infrastructure, relocation and upgrading of flood-prone settlements. As Santa Fe officials became important national and global players, it became easier to access programmes and funding.

Santa Fe’s resilience strategy integrates various cross-cutting issues. The strategy includes social inclusion, integration of information, “living with water” and a metropolitan focus. Climate change mitigation does not appear as a high priority; however, local officials work on transportation, mobility and solid waste management as a means to improve overall city quality (Valsagna and Tejedor, 2017[15]). DRR efforts in Santa Fe were also supported by a very strong communication and awareness-raising campaign that has been sustained over the years. The campaign aimed to keep the past alive so that no one would forget to shape the future city, and to ensure that everyone understood the risks and the importance of flood defence and water drainage system. The awareness strategy also included training of mass-media professionals to ensure better communication.

Many cities in Latin America have started to work on climate change via a more sustainable urban development approach. This has been driven both by local at-risk contexts and by international agendas, regional initiatives and national legislation that demanded engagement. So far not much has been written about these cities, but this is changing as more of them take part in regional and international initiatives and their cases become documented.

Rosario is a large intermediary city, with approximately 1.5 million inhabitants. Similar to other cities in the Province of Santa Fe, Rosario faces large flooding risks, as well as other threats including extreme heat and precipitation (Hardoy and Ruete, 2013[16]; Gobierno Provincia de Santa Fe, 2014[17]).

Long-term political commitment and effective urban governance have been important drivers of Rosario’s resilience. Over the years, Rosario has shown commitment to decentralisation, transparency, accountability and participation, characterised by its long-term policies and governance systems (Seridan and Satterthwaite, 2016[18]). For more than 30 years, it has used a development paradigm that prioritises quality of life (Mastrángelo and Carbuccia, 2020[19]). Its long tradition of urban planning has evolved to include a broad vision of urban challenges and responses, a commitment to environmental sustainability and a strategic plan that involves multiple actors and sectors and encompasses the whole metropolitan area (Hardoy and Ruete, 2013[16]). What sustains everything is strong long-term political support by successive administrations.

Rosario’s resilience is underpinned by a development strategy that is cross-sectoral, participatory and multistakeholder. The city administration has intertwined various lines of work, including urban planning, social development, health, DRR, environmental planning, education, mobility and solid waste management, among others, in an effort to embark on a sustainable development pathway (Barlett and Satterthwaite, 2016[20]). Here are some highlights of Rosario’s planning approach and success in implementation:

  • Successive plans are developed in a participatory way (including joint plans that have involved participation of various sectors and stakeholders, including the local population) and guide and structure the city’s development (Mastrángelo and Carbuccia, 2020[19]).

  • The plans are realistic and implementable because of their clear rules, innovative mechanisms for accessing funds, the establishment of public-private partnerships and agreements among different stakeholders.

  • Attention is paid to a learning component, which adds flexibility in addressing challenges (Seridan and Satterthwaite, 2016[18]);

  • The approach builds on strong institutions, civil society and the private sector.

  • The city’s decentralisation process increases proximity between local government and citizens.

Rosario’s climate-action planning process is comprehensive and tailored to the needs of the city. The city administration, in partnership with local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and universities, began to develop its climate strategy in 2009 (Mastrángelo and Carbuccia, 2020[19]). The plans and programmes developed over the years not only carry multiple environmental benefits but also tend to be anticipatory, not just reactive (Seridan and Satterthwaite, 2016[18]). The city also participates in city networks and regional and global meetings, and has subscribed to different climate initiatives.

Rosario’s climate planning process is guided by interdisciplinary, participative, scientific and technical knowledge. It aims to set the city on a path of sustainable, socially balanced and inclusive development. In 2015, through local decree No. 9.424, the city established a local climate action plan to guide and align local policies, which led to the development of the Plan Local de Respuesta Climática (Local Climate Response Plan).1 The plan cut across all local policies (territorial planning, mobility, DRR, public services, energy efficiency and renewable energy, sustainable construction, public spaces, urban agriculture, etc.). In this way, most of the local climate action agenda consisted of policies that were already being implemented by different city offices. These offices consider future actions that need to be accelerated, strengthened, amplified or re-oriented, or complemented with other actions aiming to move forward on decarbonisation and resilience.

Within the climate planning process, mitigation and adaptation projects were developed. Technical teams of the municipality were tasked with identifying ongoing actions and developing new projects, and the impact was quantified, evaluated and complemented with the inputs of multiple actors of civil society via a participatory process. Starting from 2016, initiatives undertaken in Rosario (Mastrángelo and Carbuccia, 2020[19]) include:

  • awareness raising and capacity building, for civil servants and the community in general

  • development of climate-change impact scenarios (2035, 2065 and 2100) and establishment of monitoring mechanisms

  • establishment of clear linkages between climate-change impacts, health and vector-borne diseases such as dengue, zika and chikungunya; basic infrastructure; and services

  • generation of a GHG emissions inventory

  • elaboration of a Local Risk Map that combines the spatial distribution of climate hazards with social and physical vulnerability.

Local authorities in Rosario established wide-ranging actions under both adaptation and mitigation lines of work. In terms of climate adaptation, special attention is paid to city water management. This includes management of water and sanitation, drainage, water retention devices, building code and restrictions on land use in flood areas. Attention is also focused on management of public spaces, DRR (including early warning systems and a network of municipal meteorological stations), strengthening the health system and monitoring vector-borne diseases. In terms of mitigation, the city addressed urban mobility. It created bike lanes and a public rental bike system; promoted public transportation and improved the quality and type of fuel/energy used in public vehicles; created exclusive lanes; reconfigured sidewalks; discussed use of private vehicles; and rethought the urban freight transportation system. Other actions included sustainable solid waste management (separation, recycling, composting, disposal), energy efficiency and certification of sustainable constructions, and promoting the use of renewable energy (Mastrángelo and Carbuccia, 2020[19]). In 2021, Rosario won The World Resource Institute’s Ross Centre Prize for Cities for its urban and peri-urban agriculture programme and social inclusion. Launched in the wake of Argentina’s economic crisis in 2001, the programme aimed to promote sustainable food production, restore land, control urban sprawl and improve climate resilience (WRI, 2021[21]).

Portoviejo, with close to 280 000 inhabitants, is one of the most vulnerable urban areas in Ecuador. The city is located inland from the Pacific coast in the Province of Manabí, which is highly susceptible to floods, droughts, landslides, mudslides and tsunamis (Fernandez et al, 2015[22]).

The post-earthquake situation of 2016 was taken as an opportunity to re-create Portoviejo and innovate. It was also an opportunity to rethink the city’s design, including its relationship with the Portoviejo River. As aid arrived, the local government began to guide investments in public works and used support received from international organisations to quickly develop projects for implementation. The city government began to accelerate plans and develop new ones with the idea of making Portoviejo the best Ecuadorian city to live in (Municipio de Portoviejo, 2019[23]).

Local government climate actions got underway with the hiring consultants to develop an Urban Master Plan ( (Gobierno Municipal del Cantón Portovejo, 2017[24])). Work took place at three levels: 1) the city and its surrounding area, to understand uses of land and propose ideas to treat different needs such as vacant areas, urban borders, the river corridor, etc.; 2) the form of the city, by dividing it into areas to understand mobility, densities, building heights, infrastructure and services, etc.; and 3) special plans for the different neighbourhoods. This was developed in phases that included diagnosis, revision and integration of different sectorial plans; the design of the Urban Master Plan (which included the River Portoviejo Master Plan); and special plans for different sectors. The local government continued with several lines of work,2 including a Multi-Hazard Protection Plan and Integral Improvement Plans.3

One of the city’s main goals was to start implementing the Portoviejo river corridor master plan in stages. The plan aimed to integrate the city with the river, restore and recover the natural morphology of the riverbanks, integrate/incorporate the idea of resilience to better withstand shocks and stresses, and promote the socio-economic development of the different areas along the river. This also involved work to adjust to specific local ordinances.

Driven by the need for integral analysis of the territory and its dynamic, Portoviejo’s local leaders are working hard to integrate information and generate good diagnoses. In addition to the Urban Master Plan, they generated the Actual Territorial Model (Modelo Territorial Actual), which combines information on natural resources, urban structures and economic-productive activities. The resulting map and matrix showed main challenges, such as lack of infrastructure, exposure to hazards and deforestation; opportunities related to cultural, natural heritage and tourism; administrative and commercial opportunities; and fertile land for agricultural development. The planning was done in a participatory way, leading to the creation of the Desired Territorial Model (Modelo Territorial Deseado), a vision of the city plan that is included in Plan Portoviejo 2035, a development and territorial plan. This is multiscale planning that corresponds to programmes and projects, with national and subnational levels aiming to promote sustainable development. Sustainability is promoted through risk-reduction and climate mitigation policies, equitable access to infrastructure and multilevel governance, all of which are integrated coherently with the urban planning process.

As in other cities in the region, the mitigation workstream in Portoviejo is concentrated mostly on improving mobility. Portoviejo’s Mobility Plan for the Cantón (Plan Mobilidad Sustentable Cantón Portoviejo 2014-19) recognises the city’s limitations and possibilities. It concentrates on improving the public transportation network, generating pedestrian corridors, removing barriers and generating bike lanes. The city is also working on improving green spaces with an integrated network of parks and green areas at different scales (Gobierno Municipal del Cantón Portovejo, 2017[24]).

Moreover, the local government has been effective at connecting with outside stakeholders and learning from other cities. It launched a programme of slope guardians (similar to that of Manizales) and developed special plans as a more effective means of getting needed approvals and funds, and of advancing in implementation, much like the city of Rosario. Part of the planning process has involved partnerships and collective efforts in which universities, local design professionals and architects’ studios (both national and international) have worked together with teams from the Municipality of Portoviejo and Plan Ciudad Portoviejo to define a new vision for the city and the Portoviejo River watershed. Support has been received from Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina (CAF), and the French Development Agency (AFD), to establish a GHG inventory and evaluate climate trends within a regional initiative that is promoting low carbon and resilient development. The work aims to integrate climate aspects in projects, promote awareness-raising for local governments and generate climate co-benefits in urban projects.

Santo Tomé is a small intermediary city. It had 61 133 inhabitants as of the latest census in 2010 and is projected to grow to 81 000 by 2025. The city is located at the mouth of the Salado River and is prone to flooding. Nonetheless, the climate actions of Santo Tomé lag behind those of cities such as Santa Fe and Rosario (Hardoy et al., 2019[25]).

Santo Tomé’s climate actions have mainly come in response to demands that originated from a lack of services and infrastructure. Local actions had little planning, with little incorporation of climate-change parameters. The city has developed a system of flood defences and pumping, but this is reaching the limits of its capacity. The city government has taken advantage of two participatory planning processes that called for integrated approaches to urban problem solving. Both originated from outside Santo Tomé:

  • The Plan Base (Base Plan) was developed over 2013-14 as part of a provincial strategic planning process carried out with the support of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and UNESCO. The planning tool aimed to support cities in crafting more sustainable and balanced urban development. It allowed project participants to analyse a set of variables and agree on ten strategic projects for the following ten years (Gobierno Provincia de Santa Fe, 2014[17]).

  • A participatory planning research action project within the Climate Resilient Cities Initiative4 sought to develop a practical decision-making process that would empower residents and facilitate discussions on the implementation of strategies that could contribute to resilient urban development and generate a commitment from local governments to do things differently. It also allowed the possibility to identify and agree on a range of feasible follow-up options (a portfolio of project drafts) (Hardoy et al., 2018[26]). The project included opportunities to build both internal and external capacities.

These two processes sparked the interest of the local government, particularly the mayor. Now in her second term, the mayor is committed to continue working on building climate resilience and seeking opportunities to further strengthen the municipality’s integrated planning process. Some of the recommendations being followed today are:

  • Review processes and government plans. This entails making sure to build climate resilience and to make this a common practice, regardless of the duration of mandates, short-term commitments or sectoral interests

  • Strengthen local governance. This involves improving horizontal co-ordination between municipal departments, harmonising plans among sectors and between the municipal government and civil society actors, training of local stakeholders on how to hold spaces of meaningful participation where they can influence territorial development planning

  • Adapt the organisational structure. To carry out resilience work, the municipality must have a work team dedicated to the comprehensive planning of the territory, with an understanding of disaster risks and resilience. This team must integrate, harmonise and strengthen public policies that favour resilience, such as working on the adaptation of urban codes, land use and application of various existing urban instruments and their integration with plans for infrastructure and services. A new directorate was established after completion of the project, with the Director of Hydraulics assuming responsibility for climate-resilience planning and monitoring to ensure that all plans, processes and interventions made sense from a hydraulic point of view. This involved the incorporation of new trained staff, technical resources and strong political support.

  • Generate useful information bases. All municipal information generation is to be integrated in a spatially referenced information system. This did not exist prior to the project. With the support of the provincial government, the city managed to get the human and technical resources needed to start building the information base.

  • Begin to build a portfolio of key projects. The portfolio, which is to include a resilience lens, could be pulled out as soon as funding opportunities arise.

Santa Ana is an intermediary city in El Salvador that is expanding without effective planning or integrated climate strategies. The city is surrounded by hillsides and the River Lempa; as of 2013, its inhabitants numbered 264 091 (Hardoy et al., 2019[25]). The population of Santa Ana, a quickly growing city with rapid built-up expansion, is increasingly exposed to risks such as floods, droughts, soil degradation, forest fires and volcanic eruptions (Hardoy et al., 2019[25]).

Although the city is part of the participatory planning project of the Resilient Cities Initiative, it lacks a comprehensive approach to climate change. Problems include a lack of territorial planning; the expansion of low-density peripheral housing to at-risk areas that are also key natural service providers; and a lack of integrated river basin management. Nevertheless, the city has an emergency response approach. As in the case of Santo Tomé, Argentina, the Resilient Cities Initiative facilitated discussions between stakeholders and helped in the generation of a set of recommendations and a portfolio of projects. What was particularly interesting in the case of Santa Ana was the strong engagement of civil society and the decision to develop a climate-change roundtable composed of local actors (established in May 2017). Local officials and technicians from the municipality, academia and civil society attended project workshops and wanted to extend the conversation on climate-resilient development. The roundtable met over several months, started to develop projects and was key in terms of providing credibility to participatory processes and the exchange between actors and municipal institutions. Their aim was to become a permanent consulting group to guide decision making. However, when local authorities changed, the roundtable lost support and possibilities to engage with city authorities (Hardoy et al., 2018[26]).

Santana, Abaetetuba, Ponta de Pedras and Mazagão are cities in Brazil’s Amazon Delta and Estuary (ADE) region. The ADE region is a highly climate-variable area formed by one of the largest estuarine areas in the world. It is also the most densely populated area within Amazonia (Cavalcante and Almeida, 2018[27]). Research shows that approximately 1.2 million people (41% of the area’s population) face flood risks due to lack of planning, occupation of lowlands and lack of investments (De Lima et al., 2020[28]). The region includes large urban centres such as Belém (with 1 485 000 inhabitants in the city and 2.5 million in the metro area) and Macapá (with a population of 474 706 in 2017), both of which are state capitals. The region also includes complex networks of small and medium-sized urban centres. Although many cities retain some rural characteristics, the urbanisation process has made them some of the fastest growing localities in Amazonia.

Santana, Abaetetuba, Ponta de Pedras and Mazagão, of varying population size, are highly vulnerable to climate-induced threats. Santana (State of Amazonia), with a population of 99 000 (101 262 inhabitants in the municipality) and Abatatuba (State of Para), with a population of 83 000 (141 100 inhabitants in the municipality), are in the lower population range of intermediary cities. Ponta de Pedras and Mazagão are smaller towns, with a population of around 30 000 each. These cities and towns share common characteristics such as a livelihood and culture tied to the local environment. They also share common rising climate vulnerabilities resulting from sea-level rise, regional migration and socio-economic crises. Underlying low socio-economic conditions, such as lack of access to potable water, sanitation and drainage services, are some of the main concerns. In the north of Brazil, only 45.3 % of the population has access to water through a network, and 20.8% have no water treatment.

Addressing the needs of these cities and building their climate resilience is essential. They need adequate investments, which in turn require better political co-operation, innovation, good urban planning and inclusive governance. Building resilience and continuing to provide services and employment opportunities will depend on the implementation of DRR and climate-change policies (De Lima et al., 2020[28]). The participation of Santana, Abaetetuba, Ponta de Pedras and Mazagão in the Climate Resilient Cities Initiative is helping them to find solutions to some of the climate-related challenges they face.

The Climate Resilient Cities Initiative (2016-19) in the four localities involved interviews with key informants and focus groups with local leaders, residents, government actors and faculty and students from local universities (Cavalcante and Almeida, 2018[27]). As with the initiative’s other projects, tools and material were shared and made available to everyone. Some of the outputs of the projects include:

  • building a data set with rainfall and temperature collected for more than three decades in climatological stations located in the delta and near the cities involved in the project and with insights into the longer-term changes in climate variables in a highly dynamic context. This data assists in characterising ongoing processes of climate change and variability, and in identifying the frequency and intensity of weather anomalies in or near the cities.

  • constructing a vulnerability index (based on census sector data/smallest aerial survey units) and applying a multicriteria analysis (exposure, socio-economic sensitivity, infrastructure). This was complemented with interviews with government technicians to create vulnerability maps for the cities.

  • identification of varying resilience options. While residents commonly change their livelihood strategies to respond to and recover from damaging floods, rainstorms and dry spells, policy makers tend to focus their actions on relief assistance to victims of catastrophic events such as landslides. Residents noted that they were better prepared to deal with catastrophic floods and droughts than with severe rainstorms that occur annually. Residents use rural and urban resources through sophisticated family, ethnic and neighbourhood social networks and collective action.

  • developing a mobile application, AquiAlaga, to connect generators and users of local risk information and allow them to transmit and obtain information almost immediately. Many of the hydroclimatic events that affect livelihoods and the environment in small towns are not formally identified as catastrophic events, so disaster relief agencies end up providing no support to residents. However, information and records of the frequency, intensity and severity of storms, droughts and floods, as well as the impact on livelihoods and the environment, are abundantly documented and shared by residents through social media and the use of cell phones. The application is used in Belém, Abaetetuba, Ponta de Pedras, Santana and Mazagão. In collaboration with the Amazon Protection System (SIPAM), the application was improved and integrated into the Natural Disaster Prevention and Warning System of the Ministry of Defence. This is an important step, together with building data sets and vulnerability maps, as municipalities often do not have their own monitoring system and instead depend on federal, state and neighbouring municipal monitoring systems. However cities are often not able to generate data on events that will affect them in particular (AquiAlaga, n.d.[29]).

  • developing a rainwater collection prototype for families living in vulnerable areas in Abaetetuba. Neighbours, health agents and local leaders were involved in the project. The system collects and treats rainwater. It has economic benefits compared to the construction of deep wells, all the more so compared to the construction of a water supply system in a flood area. Three families can share the prototype. It is expected that local authorities will eventually support its implementation.

Asia accounts for the largest urban population in the world. As of 2020, 51% of Asia’s population, or 2.4 billion people, were living in urban areas, of whom 54% lived in cities with fewer than 1 million inhabitants (UNDESA, 2018[2]). Asian intermediary cities tend to be larger than intermediary cities in other developing regions. They are very dynamic and are expected to account for up to 38% of urban population growth by 2030.

In most of the case studies analysed in this section, and in contrast to Latin America and the Caribbean, climate action is the result of actions started by community-based organisations (with rare cases of local government participation) and international stakeholders. These initiatives have helped to clarify goals and promote the inclusion of climate-related outcomes into budgeting and planning. These actions, along with the upgrading of informal settlements, have been pillars for building resilience against climate change in the Asian intermediary cities studied in this chapter. Table 4.2 outlines the case studies presented in this section, along with an overview of their climate-change policies.

The coastal city of San Francisco, in Cebu province, is one of the municipalities of the Camotes islands in the Camotes Sea. In 2015, the city had roughly 55 000 inhabitants. Its principal economic activities are small-scale commercial and sustenance fishing, farming and animal husbandry. The people of San Francisco are mostly self-employed as small retailers or work in the services and tourism sectors (Bawagan et al., 2015[30]).

San Francisco is affected by typhoons and heavy rainfall that threaten its agricultural land and economic resources. Since it is located on a small island, San Francisco faces isolation from the rest of the province in the aftermath of climate disasters. It faces the risk of destruction of its weak infrastructure and housing, and a shortage of drinkable water. Climate change is expected to intensify climate risks such as rising temperatures, rising sea-levels and increased precipitation that could lead to landslides, droughts and changes in the intensity of monsoons (Bawagan et al., 2015[30]). There is also a growing strain on mangroves from illegal fishing and coastal development (Bawagan et al., 2015[30]).

Over the years, San Francisco has carried out innovative actions to build resilience against climate threats. It institutionalized DRM structures at the purok level (Johnson and Blackburn, 2014[31]). The purok is the lowest level of governance and plays a key role in disseminating and acting on disaster information, as well as in waste management, improving livelihoods and promoting education (Curato and Calamba, 2020[32]). Puroks are also key in ensuring nutrition and social cohesion (Cheng and Kim, 2019[33]). The system proved successful during Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, when collaboration between the local government unit and the puroks facilitated pre-emptive evacuation and prompt rehabilitation efforts (Cheng and Kim, 2019[33]). Despite the magnitude of the typhoon, zero casualties were reported in San Francisco, proving the effectiveness of the system and making the municipality a role model of the UN Making Resilient Cities Campaign. This form of organisation highlights the importance of involving local actors in DRM and recognising that their main asset was their strength as a community. Moreover, the system was not implemented in one go, showing that establishing and implementing community-based interventions is a long process that requires building relationships of trust and constant follow-up (Cheng and Kim, 2019[33]).

The local government of San Francisco has been implementing proactive measures to build local climate resilience. In 2018 the local government was awarded PHK 38.1 million (Philippine pesos) to implement climate adaptation programmes at the local level. The fund was part of the country’s People’s Survival Fund, an annual fund for the implementation of adaptation programmes by local governments. The fund was used to implement a water management programme with the aim of reducing dependence on groundwater and implementing rainwater catchment systems (SunStar Phillipines, 2018[34]). The local government also planned to implement a Climate Resilient Family Farm Planning programme aiming to strengthen the capacities of local farmers in their livelihood adaptation strategies (Office of the President of the Philippines, 2018[35]). San Francisco is one of the most active local governments in the Philippines, establishing climate actions through proactive partnerships and engagement with the national government as well as local communities.

Bandar Lampung is one of the most important cities on the island of Sumatra. The city extends for 27 kilometres along the southern coast and is characterised by wet and tropical weather. It is home to around 900 000 inhabitants, with the population projected to reach 1.2 million in 2030. Population growth is largely driven by transmigration (inter-island migration) and the city’s proximity to Jakarta, located in the nearby island of Java (Lassa and Nugraha, 2015[36]).

Due to its geographic location, Bandar Lampung is exposed to tsunamis and volcanic activity. In 1883, the eruption of Krakatoa caused deadly tsunamis that severely hit the area where Bandar Lampung is now located. The lowlands suffered important damage, while the upper part was safer. These two areas later united into the city of Bandar Lampung, but social and economic inequalities still exist between the two areas. Moreover, the city is at high risk of extreme weather events like floods and droughts related to the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon (Lassa and Nugraha, 2015[36]).

Bandar Lampung lacks coherent strategies for adapting to climate change. Informal settlements located along the coastline are at high risk of floods, tsunamis and sea-level rise. Additional challenges, such as poor solid-waste management and scarcity of fresh water, create tensions between usage for residential and agricultural purposes.

In 2009, Bandar Lampung became part of the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) along with other Southeast Asian cities. Through the programme, the city developed ex-ante strategies for adaptation to climate change and for building resilience in the communities. The programme’s multilevel approach involved international NGOs, think tanks and the local government. The City Team, a multistakeholder platform, was created to carry out the project (Taylor and Lassa, 2015[37]). The project had five phases: 1) shared learning dialogues; 2) vulnerability assessment; 3) pilot projects; 4) City Resilience Strategy; and 5) Action Plan. During the first year (phases 1 and 2), relevant stakeholders held multiple dialogues to build knowledge and mutual understanding, and to identify climate hazards and vulnerable populations. In the second year, the project determined its priorities and put pilot projects in place. The City Resilience Strategy identified financing opportunities, connecting recommendations to budgeting and thus helping with local policy decisions. Finally the Action Plan for the city was shaped (Taylor and Lassa, 2015[37]).

The programme’s most relevant impact was to put climate change and environmental hazards on the decision table, as recommendations were taken up in the local medium-term planning agenda. Factors that influenced its success included: collaboration among different stakeholders through knowledge sharing; support from the local government, both in terms of environmental awareness and funding; and the increasing public interest in environmental issues (Taylor and Lassa, 2015[37]). The project has been successful in creating environmental sensitivity in the city and an increased fiscal capacity. However, there is no measurable evidence as to the reduction of vulnerability, and environmental spending is still modest (Lassa and Nugraha, 2015[36]). The sustainability and long-term success of this type of programme will rely on the incentives provided once outside stakeholders leave the project.

The upgrading of informal settlements has been the basis for urban resilience across many cities in Asia. Many examples come from initiatives by national federations of slum/shack dwellers, such as the National Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF) in India and its sister organisation, Mahila Milan, and the Homeless People’s Federation of the Philippines. Although the upgrading experiences described below are very different, what they have in common is support from grassroots organisations. These organisations have formed across each nation, typically as savings groups, and have built links with local government that often develop into partnerships.

Large numbers of households in intermediary cities in Thailand have benefited from slum upgrading programmes led by local community organisations. A national government organisation, the Community Organisations Development Institute (CODI), funds and supports community organisations formed in Thailand by the inhabitants of informal settlements to plan and upgrade their settlement. For instance, actions by a programme called the Baan Mankong (“secure tenure”) includes negotiating with the landowner to sell or lease the land to the inhabitants. If this not possible, support is also available for finding alternative sites. The importance of this example for this analysis is not only the high quality of the upgrading process (and its contribution to climate-change resilience), but also that many of the 100 000 plus households who have benefitted from the programme are in intermediary cities (Boonyabancha and Kerr, 2018[38]). It shows how the scale of such interventions is greatly increasing via work with hundreds of local partners, community organisations and local governments.

Many recipients of support from the Asian Coalition for Community Action (ACCA) for community-led upgrading are also intermediary cities. This programme, working in 215 cities in 19 nations, has catalysed community-driven upgrading in more than 1 800 small communities and more than 100 larger housing initiatives. In each city, community organisations choose what to do with their modest external funding, take action with it and bring city government officials to see what they have done. This often leads to a joint working group at the city level to provide a platform for community networks, city governments, civic groups, NGOs and academics to plan and manage the upgrading. In many of the cities, new local funds have been developed, jointly managed with the local government.

Another example of upgrading in intermediary cities is the Homeless Peoples’ Federation of the Philippines. The programme has chapters in 33 cities throughout the country (ACHR/ACCA, 2014[39]). It has received support from ACCA, mostly for community-led upgrading of informal settlements, and most of the 24 cities or municipalities where the initiatives were located were intermediary cities (ACHR/ACCA, 2014[39]). For instance, Mandaue, a city of 362 654 inhabitants in the 2015 census, there is a long history of collaboration between community organisations (the Homeless People’s Federation of the Philippines and the citywide urban poor alliance), a progressive mayor and a supportive local government. This partnership developed a large on-site upgrading project where 1 600 families got tenure and support for building new homes. It is also relocated 1 200 families living in dangerous areas around the city.

The Indonesian city of Surakarta (also known as Solo) is located in Central Java Province. It sits next to the Bengawan, an important river on the island. It is home to 600 000 inhabitants and has strategic political and economic importance in the region. The city features a tropical monsoon climate, with a lengthy wet season from October through June and consistent temperatures year round.

Along the Bengawan riverbank, large numbers of low-income populations live in informal neighbourhoods. Due to their closeness to the river and the fragility of the buildings, the frequent inundations impact them severely. Moreover, as they build their homes on public land and most lack land tenure, it is difficult for these informal dwellers to get an identity card, which is a requirement for accessing basic services such as education or health (Taylor, 2015[40]). These communities fall into a cycle of vulnerability, as they cannot afford to live in a safer place, but also cannot access basic services to improve their situation.

Following a number of climate disasters, the local government in Sukarata implemented a series of climate actions. In November 2007, seasonal rain caused flooding that led to severe infrastructure damage, particularly in the communities of the riverbank. The local government decided to pair emergency relief with a relocation policy that attempted to reduce the long-term vulnerability of the informal dwellers. It offered to relocate the riverbank communities to new land, offering cash grants for resettlement and expediting tenure for new plots of land (Weru et al., 2018[41]). They also launched a policy to distribute ID cards for those without them, allowing the recipients to access basic services. The programme proved to be quite successful, as interviews with the relocated population show that nearly 1 000 households were relocated and that families felt satisfied with the outcome. Nevertheless, those dwellers that did not have land tenure deemed the cash grant too low and did not resettle to a safer area (Taylor, 2015[40]) .

The initiative took a multilevel approach. It engaged different levels of administration and formed Kelompok Kerja (working groups), which proved to be essential to connect different stakeholders and make sure that the services were provided. The initiative also covered the costs of relocation of migrants from outside the city instead of focusing solely on Surakarta’s citizens (Taylor, 2015[40]). This allowed the migrants to access basic services that would not have been available in other circumstances.

In 2009, a new initiative called Solo Kota Kita was born with the goal to “increase awareness of urban issues so residents can strengthen their voice in participatory budgeting (musrenbang)” (Solo Kota Kita, n.d.[42]). This initiative surveys and maps all of the neighbourhoods in Solo, including those along the riverbank. Citizens can then access detailed atlases of the city that include information on urban development, economic profile and the availability of public services. In this way, there is a better connection between the needs of citizens and investment in urban development by the local government.

The ACCCRN has been one of the leading initiatives on climate change in urban areas across Asia. The work of this network has included detailed studies of cities involved in climate-change adaptation, resilience-building initiatives and engagement with government to assess vulnerabilities and implement mitigation strategies. It began its work in 2008 in ten cities, and in 2012 support was extended to 46 more cities, most of them intermediary cities, with the involvement of Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), an international NGO that promotes sustainable development. A working paper by Scott and Archer (2017[43]) drew on key lessons learned from 15 city resilience strategies from India, Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines. In this sample, four of the 15 cities had populations of 1 million plus; eight had 50 000 to 1 million inhabitants; and three had fewer than 50 000. ACCCRN-India also worked in cities of different sizes, including working with Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group, a local NGO, to support resilience strategies in Gorakhpur, Basirhat, Saharsa and Jorhat.

Key findings from these studies highlight:

  • the importance of engaging all key actors and institutions. One of the critiques of resilience thinking is that it does not pay sufficient attention to “people, power and politics’”.

  • the different ways in which planning processes include or exclude actors and institutions (Bahadur and Tanner, 2014[44]). This includes community and civil society groups selected in line with local hazards (e.g. communities susceptible to landslides) and forms of political organisation (e.g. trade unions). The inclusion of community groups in the early stages of resilience planning, as well as during the implementation phases, is critical.

  • achieving scale. So far, 46 cities have benefited from the ICLEI–ACCCRN process and the various forms of support that accompany it. However, countless other cities remain in need of similar forms of support, and questions remain around how best to extend this. As such, it is worth reflecting on ways in which this initiative achieved scale and how it could be scaled up further in future.

The ICLEI–ACCCRN process raises questions with regard to embeddedness and transformation in climate actions. What steps need to be taken to ensure that resilience strategies, and the processes behind them, become genuinely embedded in the cities in ways that are transformational, reshaping local structures of political economy? To what extent can the process inform and change the way the city operates over decades to ensure that resilience-building initiatives evolve as the nature of climate threats changes and the city itself evolves?

Africa has one of the world’s fastest growing urban population. In 2020, 44% of Africa‘s population was living in urban areas, and 63% of the urban population lived in cities with fewer than 1 million inhabitants (Figure 4.3). In contrast to Latin America and the Caribbean, where city governments have taken action (sometimes supported by the national government), Africa’s experiences in local climate action are mostly the result of initiatives supported by international agencies.

Studies on intermediary cities in Africa and their climate vulnerabilities remain low, as in other developing regions. Ironically, there is now far less literature on intermediary cities and their role in supporting agricultural and rural development than there was during the 1980s (Rondinelli, 1982[45]), when there was a considerable amount of literature.

Although climate policies across intermediary cities remain isolated in the region, the case studies presented in this section show the different paths that can be followed. From national initiatives that look at the urban system to local governments that work on developing long-term climate objectives, these examples show the importance of local leadership and multilevel actions. As in the case of Asia, both informal settlement upgrading and international partnerships are key for triggering climate action.

Table 4.3 summarises the case studies presented in this section and highlights some of the key climate policies across intermediary cities in Africa.

Although there is little documentation on government-led climate policies in intermediary cities in Africa, what is documented is the lack of capacity and funding for all aspects of development, including climate resilience. This includes lack of access to climate funds, as illustrated in the cases of Karonga, Malawi, and Ambo, Ethiopia.

The city of Karonga is an example of the multidimensional challenges that local governments face in their capacities to address climate change. Karonga, with an estimated 63 000 inhabitants in 2018, faces large climate risks such as floods, droughts and earthquakes. Between 2009 and 2016, Karonga experienced floods at least once a year and sometimes more frequently (Manda and Wanda, 2017[46]). These climate risks put a large strain on the town’s underdeveloped infrastructure, with poor water and sanitation services, poor solid waste management systems and expanding informal settlements (UN-Habitat, 2020[47]).

Karonga faces large challenges when it comes to managing climate risks. One of the most pertinent issues is that it lacks a local city administration or government. Despite its fast growth, the city has been managed by a rural council since the dissolution of its local council in 2009. This is a major problem, as the rural council is inadequate in managing the complex challenges faced by the city, and climate change is likely to exacerbate this (Manda and Wanda, 2017[46]). Premature deaths from indoor air pollution and tuberculosis are already high in Karonga, and frequent extreme climate events such as floods can cause additional health risks and overburden the council’s capacities (UN-Habitat, 2020[47]; Manda and Wanda, 2017[46]). Informal settlements, which host the largest share of the city’s population, are at particular risk of climate-induced threats.

Ambo, with a population estimated at 80 000 in 2016, is one of the oldest municipalities in Ethiopia. It is governed by a municipal administration and has had a master plan since 1981 (Ogato et al., 2017[48]; Ogato, 2013[49]). Ambo is surrounded by rivers and serves as an important hub for transportation, administration and commerce for the zonal-level administration in the Oromia region (UN-Habitat, 2008[50]); see (OECD/PSI, 2020[51]) for institutional mapping of Ethiopia.

Ambo has seen increasing climate risks over the last decades. Disasters have included urban flooding, water stress, Urban Heat Island effect (increased urban heat), wind storms and dust storms (Ogato et al., 2017[48]). These climate shocks damage crops and infrastructure, including interrupting electricity supply, and also lead to soil erosion and an overall loss in economic activities while increasing public health risks (Ogato et al., 2017[48]; Ogato, 2013[49]).

Climate change and fast population growth are putting increasing strains on Ambo’s infrastructure and local government capacities. Two factors heavily affect the city’s climate resilience: poor land-use planning and management, and very limited capacity of the city authorities to improve in this area while also meeting other municipal responsibilities (Ogato et al., 2017[48]). Moreover, the city largely lacks adequate systems for waste management: half of the households are not equipped with toilet facilities, and rivers are often used as disposal points (UN-Habitat, 2008[50]). Fast population growth is straining Ambo’s ability to supply adequate housing and to respond to growing needs (Ogato et al., 2017[48]; Ogato, 2013[49]). This is due to poor municipal financing, caused by low local revenues and an inadequate tax base, as well as limited administrative and human resources. Lack of political continuity is another constraining factor, as frequent changes in leadership reduce the scope for effective management of the city (UN-Habitat, 2008[50]).

Most of the climate action in Ambo has been carried out in uncoordinated initiatives. As highlighted by Ogato et al (2017[48]), households in Ambo are increasingly aware of the climate risks they face and have been adopting short-term adaptation methods to reduce losses resulting from climate change. They are using strategies such as harvesting rainwater during the rainy season, building flooding passages around homes, planting trees and maintaining existing drainage systems. Nonetheless, it is clear that Ambo, like many of the cities presented in this chapter, would highly benefit from more systemised, larger-scale interventions to reduce its climate vulnerabilities. Recommended actions include mainstreaming climate-change resilience in land-use management systems, increasing information on local climate risks and conducting vulnerability assessments (Ogato et al., 2017[48]).

Rwanda’s strategy for building resilience across intermediary cities stands out since it is mainly driven by the national government. Rwanda has shown a strong commitment to building climate resilience and pursuing green growth, as demonstrated across its various national development and poverty reduction strategies. These include Rwanda’s Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy (2011[52]), which aims to mainstream climate adaptation and mitigation across various sectors of development planning (Price, 2019[53]). The national government has also committed to foster sustainable urbanisation, alleviate poverty and facilitate economic transformation. It selected six intermediary cities – Huye, Muhanga, Musanze, Nyagatare, Rubavu and Rusizi – as engines of growth. The cities were chosen to support Kigali’s dynamism based on their locations, growth trends, economic potential and links to rural areas.

Resilience is at the core of Rwanda’s development strategy for intermediary cities. This is explicitly articulated in Rwanda’s National Urbanisation Policy (2015[54]) and Urbanisation and Rural Settlement Sector Strategic Plan (2018[55]), both of which are aligned with Rwanda’s Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy (2011[52]). Moreover, Rwanda has developed a National Roadmap for Green Secondary City Development (2015[56]), established in partnership with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). This initiative was developed to complement the city master plans, with the objective of fostering sustainable urban development and reducing the scope for urban sprawl, congestion and informal settlement growth across the six selected intermediary cities (Price, 2019[53]). The roadmap was also developed as means to implement Rwanda’s National Development Plan and Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy 2 (EDPRS2) (2013[57]). The roadmap, funded by the Green Climate Fund, aims to consolidate land-use planning in the six cities (Price, 2019[53]). GGGI is also supporting the six cities in revising their master plans to adapt to their fast growth and to integrate green growth strategies (Price, 2019[53]; Gubic and Baloi, 2019[58]).

Rwanda has built strong partnerships with international organisations and made a large commitment to international climate actions. The GGGI has been a key partner to Rwanda in supporting the development of green growth programmes and as a key implementation agency of Rwanda’s Climate Resilient Green Cities. This has provided support for private and public investment in green sectors.

Kisumu, located near Lake Victoria, is the third largest city in Kenya. It is the regional capital of Kisumu County and a hub for industrial, commercial, administrative and transportation services, as well as serving as an internal port for the region (UN-Habitat, 2006[59]). Kisumu is a fast-growing urban centre; its 2009 population of 450 626 is expected to exceed 630 000 in 2022 (County Government of Kisumu, 2017[60]). Kisumu’s economy mainly relies on agriculture, fisheries and livestock, which account for nearly half of household incomes. Other main sources tend to be wage employment in informal sectors.

Kisumu faces the compounded effects of climate change, while its changing socio-economic dynamic is straining local resources. Kisumu is highly prone to flooding due to its closeness to the lake. Lack of adequate sewerage or water management systems is polluting the lake , while surrounding areas face soil erosion and depletion of natural resources, mainly caused by increasing economic activities (UN-Habitat, 2006[59]). Only 25% of the waste in Kisumu County is collected for disposal, and solid waste management remains a large challenge (County Government of Kisumu, 2017[60]). At the same time, Kisumu has undergone large changes in agricultural practices, especially in surrounding rural areas. Farmers are increasingly practice agricultural activities closer to the lake, while the development of new industries in these areas is causing major environmental degradation in both the lake and surrounding rivers. The effects of climate change compounded with low socio-economic development are causing losses in the local economy and livelihoods.

The prevalence of the informal sector in Kisumu also heightens the vulnerability of its residents, with a large number of urban dwellers and rural migrants depending on the income and contribution of small groups of wage earners. This reduces the scope for local revenue mobilisation. Furthermore, a striking 60% of the residents of Kisumu city live in slums, with poor access to infrastructure and basic services (UN-Habitat, 2006[59]), leaving them highly vulnerable to climate threats and related public health issues.

Local authorities in Kisumu have sought to address the climate-induced threats facing the city in various ways. In 2020, The Kisumu County Climate Change Bill was established under the supervision of the Climate Change Council. The bill aims to provide a regulatory framework and implementation measures for local climate actions and reduction in GHG emissions (Republic of Kenya, 2020[61]). Under the bill, local governments in Kisumu County are required to mainstream climate adaptation and mitigation across different sectors, co-ordinate and finance local climate actions, disseminate climate information and preparedness strategies to the public, etc. Under the bill, financing for local climate actions is to take place through the pre-existing Kisumu County Change Fund (Republic of Kenya, 2020[61]).

Another effort towards mainstreaming climate adaptation and mitigation is the second Integrated Development Plan of Kisumu County (2018-2022) (2018[62]). The plan addresses important environmental and climate issues, such as reducing GHG emissions, climate adaptation, food and water security, and energy use. The plan aims to build resilience through participatory climate actions. Furthermore, the Kisumu Integrated Sustainable Solid Waste Management Project, launched in 2017, aims to raise awareness and improve local waste management. The initiative sought to build private-public partnerships and to support local entrepreneurship and business in finding solutions for solid waste management systems through capacity building and financing opportunities (County Government of Kisumu, 2017[60]) .

Lack of effective financing is one of the main challenges faced by Kisumu. The city remains highly dependent on national government revenue transfers, which account for 53% of its total revenue, with 35% coming from development partners (conditional grants) and 20% from locally collected revenue. Although Kisumu has access to programmes established by the national government to respond to disaster events. national transfers are insufficient and Kisumu’s local government remains at the forefront of managing the short- and long-term effects of climate threats.

Overall, underdevelopment is the main factor limiting Kisumu’s resilience. The county’s long-term strategy relies on enhancing the overall development of the city by fostering productive economic activities as a precondition to mitigating climate effects, and further developing its own sources of financing. However, this cannot be done by local government alone. The support of the national government and development partners is paramount to achieve this objective.

Some intermediary cities in Africa are part of initiatives and studies led by international organisations. ICLEI Africa has several programmes supporting local authorities in improving their adaptation and mitigation capacity, as well as disaster risk reduction. Many of these local authorities are in intermediary cities. The programmes include support for the Africa Water and Sanitation Local Authorities network, developing sustainable and equitable water and sanitation practices, and developing a roadmap for local authorities to move towards 100% renewables. Additional programmes include the AfriAlliance, which helps to prepare for the impact of climate change on water resources, and the Fortitude Initiative, enabling cities, towns and municipalities to co-produce and implement DRR strategies at the local level (ICLEI, n.d.[63]).

Mozambique’s coastal cities are at high risk of climate-induced threats. The country is highly vulnerable to sea-level rise and flooding; in 2019, Cyclone Idai killed 417 people in Mozambique alone (BBC, 2019[64]). The cities of Beira, Quelimane, Nacala and Pemba are among the largest coastal intermediary cities in Mozambique. They are fast-growing urban centres with over half a million inhabitants in Beira, and around 304 000 in Quelimane and 350 000 in Nacala (World Bank, 2020[65]). Pemba’s population was estimated at 125 635 in 2007, with average annual growth of 3.66% (World Bank and Muzima, 2007).

Mozambique’s intermediary cities have important functions in their surroundings and in national economic activities. Beira is an important port city that connects its rural hinterland, and neighbouring land-locked countries like Zimbabwe and Zambia, to the Indian Ocean (World Bank, 2020[65]). Similarly, Nacala and Quelimane are important destinations of rural-to-urban migration, which puts additional strains on their infrastructure, housing and urban services. Migration and population growth are leading to an expansion of informal settlements across the three cities (World Bank, 2020[65]).

Mozambique’s coastal cities have low capacities to adapt to the high risk of climate threats. They face severe risks of flooding, coastal erosion, salinisation of coastal waters and losses in natural protection systems (World Bank, 2020[65]). The flood risk in Quelimane has been worsening over the past years, mainly due to an increasing loss of mangroves that reduces its natural protection system against flooding and salinisation of coastal waters (World Bank, 2020[65]; Araújo, 2021[66]). Beira, which is located near a cyclone-prone area, is highly susceptible to rising sea levels, storm surges and the risk of damage to the city’s 3.4-meter seawall (GFDRR, 2011[67]). Rising sea levels will continue to present challenges, including losses of land and coastal wetlands, salinisation of fresh water and displacement of populations (USAID, 2014[68]). These climate risks can overwhelm the cities’ infrastructure and transportation systems, increasing the loss of livelihoods.

Local governments across the three cities have implemented climate actions with the technical and financing support of international organisations. Projects like Cities and Climate Change–Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (2012-19) with the World Bank (USAID, 2014[68]), and Mozambique Coastal Cities Adaptation Programme (CCAP, 2014-19) with USAID (2013[69]), are particularly pertinent as they aim to build resilience in these vulnerable coastal intermediary cities. The CCAP was a USD 14.9 million project implemented across Pemba, Quelimane and Nacala to pilot strategies for climate resilience. The project aimed to strengthen municipal capacities to mainstream climate adaptation across local planning processes and to supporting implementation of climate resilience strategies. It was implemented across selected informal settlements in collaboration with local governments, civil society, urban planners, academia and community leaders. The project also identified key priorities for building resilience, including enhancing policies for land-use planning, development of green infrastructure, vulnerability mapping, provision of improved sanitation and resilient housing, and improved municipal management (USAID, 2014[68]).

The partnership with the CCAP project facilitated a series of outcomes in Quelimane, Pemba and Nacala. it supported local governments in Quelimane and Pemba to develop medium-term Local Adaptation Plans. The plans integrated local vulnerability mapping and were incorporated into the local land registrations systems. They also helped to build partnerships and technical exchanges with partner cities such as Durban, South Africa, and to revive 13 hectares of mangroves in Quelimane (USAID, 2014[68]).

Beira’s local government was one of the main implementing agents of the Cities and Climate Change pilot project. The USD 120 million project, financed by the World Bank’s International Development Credit system, supported climate actions including rehabilitating a stormwater drainage system, (re)construction of drainage canals and construction of flood control stations and a water retention basin (World Bank, 2018[70]). The new drainage systems helped reduce the city’s flooding risk by 70% (World Bank, 2018[70]). The Cities and Climate project also financed a nature-based solution to building climate resilience through Green Urban Infrastructure (GUI), which was used to rehabilitate the Chiveve River and enhance its drainage capacity. In the intervention, implemented by the government of Mozambique, GUI was used to enhance the environment of areas surrounding the river and create a green space for recreation, such as the building of a botanical garden, in a highly dense urban area (World Bank, 2020[65]).

The city of Quelimane has also been active in implementing climate actions through partnerships with international organisations and city-to-city partnerships. The municipality has taken action to reduce its climate vulnerability through investment in infrastructure such as roads, drainage systems and health and market facilities (Araújo, 2021[66]). Quelimane nurtured important partnerships to improve its local efforts and access international funding systems.

Quelimane Agricola and Quelimane Limpa are projects established in partnership with the city of Milan, Italy, and selected NGOs (such as Mani Tese). Quelimane Agricola, a three-year programme established in 2018, aimed to improve food safety, strengthen local agri-food systems, reduce food waste and soil degradation, and improve the resilience of local value chains (Araújo, 2021[66]). The project deployed strategies for improving the resilience of farming systems and increasing local profits, including training schemes; it also installed irrigation systems and promoted the use of mobile phones (Araújo, 2021[66]). Quelimane Limpa was launched in 2015 and ran for more than two years, with the objective of improving solid waste management and promoting sustainable farming and natural resource management (Plataforma, 2020[71]). The local government worked collaboratively with local populations and civil society, which led to the creation of microenterprises engaged in waste management, recycling and the development of a composting centre for the use of local farmers (Araújo, 2021[66]).

As in Latin America and Asia, many initiatives to upgrade informal settlements are helping to build resilience to climate change across African cities. The number of intermediary cities that have federations of savings groups in informal settlements is of particular interest. These savings groups are taking action to address needs and reduce climate-related risks. The initiatives are based on community-managed savings groups (most savers and savings managers are women) that come together to form federations. These federations can work at a large scale to negotiate support from local governments and are members of Slum/Shack Dwellers International (SDI) (SDI, n.d.[72]). There are now 15 countries and hundreds of cities across Africa (and many others across Asia and Latin America) where the federations are active in upgrading informal settlements, fighting eviction threats and negotiating safe land sites for housing. Box 4.1 presents some examples of upgrading initiatives by slum/shack dweller federations that are seeking change at city level, including partnerships with local authorities.

A particularly interesting upgrading initiative took place in Gobabis, Namibia. The upgrading, in Freedom Square, an informal settlement with 4 173 inhabitants on a 60-hectare site, involved the collaboration of the settlement’s inhabitants with the local government and demonstrated what this approach can achieve. The upgrading cost about one-fifth as much as conventional approaches. It did not reach the whole settlement with full services, but some degree of coverage in basic services was attained, along with secure tenure. Other very positive benefits included the empowerment of those who took part, the technical skills acquired, social organising and engagement with municipal authorities. Another advantage was the consensus that was generated for the plans necessary for reblocking, or realignment of structures to allow basic services to be delivered, which can be very contentious.

Valuable lessons are provided by the upgrading of Freedom Square, along with other initiatives by the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia, working with the Namibian Housing Action Group and municipal authorities. What is interesting is not only what was done, but also how it was done and financed. The federation drew on methods developed and used by federations that are affiliates of Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI). For instance, community-driven enumerations (i.e. collecting household data) of informal settlements provide groups within the settlement the data needed to prepare plans for upgrading (and reblocking where needed). Then these are integrated into a settlement-wide map. In Freedom Square, the reblocking plan meant that most residents had to move, but all were accommodated on the site. Another benefit was that the initiative strengthened community organisations. But while Freedom Square received national government support, there is still insufficient state support for bottom-up initiatives in general.

The provision of local funds can also enhance the resilience of low-income households by supporting them to upgrade, acquire or build better housing. One example is the Akiba Mashinani Trust (AMT), which provides funding and financial services to the Kenyan Homeless People’s Federation (Muungano wa Wanavijiji), a federation of autonomous savings groups with more than 60 000 members from informal settlements across Kenya. AMT provides a range of financial services: support for savings groups; livelihoods loans; consumption loans (to cover expenses such as school fees, medical costs and home improvements); and community project loans (for Muungano’s social housing, sanitation and basic infrastructure projects). These loans finance in situ upgrading and house improvements, land acquisition for housing development and greenfield housing development, all of which contribute to housing and neighbourhood resilience. As of December 2016, 6 822 Muungano members had received financing from AMT for land and housing (Weru et al., 2018[41]).

Climate actions in larger cities can serve as lessons for intermediary cities in Africa. An example is the coastal city of Durban, South Africa, which was among the first cities to see the importance of city governments addressing climate-change issues and to develop appropriate policies for adaptation and mitigation. Durban, with 3.7 million inhabitants, faces climate risks including rising sea levels, rising temperatures, floods, droughts and heavy rainstorms. It is a city very well served for documentation contributed by both city government and experts outside local government. This includes a very detailed time-line identifying factors that helped or hindered the development of Durban’s climate-change strategy (Roberts et al., 2016[75]). The city government’s commitment to supporting locally rooted solutions meant that it withdrew from the 100 Resilient Cities initiative (Roberts et al., 2020[76]).

An assessment of city-based climate change policies and practices in a range of cities noted that Durban is a city from which we can learn on a number of fronts (Barlett and Satterthwaite, 2016[77]), including local political changes that brought more attention to climate-change issues and the policies adopted. Durban’s climate-change strategy included:

  • the necessary tools;

  • identification of different options and their benefits and costs;

  • integration of concern for climate change across urban, peri-urban and rural areas within the local government boundaries;

  • assessment of the contributions of ecosystem services to adaptation, mitigation and disaster risk reduction and measures needed to protect and enhance these;

  • attention to possibilities for enhancing employment through development of a green economy;

  • the demonstration that local innovators, not national policies or international initiatives, are providing the knowledge on what needs to be done;

  • the success of the environment sector in getting the attention of other sectors within city government by bringing the issues of job creation (within the green economy) and improved living conditions into climate change policy discussions;

  • recognition and encouragement of local innovation and honesty around what is not yet achieved;

  • the importance of climate change champions (both individual and institutional) at the local level (including the mayor) for facilitating key international networking opportunities. This strengthened support for the Durban Adaptation Charter, through which local governments around the world commit to local climate action that will assist their communities to respond to and cope with climate-change risks. It also helped to secure funding to operationalise the process.

The experience in Durban is informative about the focuses that best build support for climate-change adaptation within local governments, as well as about which measures work and where lessons can be drawn. It should be noted, however, that while Durban’s government developed a capacity to act on climate-change adaptation and mitigation, it has other pressing development priorities that can make the needed commitment to adaptation and mitigation difficult (Roberts, 2008[78]; Roberts, 2010[79]; Roberts et al., 2012[80]; Cartwright et al., 2013[81]; Roberts and O’Donoghue, 2013[82]).

Intermediary cities in developing countries can start building resilience to climate change in two important ways: informal settlement upgrading and disaster risk reduction. Among the policy actions that help cities to build resilience, these two deserve special attention since they can also achieve other development objectives. These approaches are not only local but also have a lot in common when it comes to the issues they seek to address and the need for local competence and capacity to do so. However, the upgrading of settlements and DRR are often managed separately since they often fall under different departments that are not used to working with each other and that may see each other as competitors for scarce municipal funds. In extreme examples, cities with upgrading schemes can also have city infrastructure departments that are still bulldozing informal settlements. The following sections highlight the relevance of DRR and informal settlement upgrading for climate policies, as well as their overlapping objectives and how they help reduce climate risks among vulnerable populations (Figure 4.4).

Informal settlement upgrading programmes are key for reducing climate impacts. Yet they are often not considered to be climate policies. Upgrading projects in informal settlements have great importance because, if done well, they can reach many vulnerable groups and address risks that climate change would exacerbate. This is recognised by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Its list of risk-reducing infrastructure and services in relation to climate change is remarkably similar to the risks addressed by the upgrading of informal settlements. The IPCC’s definition of risk-reducing infrastructure includes access to piped water that is safe, sufficient and affordable; good-quality sanitation and electricity; all-weather access roads; storm and surface drainage; street lighting; and risk-reducing services (including hospitals/health care, emergency services, road traffic management and the rule of law) (Revi et al., 2014[1]).

Hundreds of millions of urban dwellers live in informal settlements that have little if any of the risk-reducing infrastructure and services mentioned above. More than half the population of many cities lives in such settlements, most of which are at high risk from the impacts of climate change (Figure 4.5). Many informal settlements face particularly high risks from floods and landslides as they are on dangerous sites, which are also often chosen because there is less risk of eviction. Most have poor-quality buildings and a lack of infrastructure to prevent flooding, withstand heavy storms and cope with heat waves.

The upgrading of informal settlements is a key component of building local resilience. This is recognised by the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment, which describes the importance of informal settlement upgrading for reducing extreme weather risks in high-risk areas. The assessment describes how it has become more common for local governments to work with community-based organisations in upgrading homes and settlements in DRR (UNDRR, 2009[84]; IFRC, 2010[85]), and the ways in which community-based climate adaptation is building on these experiences and capacities (Archer and Boonyabancha, 2011[86]). In growing numbers of cities in Latin America, Asia and Africa, informal settlement upgrading is increasingly recognised as a potential tool to reduce risks and vulnerabilities to climate threats. It is considered more effective when supported by local governments and civil defence response agencies (Archer and Boonyabancha, 2011[86]; Carcellar, Co and Hipolito, 2011[87]; Boonyabancha, 2005[88]).

The tendency for informal settlements to take shape on high-risk or dangerous sites calls for effective upgrading programmes. Informal settlements are often located on dangerous sites, including those at high risk of flooding or landslides, because these sites tend to be cheaper and often well located with regard to labour markets and services. In many cases, upgrading can greatly reduce risks, including climate-change-related risks, for instance through installing storm and surface drainage systems.

“Good” upgrading can be seen as a community-based adaptation strategy because it identifies and addresses risks related to climate change, usually with government support and often with tenure provided to residents. The reason for stressing “good” upgrading is that many upgrading schemes have serious deficiencies or limitations. There are large differences in what upgrading provides, what it costs per house served, who implements it, who pays for it and the extent to which it engages the population (and serves their needs). A review of informal settlements and upgrading by Satterthwaite et al. (2020[89]) notes that upgrading can vary from provision of basic infrastructure, such as public water services, to full supply of services and facilities. In some cases, the upgrading process can include income-generating activities, provision of land tenure for the inhabitants and support for improvement of settlements (Satterthwaite et al., 2020[89]). Where upgrading works well, it provides or improves all of the IPCC’s risk-reducing infrastructure and services at household and community level and supports house improvement.

Upgrading projects can provide the foundation for resilience to climate change at household and community scale. Since upgrading schemes are generally focused on informal settlements, they also address the needs of low-income and vulnerable populations. Good upgrading schemes need to remove multiple risks (e.g. violence, unemployment, pollution, disease, etc). Upgrading schemes differ by region and are driven by different stakeholders. Most of the time, such initiatives focus on improving the quality of housing, which includes providing the risk-reducing infrastructure and services mentioned above. Examples from Asia highlight experiences of upgrading where grassroots organisations worked with local governments, and sometimes with national governments. Experiences in Africa are similar to a certain extent when upgrading has been driven by grassroots organisations and has sought the engagement and support of local governments.

Residents of informal settlements usually prefer In situ upgrading, but what is to be done for sites where this is not possible? Relocation is often an alternative response. There is a long history of relocation moving residents to sites that are far from the city’s labour markets, with inadequate public services (Buckley et al., 2016[90]). Nonetheless, there are now many examples of relocation programmes where the people being relocated helped to decide on the new site and its development. In Thailand, for instance, the Community Organisations Development Institute’s secure tenure programme, described above, funded community organisations to negotiate to buy or lease the land they were on and, if this was not possible, CODI supported them to find a new site on which to develop their homes. In some intermediary cities in the Philippines, the Philippines Homeless People’s Federation has worked with progressive mayors to find good relocation sites for those living on dangerous sites. In the city of Solo in Indonesia, funding was available to those living on dangerous sites to find new sites that they chose (Taylor, 2015[40]).

Examples from intermediary cities in Latin America can provide lessons for effective and participatory relocation strategies. City governments in Manizales, Colombia, and Rosario and Santa Fe, Argentina, developed programmes to work with local communities living in at-risk areas in order to generate appropriate solutions, including relocation. In Manizales, relocation of populations from at-risk areas has been taking place for more than 30 years using a variety of approaches, including in situ relocation. In many cases, this type of programme is developed in co-ordination with the national government. An internal report made for the city of Santa Fe summarises the results of 20 interviews with relocated families, from six different initiatives managed by different agencies or organisations, to capture their perceptions of the relocation process. In general, interviewees viewed the processes positively, highlighting safety, access to services and infrastructure, and the possibility to continue improving their houses. Depending on the programme, they pointed to aspects that could be improved, such as quality of construction, size, follow-up, participation and communication. Many of these recommendations have been included in more recent relocation programmes managed directly by the city, and as part of the country’s Integrated Urban Programmes (Programas urbanos integrales). It is important to highlight that most examples of relocation programmes where the government worked with residents are from intermediary cities, where finding well-located sites is perhaps easier. Most examples also took place in cities with elected mayors who supported this.

Disaster risk reduction is an important element of climate-change policies. The IPCC’s most recent assessment contains detailed coverage of DRR and its contribution to climate-change adaptation in urban areas. The assessment highlights the increased vulnerability and exposure to climate risks of growing urban populations, especially in low- and middle-income countries. This is seen in the rising number of localised disasters and extreme weather events across some urban areas (Revi et al., 2014[1]). Such events highlight the need for climate-change adaptation, and they have helped citizens and local governments gain awareness of the climate risks and vulnerabilities they face (UNDRR, 2009[84]).

Intermediary cities can draw from the rich and varied literature on DRR to develop local responses to climate-related risks. As described in the city case studies above, there is a large overlap between DRR strategies and climate policies. This can be seen in a review of what 50 cities did in response to the Making Cities Resilient Campaign led by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR): half of the 50 cities studied were intermediary cities in the Global South (Johnson and Blackburn, 2014[31]).

Often local climate actions are drawn from DRR strategies. This is because DRR, resilience and climate-change adaptation all need to respond to underlying risk drivers. A review of DRR efforts that included many intermediary cities in Asia, Africa and Latin America notes that some cities expanded the mandate of existing bodies for emergency preparedness and response to include disaster risk, climate change and resilience (Johnson and Blackburn, 2014[31]). This involved activities such as institutionalising structures for disaster risk management at different city levels, including the lowest level of governance – the purok level in the case of San Francisco, Philippines. For Santa Tecla in El Salvador, citizen roundtables were involved in discussions and decision making. In Kisumu (Kenya), Overstrand (South Africa), Batticaloa (Sri Lanka) and Siquirres (Costa Rica), DRR efforts took the form of building technical capacities and partnerships with different stakeholders as well as improving basic infrastructure and control of flood waters. Additional actions include engaging communities to take on responsibilities for managing drains in front of their houses on a weekly basis (Moshi, Tanzania) and upgrading programmes (Kisumu, Moshi).

Across the cities reviewed in this chapter, the integration of a detailed understanding of DRR into urban plans and land-use management was seen as a priority. DRR efforts were seen as process that needed improved co-ordination between different sectors, as well as access to detailed local data on risks and commitment. For instance, having been affected by both civil war and the tsunami of 2004, Batticaloa (Sri Lanka) embraced DRR as an opportunity to reduce risks, alleviate poverty and empower communities, integrating development objectives and resilience.

Underlying conditions can determine the success of climate policies. A review of examples of intermediary cities with climate-change policies allows us to identify a set of the underlying conditions, or enabling environments, that seem to facilitate the success of policies promoting urban resilience. These conditions have helped to anchor climate-change policies in the local development process and have often contributed to sustaining them in the long term. Figure 4.6 highlights seven broad conditions that have facilitated climate actions across the intermediary cities reviewed.

Well-governed cities and good local governance greatly reduce the impact of climate risks. Well-governed cities are more likely than other cities to have developed climate change policies (World Bank, 2015[91]). Success is highly dependent on the quality and capacity of city government, and often on the support received from higher levels of government. Decentralisation plays a key role in terms of the balance between delegated responsibilities that push for greater autonomy and the obligations acquired and resources allocated to fulfil them. The important role of good decentralisation for climate policies will be further discussed below.

Well-governed cities are usually those that have sufficient planning and implementation capacities and that are accountable to those they serve. Such cities are able to work to increase the share of the population served with risk-reducing infrastructure (all-weather roads, storm and surface drainage, piped water, sanitation, etc.) and services relevant to resilience (including health care, emergency services, policing/rule of law). They are also able to work to increase the proportion of population living in housing in safe locations and near education and employment opportunities (and that also meet health and safety standards). And they can plan for a city that is inclusive and in harmony with its surroundings, with planning for green spaces, use of nature-based solutions, better mobility, community markets, etc. Such planning requires very clear land-use, environmental and DRR policies. The cases covered in this chapter provide examples of how well-governed cities are capable of advancing integrated policies, including climate-change policies, but also examples of how poorly governed cities are not.

A key condition of good governance is putting participatory mechanisms in place so that local residents can be part of the decision-making process. Participation of local residents, and drawing on their knowledge and perceptions to inform policies and actions, are key. Good governance requires accountability, transparency and meaningful participation. Engagement with civil society has been fundamental to the success of most if not all of the city cases described here, and has ensured that policies and working approaches could withstand changes in city administrations. Figure 4.7 illustrates the characteristics and processes that contribute to well-governed cities.

A sizeable number of cities have developed and sustained participatory budgeting over the years. With varying scope and depth, more than 1 700 local governments in more than 40 countries are implementing participatory budgeting, in which citizens meet to discuss priorities for their neighbourhood or the city as a whole and oversee project implementation (Cabannes, 2014[92]). Reviewing the projects chosen through participatory budgeting shows the priority given to environmental issues and growing support for climate-change adaptation and mitigation (Cabannes, 2021[93]). Given the number of examples, it is likely that a high proportion of these cities are intermediary cities. Of 15 cities or areas chosen in a 2015 study for an in-depth look at the links between participatory budgeting and climate change, only two had more than 1 million inhabitants (Cabannes, 2015[94]).

Grassroot organisations have played a key role in shaping settlement upgrading processes and other city programmes and initiatives for building more resilient homes and neighbourhoods. Alone or with the support of other actors (NGOs, academia) and networks, engaged communities ensure that actions respond to local needs and concerns (UNDRR, 2019[6]), thus shaping how city officials plan and implement actions. As mentioned above, this includes many initiatives by federations of slum or shack dwellers that have been supported by Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and the Asian Coalition for Community Action (ACCA), implemented by the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR).

A key enabling factor in many case studies of cities is the participation of informal settlement dwellers in local decision making. This is effective when informal dwellers are organised and clear about their demands, offer local governments their support and generate the data and maps needed to address their needs. Within the work of SDI and ACCA, it was community savings groups that formed city and national federations, and most savers and savings group managers are women. It is far easier for local governments to work with groups like these, with clear and realistic demands, leaders they can talk to in a non-confrontational manner (unless the informal dwellers are threatened with eviction and negotiation is not working), and capacities that local governments need (such as mapping informal settlements). Equally important is that community savings groups and their federations are trusted by informal dwellers.

The support of local universities has also contributed to research, sharing of knowledge and capacities, and facilitating continuity in local development planning processes. It is essential to develop institutions and teams that can undertake work like this and can design policies drawing on all areas of government as well as innovating and getting support from all sectors and agencies. Often environmental issues, and more specifically climate-change issues, have no institutional home within municipal structures. This makes it difficult to co-ordinate the work of different government areas and departments and give these themes the needed visibility and budget. It is easy to see how good governance, clear leadership and a strong group of collaborating actors form the basis from which cities build their climate policies.

Decentralisation gives local governments the autonomy to establish local climate policies and actions. Decentralisation has been embraced as a means to achieve various goals, including deepening and strengthening democracy, improving a type of development more connected with local needs, reducing the state apparatus and making public management more efficient (Montecinos, 2005[95]). It has particular importance for intermediary cities in that roles and responsibilities should be passed down the urban hierarchy, along with the necessary resources and revenue-raising powers. This should include the powers, resources and capacities needed to develop and implement climate-change policies. Adequate decentralisation requires building effective multilevel governance systems, with the scope for consultation and participation of other relevant stakeholders, in order to facilitate climate actions that are sufficient and inclusive. Box 4.2 highlights main factors that can support local governments in their climate actions in a decentralised governance system in OECD countries.

In decentralised governance systems, local authorities have greater autonomy regarding local development, but also greater obligations. In Latin America in particular, many responsibilities have been delegated to the municipal level, including in territorial planning, land-use management and DRR. The assumption behind decentralisation is that better choices can be made at the local level to respond to local needs, and that greater transparency and accountability can be achieved since decision makers and citizens are closer. However, decentralisation processes have not been without problems. Despite the laudable objectives, decentralisation has proceeded unevenly and often without the actual transfer of financial, technical and administrative capacities, and decision-making powers, to local governments.

Decentralisation can also generate territorial imbalances as local governments respond to local issues differently based on their administrative and financial capacities and human resources (López, 2015[97]). Most funds transferred from higher levels of government are earmarked for specific sectors (such as health, education or water management). Moreover, the possibility of raising income through local taxes varies depending on each municipality’s capacity to so and the particular context of each country (Scott and Tarazona, 2011[98]). With some exceptions, there has been little effort to strengthen local capacities. In addition, party politics usually influence funding allocations.

In the process of addressing the SDGs, national governments in countries such as Argentina have been working with subnational levels. However, they found that this is not a simple process, even though it is seen as an opportunity to strengthen and complement existing local and territorial development plans. As a federal country, the national body responsible for co-ordinating the implementation of Agenda 2030 signs a co-operation agreement with focal points at provincial level to provide technical assistance. However, the organisation of Argentina’s municipalities and institutions presents a great diversity of situations. The national constitution does not define a single municipal government regime. It is rather Argentina’s provinces, through their own constitutions and laws, that organise the municipal regime (INDEC, n.d.[99]).5 In this context, implementation of the SDGs is particularly complex as it depends on the institutional capacities and powers established by political regulations, as well as local planning and management capacities, technical teams and financial resources (Geddes, 2020[100]). It is also important to note that decentralisation has not necessarily been able to overcome rigidity in institutional structures, generate local capacities or solve citizens’ needs more effectively (Montecinos, 2005[95]). Better collaboration between different levels of government has not always materialised (López, 2015[97]). Only the better-positioned cities, in terms of financial resources, professional civil servants, political commitment and a strong civil society, have been able to undertake the delegated responsibilities fully. These cities have often been able to address citizens’ problems, showing coherence and the ability to work alongside multiple stakeholders.

Along with decentralisation, local governments can benefit from adopting a metropolitan governance approach. Metropolitan governance enables governments at all levels (as will as non-governmental stakeholders) to co-ordinate at different levels, including in service delivery, formulating policies and planning, and establishing mechanisms for governance of urban areas (Slack, 2019[101]). The metropolitan governance approach can help to reduce fragmented urban governance structures by enabling local stakeholders to establish plans jointly for infrastructure, land use and transportation, and to reduce bureaucratic costs, etc. (Slack, 2019[101]; OECD, 2015[102]). Metropolitan governance approaches are not always binding, and there are broad variations in the way they are adopted across cities, especially large metropolises. They can also be adapted to a specific policy area, such as spatial planning, transportation, infrastructure, etc. For instance, an OECD (2015[102]) study of metropolitan governance in OECD countries outlines the various forms of governance bodies across metropolitan areas. Some cities have informal co-ordination bodies that are mainly focused on exchange of information and that lack enforcement tools, while other urban areas have attained the status of “metropolitan cities", enabling them access higher levels of governance and larger competencies (OECD, 2015[102]). As intermediary cities in developing countries undergo spatial and economic transformation, adopting a metropolitan governance approach that is pertinent to their circumstances and long-term plans could provide large scope for improved local capacity, planning and management of resources.

The city case studies indicate that local champions have been important in engaging key stakeholders and ensuring the durability of climate programmes. These champions have contributed to creating a more sustainable local development pathway where commitment to social and environmental issues becomes a cross-cutting theme in the local agenda. In practice, local champions are mayors who have managed to pass their vision along to the following administration, who have been capable of building strong technical city teams and who, up to a point, contribute to sustaining and building upon the line of work adopted. Many have also made room for grassroots leaders to engage with them and their government.

Local elected officials, city staff members and civil society leaders are important in the exercise of leadership (Carmin et al., 2011[103]). Often there is no clear national-level government leadership in DRR or climate change, forcing local champions to become active promoters. Manizales, Colombia, for instance, has managed over the years to consolidate a group of stakeholders (city officials, local universities, private sector) that, through consensus building, has shaped and sustained the city’s DRR policies as well as territorial and environmental planning, and has integrated these into the city’s climate-change policies (Hardoy and Barrero, 2016[5]). Another example is Rosario, Argentina, which has been governed by the same political alliance for more than 30 years, showing political continuity and institutional stability, and allowing the development of coherent long-term policies that integrate a social dimension (Almansi, 2009[104]). Local champions change, and it is not one individual, but groups of individuals, that contribute to sustaining a process. Santa Fe, Argentina, has recently seen how shifts in the administration may result in the loss of hard-won gains in DRR. However, it is the technical city team and the academic sector that, with their collective learning, sustain the process, often in co-operation with civil society and grassroots leaders.

It is important to understand the type of events or contexts that drive cities to develop climate-change policies and actions. We noted earlier the careful and detailed timeline developed for Durban’s climate-change policies and the interplay between influences within local government and external factors. As noted above, there are many overlaps between climate-change risks and DRR, so it is to be expected that many cities developed their climate-change policies from DRR policies, as shown by many of the cases covered in this chapter. Often a disaster event (or a succession of them) has persuaded cities to work on DRR, moving from emergency responses to an integral DRR strategy. This generates the capacity to plan with a risk lens and to take responsibility for city expansion into high-risk areas and difficulties in water management and basic service provision. This approach has required improved co-ordination capacities across sectors and actors, frequently operating at different levels, and has been useful for the process of developing and implementing climate-change policies.

There are also many cases of cities whose strength derives from a very clear urban, spatial and environmental planning tradition. This process involves generating a long-term vision, adopting a participatory approach in the shaping of that vision and providing trunk infrastructure, basic services, housing, safe land, etc. This approach has served as the basis for developing other policies, including climate-change policies.

Grassroots actions can also play an important role in local resilience building. Community and grassroots initiatives have taught authorities to do things differently, and have worked to provide services and infrastructure, along with local governments, to reduce development deficits and build resilience (Satterthwaite et al., 2018[105]). In doing so, they have contributed to shaping local agendas. The case study of Gobabis, Namibia, illustrates this well.

In addition to these internally driven changes and processes, there are also many cases of externally driven climate resilience initiatives. In some cases, externally generated programmes and initiatives have introduced the possibility of integrating DRR with territorial and environmental planning and climate change. Some have been capable of generating long-term local development work and becoming part of different city and international networks, or of generating alliances with particular international organisations or universities. Such networks and alliances provide technical support, training opportunities and spaces to share lessons, build capacities and take part in international discussions.

Local capacities and resources are fundamental for building resilience and facilitating climate actions. Human, technological, financial, political and social resources provide the foundation for initiating and sustaining climate planning (Carmin et al., 2011[103]). City teams and other relevant stakeholders need to develop capacities to address complex environmental problems and go beyond silo thinking. This is not only relevant to the technical areas of planning and implementation, but also key to being able to ask the right questions and discuss and develop appropriate solutions. Over the years, capacity building has prepared many stakeholders to learn, adjust and integrate policies to better address the challenges of climate change. But this is no easy process. Most cities in the Global South still face large constraints in terms of their human capacities and the availability of funding.

The lack of capacity to generate and process relevant data to guide decision making is generally a big constraint. Intermediary cities may lack the capacity to develop spatial analyses, climate scenarios and models or detailed emission inventories. Often local universities can be good partners. Technical appraisals and information generation are also becoming more integrated with participatory approaches that collect local knowledge and perceptions. These include enumerations in informal settlements that generate detailed data on houses, households and neighbourhoods, as illustrated in case studies in the section on Africa. They include methodologies developed to document and map informal settlements within “Know Your City” campaigns, which have reached 460 cities. They also include participatory planning processes developed within different initiatives and programmes. Sometimes the problem is not the absence of data but the lack of access to it and incompatibility in the formats in which data is found, which impedes its integration (Hardoy et al., 2019[106]; Hardoy et al., 2019[25]). There are also large barriers in the sharing of data across government offices and between government and research institutions and development agencies. Each city should assess the type of data and information needed to guide planning and decision making and how it will be shared and updated, understanding that this is a work in progress (UNDRR, 2019[6]).

Although the access of city governments to financial resources can be very limited, there are actions that can be taken to boost local funds. Funds available to local governments are usually limited, as transfers from higher levels of government are earmarked for specific sectors. However, as some of the examples have shown, many cities have been innovative in generating financial resources through local taxes, by partnering with civil society and the private sector, through value-capture mechanisms, and also by becoming better managers and developing capacities to prepare project proposals that could win the attention of international funders. Community savings groups and their federations can also provide resources to be invested locally. These funds can contribute to the finance of in situ upgrading and house improvements, land acquisition for housing development and greenfield housing development.

The support and policies of national governments are indispensable for strengthening the capacities and resources of local governments. Indeed, local governments have limited scope to build on their capacities and enhance their resources without national governments, as they may have limited autonomy to make the substantive changes that can enable them to unlock new resources and improve their technical capacities. The section below highlights the critical role of national policies and government frameworks for local capacities.

National governments are integral agents of building climate resilience in intermediary cities. As noted throughout the chapter, local governments in these cities are limited in their capacities, in terms both of technical and financial resources and of their autonomy to draft and implement effective climate policies. National governments tend to have far larger capacities to draft policies and legistlation that will influence the resilience of cities, and to help build coherent policies and strategies across the national and local levels. A study by the Coalition for Urban Transition (2019[107]) highlights that national governments have the primary capacity for climate mitigation actions in intermediary cities, with over 35% of mitigation potential in urban areas. Yet their limited financial and technical capacities for implementing mitigation actions imply that they need the support of national governments.

National governments are able to establish strategies and engage relevant stakeholders for building climate resilience in cities. National governments have better capacity and authority to implement policies that go beyond city boundaries and can mainstream or integrate climate standards across various sectoral policies, such as electricity, transportation, taxation regimes, etc. (Coalition for Urban Transitions, 2019[107]). Furthemore, national frameworks and strategies play a key role in driving and creating the right incentives for climate actions at city level. For example, ccountries such as the Philippines, Bangladesh, India and Indonesia have established national directives for climate actions, and integrate urban areas to different degrees. The Philippines requires urban areas to produce a local climate action plan under its Climate Change Act 2009, whereas Indonesia planned to mainstream adaptation and DRR into development planning, including in urban areas (Archer et al., 2017[108]). National governments, therefore, play an important role in delegating the capacities needed (financial, technical or human resources) for driving local climate actions (Archer et al., 2017[108]).

National governments can also learn from their local counterparts – those that are able to experiment in innovative strategies to build climate actions. In some of the case studies reviewed in this chapter, local authorities have been ahead of their respective national governments in implementing climate policies. This demonstrates that local governments can help drive national climate actions and strategies. Moreover, local governments have the opportunity to experiment with innovative actions, which can serve as a testing ground for national climate policies (Corfee-Morlot et al., 2009[109]). Table 4.4 highlights some of the most important actions for building local resilience that can be taken by national governments.

Colombia’s DRR policies show how national governments can play a key role in facilitating co-ordinated policies and ensuring local government commitment. Colombia, a country at risk of many types of hazards (hydro-meteorological, geological, armed conflict, etc.), has over the years paid particular attention to managing risk and has built a good track record. A disaster risk management law requires that DRR be integrated with land use and environmental planning at all levels, and that a disaster risk lens be incorporated in all interventions related to housing, infrastructure, mobility, services, industry, agriculture, etc. Legislation makes politicians personally responsible for ensuring that their constituents are safe from disasters. In addition, municipalities must set an environmental surcharge of 1.5 to 2.5 per thousand of the appraised value of the assets that serve as the basis for property taxes; municipalities must invest this money in environmental protection (UNDRR, 2019[6]).

Colombia has made large efforts to integrate climate policies across national and local levels. Over the years, and especially since the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report in 2007, Colombia has worked on modelling climate change scenarios, collecting data (UN-Habitat, 2012[110]) and consolidating the national institutional framework to manage climate change. Since 2010, climate actions have been incorporated in national development plans. The country has a Climate Change National System (SISCLIMA) to co-ordinate initiatives generated by different levels and sectors of government and by local communities, although the country’s National Climate Change law was passed only in 2018.

Colombia is also very strong in territorial planning, which is key for integrating national and local climate actions. In 1997 the country implemented a law under which municipalities and districts have to develop local territorial development plans (Planes de Ordenamiento Territorial) with specific goals, strategies, programmes and norms to guide development, as well as environmental protection plans for catchment areas (PONCAS/POMAS). These plans have important climate adaptation implications as they regulate land use (Hardoy and Barrero, 2016[5]). Regional policies and plans are in line with national mandates and policies, and with the National Development Plan. Much of the national structure builds on the experience of Manizales. Colombia has regional environmental agencies (such as Corpocaldas, Corporisaralda, etc.) that are responsible for applying national environmental policies (including on climate change), and that manage natural resources and support municipal governments. Usually they are well staffed professionally and help local governments in climate-change planning, watershed management, DRR, etc.

Many other countries are also advancing their national legislation and developing co-ordination systems and plans. Ecuador, for example, introduced territorial planning (spatial planning) as a state policy following the adoption of a new constitution of 2008. The policy led to the implementation of a national system of decentralised participatory planning. All levels of government are expected to prepare territorial plans – but while many have done so, many others have no intention (or capacity) to implement the plans and developed them merely to comply (López, 2015[97]). Meanwhile, Ecuador developed a National Climate Change Strategy (2012-25) with the support of an Inter-Institutional Committee on Climate Change involving many ministries and secretaries. The strategy guides and co-ordinates actions and measures related to climate change. The country also has a Climate Change Plan, a tool designed to include climate change in all planning initiatives and that includes capacity building, mitigation and adaptation actions.

Similarly, the Philippines has made national commitments to combating climate change and incentivising better local actions. In 2009, it enacted the Philippine Climate Change Act (Republic Act No. 9729) and created a Climate Change Commission in the aim of mainstreaming climate change into government policy formulations, including establishing a framework strategy. Poor response during a series of typhoons led to renewed interest in climate change and its link with risk reduction (Cheng and Kim, 2019[33]). In 2010, the country adopted a National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act that provides for a comprehensive, all-hazard, multisectoral, interagency and community-based approach. Its objectives include building the resilience of communities and institutionalising arrangements to reduce risks, including projected climate risks, at all levels (province, city, municipality, barangay) (NDRRMC, n.d.[111]). The country also adopted a Strategic National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction. The Philippines Climate Change Act clearly defined roles for cities and municipal governments, and cities report that national level DRR frameworks are enabling city level DRR (Johnson and Blackburn, 2014[31]).

International agencies and networks have played a key role in supporting urban climate actions across developing regions. Despite limited evidence on intermediary cities, it is safe to say that international organisations are key players at conducting experiments for climate actions in cities (SEI, 2020[112]; Bulkeley and Castán Broto, 2013[113]). These agencies have the financial capacity to invest in experimental or pilot projects and are free from the political barriers that may constrain city actors. International organisations can also provide opportunities to access networks of experts or other cities, and to create platforms for peer learning and profile building (SEI, 2020[112]; Bulkeley and Castán Broto, 2013[113]).

Various international agencies have been promoting or supporting climate-change adaptation, mitigation, and/or DRR in cities across Africa, Asia and Latin America. They include UN agencies (UN-Habitat, UNDRR), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), Cities Alliance, 100 Resilient Cities and ICLEI, to cite some of the most important actors. C40 also plays an important role in supporting cities that aim to develop climate policies; however, it only focuses on large cities.

International organisations and city networks have been key in raising the urban agenda and bringing more attention to city/local authority issues. The inclusion of urban-related issues as part of the SDGs is a clear example of the work of these organisations. But while these institutions have been active in supporting cities, including intermediary cities, in developing climate-change policies, none can provide funding to support large capital projects. Box 4.3 below lists some of the most important international organisations in this sphere and their work on climate change.

This chapter has presented case studies discussing climate policies across intermediary cities in LAC, Asia and Africa. Most of the examples showcased have good governance or disaster risk reduction as their foundation. It is interesting to see how DRR policies and territorial/land-use policies have aligned and are often the backbone of climate-change policies. If more attention had been paid to these cities, intermediary cities would be making major contributions to national goals, including the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. There is therefore strong interest in enabling policies that can multiply the number of well-governed intermediary cities that are addressing climate change. Figure 4.8 maps the combination of factors that have contributed to successful local climate actions across the intermediary cities reviewed in this chapter, as well as highlighting the key policy needs for boosting urban resilience. The figure outlines policy instruments, enabling factors and key actors that have been critical enablers of climate action in intermediary cities. Yet, as the case studies reviewed in this chapter also highlight, additional factors are needed for boosting the resilience of intermediary cities. These include improved knowledge and data, boosting local capacity and climate proofing of local plans and investment.

Only limited numbers of studies of climate change have focused on intermediary cities in low- and middle-income countries. Most of what has been studied, registered and implemented regarding climate resilience in developing regions concerns large cities – often national capitals. Some reports and articles mention cities of different sizes, but they are used to illustrate a specific point. Moreover, they usually lack the depth and detail needed to understand cities’ actual constraints and possibilities or how they are advancing in their climate actions. Yet intermediary cities in developing regions are diverse, and some have many years of experience in working on urban climate resilience. Building on this knowledge is a starting point to define a learning pathway that helps to identify strengths and the different sets of opportunities that cities have taken advantage of. Needless to say, it also allows identification of the challenges they face, as well as pointing to aspects that need to be further developed.

Figure 4.9 shows how separate agendas that are often regarded as competitors come together. Transformation is understood as the process in which urban centres have integrated their development, DRR and adaptation policies, along with the necessary investments addressing mitigation and sustainable ecological footprints (Barlette and Satterthwaite, 2016[115]).

Over the last 30 years, experience with DRR has delivered many lessons on climate-change policies, notably that a concern for risk reduction has many overlaps with adaptation. These lessons derive from city governments working to develop risk reduction on the ground (Johnson and Blackburn, 2014[31]) and developing innovative data collection methods on climate-related risks. Perhaps above all, DDR can inform and guide local policy. Meanwhile, climate-change adaptation has brought more attention to disasters and their causes, and a future perspective to guide plans and investments. Both depend on buy-in from local government departments with larger budgets and powers that enable action.

National governments play a fundamental role in supporting intermediary cities in building local resilience. This chapter has noted the importance of decentralisation and strong local democracy as key enabling factors for developing climate policies in intermediary cities in Latin America – but the only cities that have been fully able to undertake the responsibilities delegated under decentralisation are those that are better positioned in terms of financial resources, professional civil servants, political commitment and a strong civil society. Often these cities have been able to address citizens’ problems with coherence and the capacity to work alongside multiple stakeholders. However, there are far more examples of intermediary (and other) cities without these capacities. Even so-called innovative cities are struggling with the scale of the problem and the constraints they face. This is why it is important for national governments to work with and support intermediary city governments.

These case studies also show that, while national laws and institutional frameworks provide guidance and support for climate action, they need to be complemented with coherent territorial planning. National laws alone do not guarantee that local governments will advance with their climate plans or improve the planning for their territorial development. In fact, even in countries such as Colombia, only a few cities have been able to develop local DRR, climate-change policies or territorial plans. In practice, the structure for this is not set up or lacks sufficient capacity to support local governments in working on themes such as climate change and territorial planning, which need cross-cutting approaches, new ways of thinking and the involvement of many actors across levels of government. However, examples exist of territorial planning being implemented by subnational authorities without national government engagement. For instance, the Province of Santa Fe’s decree No. 1872 of 2017 approved the development of territorial plans for municipalities and communes, and created a provincial register of territorial plans and an interministerial committee of territorial planning as a cross-cutting and co-ordinating body that oversees implementation. Most of this was done prior to having a national support framework in Argentina.

The experiences discussed in this chapter also show that subnational governments can advance faster than national governments when it comes to climate action. The case of Manizales served as an example for many of Colombia’s integrated DRR policies that required coherence with urban, environmental and spatial-planning legislation. In a case that is less well known, the city of Rosario (Argentina) developed a coherent urban agenda over decades. When the coalition governing the city was also elected for governing the province, there was a transfer of lessons and capacities to the provincial level.

There is a large data deficit on informal settlements in intermediary cities in developing countries. This is particularly striking because of the large share the population living in these settlements. In some of the cities discussed in this chapter, informal settlements house 30-60% of the population, including most of the city’s low-income and vulnerable residents. Changing attitudes in government regarding residents of informal settlements, and work by the settlement dwellers themselves to organise and bring their ideas and priorities to the table, have been central to the upgrading of these settlements. As the upgrading policies of city and national governments come to take account of risks related to climate change, the upgrading process can be seen as a form of household and community climate adaptation. When upgrading is done well, it greatly reduces climate risks and can have city-wide impact.

As discussed in this chapter, in order to address local challenges effectively there is a need to build local capacities (technical, human, financial, political). The case of Manizales shows that knowledge can be better produced locally by local technicians, researchers and citizens when there is capacity to do so. Some local actions that can help to build climate resilience in intermediary cities are listed below.

Large gaps still exist in knowledge and data on intermediary cities. This inhibits the ability to understand the climate-resilience actions being taken by city governments and how best to support them. Nonetheless, existing literature and the examples presented in this chapter highlight strong commonalities that can be used to start thinking about and designing support mechanisms. The needed policy transformations can be grouped along three main axes:

1. Strengthening the capacities of local stakeholders

Local governments are often the first responders to local needs and climate disasters. As many responsibilities fall directly on local governments, it is necessary to work on shaping international agreements and national goals to local realities. National governments and international partners should support local governments in intermediary and other cities as they work to contribute to meeting global goals such as the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. Generating opportunities for city staff and senior politicians to participate in regional and international networks can help intermediary cities to become actors in the national and international arena. This can facilitate co-operation and attract further support.

Strong partnerships between local governments, communities and civil society are key for building local resilience. Productive partnerships can help strengthen local governments’ capacities and ensure that they listen to and work with community organisations and recognise their capacities to define and generate appropriate solutions. Partnerships can also strengthen the long-term engagement of community organisations in working to build climate resilience. In terms of developing a climate-change policy, the experience of the mayor of Santo Tomé demonstrated the need to strengthen local governance by improving horizontal co-ordination between municipal departments and government and civil society actors, and by harmonising sectoral plans.

Local financing capacities can be strengthened by developing a more flexible local funding architecture to support climate-change action by local governments and civil society. The funding architecture should show that progress is possible even with very limited resources and should ensure that it is not only the large cities that get support. The system should include many different sources and be able to tap into them at different moments and for different needs. It must be able to close the gap between urgent funding for everyday needs and long-term funds for resilience and development planning. Box 4.4 outlines different components of such a funding architecture to support action at all levels.

2. Generating data to build a comprehensive understanding of local climate vulnerabilities

Building data and information systems is a necessary and important step for implementing effective climate actions. Developing a local geo-referenced database and integrating different knowledge sources that capture local specifics are actions that can help to improve government decisions. Manizales, for example, developed an integrated and geo-referenced information system to support local climate resilience. Building partnerships with key knowledge-generating institutions can boost understanding of the complex ways in which urban areas can be vulnerable to climate change. Such partnerships can also institutionalise knowledge across local governments. Drawing in local universities and professional groups with the knowledge and technical capacities to provide support in planning, training, data generation, scenario building, monitoring, evaluation, etc., can help to ensure coherence and continuity of policies, plans and planning processes.

3. Integrating climate proofing into local planning and investment

Local governments need to integrate climate proofing into local planning and investment across multiple sectors. Actions can include accelerating the incorporation of climate considerations when investing in settlement upgrading, housing programmes and long-lasting city infrastructure, which involves allocating important resources. Local and national actors can adopt and revalorise nature-based solutions, the use of green and blue infrastructure, and the links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas.

Elaborating a local approach to resilience that can be shared and demonstrated can help to increase the likelihood that it will be adopted and gain the support of relevant actors. This is illustrated by the importance given by the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) to engaging all key actors and institutions in climate action, including community and civil society groups selected in line with local hazards (e.g. communities susceptible to landslides) and forms of political organisation (e.g. trade unions).

This chapter has outlined climate actions in intermediary cities across Asia, Africa and Latin America through a series of case studies. Climate change has often been on the margins of local policies across many of the cities reviewed. Indeed, in many cases, other policies, such as disaster risk reduction and the upgrading of informal settlements, have served as entry points that consequently enabled resilience building. Key catalysts in some of the cities reviewed include enabling factors that can be institutional, such as good governance and active support from the national government, or multi-stakeholder, with the active engagement of local actors, universities, civil society and local populations.

Intermediary cities in developing countries are still often overlooked in national and international climate policies despite the major challenges they face. This is perhaps because most studies of climate change and urban centres focus on large cities or cities in developed countries. As such, additional information and data are needed on intermediary cities in developing countries and their vulnerabilities to climate change.


[39] ACHR/ACCA (2014), ACHR/ACCA in the Philippines: Five community organizations, five strategies, same goal, http://www.achr.net/countries-de.php?ic=4 (accessed on 10 March 2021).

[4] Alcadía de Manizales (2017), Alcadía de Manizales, https://manizales.gov.co/ (accessed on 10 March 2022).

[9] Alcadía de Manizales (2017), Plan de Ordenamiento Territorial 2017 -2031, https://manizales.gov.co/transparencia-y-acceso-a-la-informacion-publica/planeacion/plan-de-ordenamiento-territorial-2017-2031/ (accessed on 10 March 2022).

[104] Almansi, F. (2009), “Rosario’s development; interview with Miguel Lifschitz, mayor of Rosario, Argentina”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 21/1, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247809103002.

[29] AquiAlaga (n.d.), AquiAlaga, https://appaquialaga.wixsite.com/odkpp (accessed on 5 October 2021).

[66] Araújo (2021), The challenges and opportunities of implementing local climate action lessons from Quelimane, Mozambique, Development Matters, https://oecd-development-matters.org/2021/02/04/the-challenges-and-opportunities-of-implementing-local-climate-action-lessons-from-quelimane-mozambique/ (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[108] Archer, A. et al. (2017), “Developing city resilience strategies: lessons from the ICLEI-ACCRN process”, Working Papers Series, No. 41, IIED, ICLEI, The Rockefeller Foundation, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316827587_Developing_city_resilience_strategies_lessons_from_the_ICLEI-ACCCRN_process (accessed on 10 March 2021).

[86] Archer, D. and S. Boonyabancha (2011), “Seeing a disaster as an opportunity – harnessing the energy of disaster survivors for change”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 23/2, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247811410011.

[44] Bahadur, A. and T. Tanner (2014), “Transformational resilience thinking: putting people, power and politics at the heart of urban climate resilience”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 26/1, pp. 200-214, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247814522154.

[115] Barlette and Satterthwaite (2016), “Conclusions on ways forward”, in Satterthwaite, D. and S. Bartlett (eds.), Cities on a Finite Planet Towards transformative responses to climate change, Routledge, London, https://www.routledge.com/Cities-on-a-Finite-Planet-Towards-transformative-responses-to-climate-change/Bartlett-Satterthwaite/p/book/9781138184107 (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[77] Barlett, S. (ed.) (2016), Cities on a Finite Planet, Routledge, London, https://www.routledge.com/Cities-on-a-Finite-Planet-Towards-transformative-responses-to-climate-change/Bartlett-Satterthwaite/p/book/9781138184107 (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[20] Bartlett et al. (2016), “Cross city analysis”, in Cities on a Finite Planet, Routledge, https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315645421.

[30] Bawagan, A. et al. (2015), Shifting paradigms: Strengthening institutions for community-based disaster risk reduction and management, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City, https://ds.mainlib.upd.edu.ph/Record/UPD-00246506273 (accessed on 2 October 2021).

[64] BBC (2019), “Cyclone Idai: Scores more deaths reported in Mozambique”, BBC Africa, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-47678743 (accessed on 10 October 2021).

[88] Boonyabancha, S. (2005), “Baan Mankong: going to scale with “slum” and squatter upgrading in Thailand”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 17/1, pp. 21-46, https://doi.org/10.1177/095624780501700104.

[38] Boonyabancha, S. and T. Kerr (2018), “Lessons from CODI on co-production”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 30/2, pp. 444-460, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247818791239.

[90] Buckley et al. (2016), “Addressing the housing challenge: avoiding the Ozymandias syndrome”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 28/1, pp. 119-138, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247815627523.

[113] Bulkeley, H. and V. Castán Broto (2013), “Government by experiment? Global cities and the governing of climate change”, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Vol. 38/3, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00535.x.

[93] Cabannes, Y. (2021), “Contributions of participatory budgeting to climate change adaptation and mitigation: current local practices across the world and lessons from the field”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 33/2, pp. 356–375, https://doi.org/10.1177/09562478211021710.

[94] Cabannes, Y. (2015), “The impact of participatory budgeting on basic services: municipal practices and evidence from the field”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 27/1, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247815572297.

[92] Cabannes, Y. (2014), “Contribution of participatory budgeting to provision and management of basic services: municipal practices and evidence from the field”, Working Paper, International Institute for Environment and Development, London, https://pubs.iied.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/migrate/10713IIED.pdf (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[87] Carcellar, N., J. Co and Z. Hipolito (2011), “Addressing disaster risk reduction through community-rooted interventions in the Philippines: experience of the Homeless People’s Federation of the Philippines”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 23/2, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247811415581.

[7] Cardona, O. (2019), “Gestión del riesgo y adaptación en Manizales: Una estrategia de desarollo para lograr que una ciudad en transición sea resiliente, sostenible y competitiva”, Medio ambiente y Urbanización, Vol. 90/1, pp. 127-168, https://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/iieal/meda/2019/00000090/00000001/art00009 (accessed on 8 March 2021).

[103] Carmin, J. et al. (2011), Planning climate resilient cities: early lessons from early adapters, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273764560.

[8] Carrizosa, M. (2018), “Manizales, Colombia. Culture of Risk with a Scientific Backbone”, in Carrizosa, M. et al. (eds.), Facing Risk: New Urban Resilience Practices in Latin America, CAF and Observatory on Latin America (OLA), The New School, https://scioteca.caf.com/handle/123456789/1431 (accessed on 8 March 2021).

[81] Cartwright, A. et al. (2013), “Economics of climate change adaptation at the local scale under conditions of uncertainty and resource constraints: the case of Durban, South Africa”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 25/1, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247813477814.

[27] Cavalcante, L. and O. Almeida (2018), Mudanças climáticas em pequeñas cidades do Delta e Estuário Amazônicos: caminhos para a resiliencia, NAEA, Belém, PA, https://livroaberto.ufpa.br/jspui/bitstream/prefix/570/1/Liovros_MudancasClimaticasPequenas.pdf (accessed on 10 March 2021).

[10] Chardon, A. (2021), “Resettling, re-enabling: the challenge of reconstructing a human habitat”, in Johnson, C., G. Jain and A. Lavell (eds.), Rethinking Urban Risk and Resettlement in the Global South, UCL, London, https://doi.org/10.14324/111.9781787358287.

[33] Cheng, T. and T. Kim (2019), Building community-based Resilience in the Municipality of San Francisco, Cebu, the Phillipines, Global Delivery Initiative Know-How That Works, San Francisco, http://www.globaldeliveryinitiative.org/sites/default/files/case-studies/community-based_drrm_5-3-19_1.pdf (accessed on 10 March 2021).

[73] Chitekwe-Biti, B. et al. (2012), “Developing an informal settlement upgrading protocol in Zimbabwe – the Epworth story”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 24/1, pp. 131-148, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247812437138.

[107] Coalition for Urban Transitions (2019), Climate Emergency: Urban Opportunity, Coalition for Urban Transitions, Washington DC and London, https://urbantransitions.global/en/publication/climate-emergency-urban-opportunity/ (accessed on 13 July 2021).

[109] Corfee-Morlot, J. et al. (2009), “Cities, Climate Change and Multilevel Governance”, OECD Environmental working Papers, No. 14, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://www.oecd.org/env/workingpapers.

[60] County Government of Kisumu (2017), Kisumu Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan (KISWaMP) by horizon 2030, County of Kisumu, Kisumu, https://www.kisumu.go.ke/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Updated-KISWAMP-Feb-2018-.pdf (accessed on 8 October 2021).

[62] County of Kisumu (2018), Kisumu County Integrated Development Plan II 2018-2022, County of Kisumu, Kisumu, https://www.kisumu.go.ke/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Kisumu-County-CIDP-II-2018-2022.pdf (accessed on 8 October 2021).

[32] Curato, N. and S. Calamba (2020), “Surviving Disasters by Suppressing Political Storms: Participation as Knowledge Transfer in Community-Based Disaster Governance”, Critical Sociology, Vol. 46/2, https://doi.org/10.1177/0896920518796167.

[13] De la sala (2019), “Políticas de Suelo, Derecho Urbanístico y Cambio Climático: Instrumentos Urbanísticos-Tributarios como Medidas para Enfrentar al Cambio Climático WP19SD1SP”, Working Paper, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Massachusetts, http://alterman.technion.ac.il;.

[28] De Lima, A. et al. (2020), “Climate hazards in small and medium cities in the Amazon Delta and Estuary: challenges for resilience”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 32/1, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247819874586.

[22] Fernandez et al (2015), “Assessing local vulnerability to climate change in Ecuador”, SpringerPlus, Vol. 4/1, https://doi.org/10.1186/s40064-015-1536-z.

[100] Geddes, L. (2020), “La implementación de la Agenda 2030 en Argentina y en la Ciudad de Gualeguaychúa”, Medio Ambiente y Urbanización, Vol. 92/14, pp. 237-250, https://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/iieal/meda/2020/00000092/00000001/art00010# (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[67] GFDRR (2011), Climate Risk and Adaptation Country Profile: Mozambique Vulnerability, Risk Reduction and Adaptation to Climate Change, Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), Washington DC, https://www.gfdrr.org/en/publication/climate-risk-and-adaptation-country-profile-mozambique (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[24] Gobierno Municipal del Cantón Portovejo (2017), Actualización del Plan de Ordenamento Territorial del Cantón Portoviejo, https://www.portoviejo.gob.ec/md-transparencia/2017/julio-2017/Plan%20de%20Ordenamiento.pdf (accessed on 26 August 2022).

[17] Gobierno Provincia de Santa Fe (2014), Plan Base de la Ciudad de Santo Tomé. Una herramienta participativa para el desarollo local, Provincia de Santa Fe, Santa Fe, https://www.argentina.gob.ar/sites/default/files/plan_base_de_la_ciudad_de_santo_tome_.pdf (accessed on 10 March 2021).

[58] Gubic, I. and O. Baloi (2019), “Implementing the New Urban Agenda in Rwanda: Nation-Wide Public Space Initiatives”, Urban Planning, Vol. 4/2, https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v4i2.2005.

[25] Hardoy et al. (2019), “Participatory planning for climate resilient and inclusive urban development in Dosquebradas, Santa Ana and Santa Tomé”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 31/1, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247819825539.

[26] Hardoy et al. (2018), “Planificación participativa para la resiliencia al clima en ciudades de América Latin: los casos de Dosquebradas (Colombia), Santa Ana (El Salvador), y Santo Tomé (Argentina)”, Medio Ambiente y Urbanización, IIED-America Latina, Vol. 33/1, pp. 29-61, https://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/iieal/meda/2018/00000088/00000001/art00003 (accessed on 10 March 2021).

[18] Hardoy et al. (2016), “Rosario, Argentina”, in Cities on a Finite Planet, Routledge, https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315645421.

[5] Hardoy and Barrero (2016), “Manizales, Colombia”, in Barlett, S. and D. Satterthwaite (eds.), Cities on a Finite Planet, Routledge, Oxford, https://www.routledge.com/Cities-on-a-Finite-Planet-Towards-transformative-responses-to-climate-change/Bartlett-Satterthwaite/p/book/9781138184107 (accessed on 8 March 2021).

[106] Hardoy, J. et al. (2019), Planeamiento participativo para la resiliencia al climate en ciudades de América Latina, CDKN, FFLA, IDRC, https://www.crclatam.net/documentos/publicaciones/72-reporte-de-investigacion-planeamiento-participativo-para-la-resiliencia-al-clima-en-ciudades-de-am%C3%A9rica-latina/file.html (accessed on 10 March 2021).

[12] Hardoy, J., G. Pandiella and L. Barrero (2011), “Local disaster risk reduction in Latin American urban areas”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 23/2, pp. 401-413, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247811416435.

[16] Hardoy, J. and R. Ruete (2013), “Incorporating climate change adaptation into planning for a liveable city in Rosario, Argentina”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 25/2, pp. 339-360, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247813493232.

[63] ICLEI (n.d.), African Members, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, https://africa.iclei.org/iclei_member/ (accessed on 10 October 2021).

[85] IFRC (2010), World Disasters Report 2010: Focus on urban risk, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Geneva.

[99] INDEC (n.d.), Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Censos, Republica Argentina, https://www.indec.gob.ar/ (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[31] Johnson, C. and S. Blackburn (2014), “Advocacy for urban resilience: UNISDR’s Making Cities Resilient Campaign”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 26/1, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247813518684.

[36] Lassa, J. and E. Nugraha (2015), “From shared learning to shared action in building resilience in the city of Bandar Lampung, Indonesia”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 27/1, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247814552233.

[97] López, M. (2015), “El sistema de planificación y el ordenamiento territorial para Buen Vivir en el Ecuador”, Geousp – Espaço e Tempo, Vol. 19/2, pp. 297-312, https://doi.org/10.11606/issn.2179-0892.

[46] Manda, M. and E. Wanda (2017), “Understanding the nature and scale of risks in Karonga, Malawi”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 29/1, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247817692200.

[19] Mastrángelo, D. and V. Carbuccia (2020), “Avances de la agenda climática en la ciudad de Rosario, Argentina”, Medio Ambiente y Urbanización, Vol. 92/1, pp. 205-236, https://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/iieal/meda/2020/00000092/00000001/art00009#expand/collapse (accessed on 8 March 2021).

[11] Maurizi, V. and S. Fontana (2019), Building capacity through risk communication strategies in Santa Fe city, Argentina, UNDP and Catholic University of Cordóba, Tabasco, https://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/elpais/1-34683-2004-04.

[95] Montecinos, E. (2005), “Los estudios de descentralización en América Latina: una revisión sobre el estado actual de latemática”, Revista eure, Vol. XXXI, pp. 77-88, https://scielo.conicyt.cl/pdf/eure/v31n93/art05.pdf (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[23] Municipio de Portoviejo (2019), Plan Portoviejo 2035, Gobierno Autónomo Decentralizado municipal del Cantón Portoviejo, Portoviejo, https://content.bhybrid.com/publication/df513425/mobile/ (accessed on 24 August 2022).

[111] NDRRMC (n.d.), National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council - Office of Civil Defense, https://ndrrmc.gov.ph/ (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[3] Novillo (2018), “Cambio climático y conflictos socioambientales en ciudades intermedias de América Latina y el Caribe (Climate change and environmental social conflicts in intermediary cities of Latin America and the Caribbean)”, Letras Verdes, Revista Latinoamericana de Estudios Socioambientales 24, pp. 124-142, https://doi.org/10.17141/letrasverdes.24.2018.3323.

[96] OECD (2021), OECD Regional Outlook 2021, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/17017efe-en.

[102] OECD (2015), Governing the City, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264226500-en.

[51] OECD/PSI (2020), Rural Development Strategy Review of Ethiopia: Reaping the Benefits of Urbanisation, OECD Development Pathways, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/a325a658-en.

[35] Office of the President of the Philippines (2018), PSF Bankrolls P192-Million Local Climate Change Adaptation Projects, https://climate.gov.ph/news/46 (accessed on 2 October 2021).

[49] Ogato, G. (2013), “The Quest for Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation into Urban Development Planning of Ambo Town, Ethiopia”, American Journal of Human Ecology, Vol. 2/3, pp. 103-119, https://doi.org/10.11634/216796221302478.

[48] Ogato, G. et al. (2017), “Towards mainstreaming climate change adaptation into land use planning and management: The case of Ambo Town, Ethiopia”, in Filho, W. et al. (eds.), Climate Change Adaptation in Africa capacity to adapt, Springer, Cham, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49520-0.

[71] Plataforma (2020), Project 10/12: Milan (Italy) - Quelimane (Mozambique), https://platforma-dev.eu/project-1012-milan-italy-quelimane-mozambique/ (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[53] Price, R. (2019), “Climate compatible development and rapid urbanisation in Rwanda”, K4D Helpdesk Report, No. 660, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, https://gain.nd.edu/our-work/country-index/.

[116] RAMCC (n.d.), Red Argentina de Municipios Frente al Cambio Climatico, https://www.ramcc.net/fideicomiso.php (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[61] Republic of Kenya (2020), The Kisumu County Climate Change Bill 2020, https://www.kisumu.go.ke/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Climate-change-bill.pdf (accessed on 8 October 2021).

[55] Republic of Rwanda (2018), Urbanisation & Rural Settlement: Sector Strategic Plan for National Strategy for Transformation, Ministry of Infrastructure, Kigali, https://www.mininfra.gov.rw/fileadmin/user_upload/Mininfra/Publications/Policies/Urbanization__Human_Settlement_and_Housing_Development/Urbanisation__Rural_Settlements_Sector_Strategic_Plan_2018-24.pdf (accessed on 6 October 2021).

[56] Republic of Rwanda (2015), National Roadmap for Green Secondary City Development, Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA) and Global Green Growth Institute & Implementation (GGP&I), https://gggi.org/site/assets/uploads/2017/12/National-Roadmap-for-Green-Secondary-City-Development.pdf (accessed on 6 October 2021).

[54] Republic of Rwanda (2015), National Urbanization Policy, Ministry of Infrastructure, Kigali, https://bpmis.gov.rw/asset_uplds/files/National%20Urbanization%20Policy.pdf (accessed on 6 October 2021).

[57] Republic of Rwanda (2013), Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy II, https://www.rsb.gov.rw/fileadmin/user_upload/files/EDPRS_2_Abridged_Version.pdf (accessed on 6 October 2021).

[52] Republic of Rwanda (2011), Green Growth and Climate Resilience: National Strategy for Climate Change and Low Carbon Development, https://www.greengrowthknowledge.org/sites/default/files/downloads/policy-database/RWANDA%29%20Green%20Growth%20and%20Climate%20Resilience%20-%20National%20Strategy%20for%20Climate%20Change%20and%20Low%20Carbon%20Development.pdf (accessed on 6 October 2021).

[1] Revi, A. et al. (2014), Urban Areas in Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, IPCC, Cambridge, https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg2/.

[79] Roberts, D. (2010), “Prioritizing climate change adaptation and local level resilience in Durban, South Africa”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 22/2, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247810379948.

[78] Roberts, D. (2008), “Thinking globally, acting locally — institutionalizing climate change at the local government level in Durban, South Africa”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 20/2, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247808096126.

[80] Roberts, D. et al. (2012), “Exploring ecosystem-based adaptation in Durban, South Africa: “learning-by-doing” at the local government coal face”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 24/1, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247811431412.

[76] Roberts, D. et al. (2020), “Durban’s 100 Resilient Cities journey: governing resilience from within”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 32/2, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247820946555.

[75] Roberts, D. et al. (2016), “Durban”, in Barlett, S. and D. Satterthwaite (eds.), Cities in a Finite Planet, Routledge, London.

[82] Roberts, D. and S. O’Donoghue (2013), “Urban environmental challenges and climate change action in Durban, South Africa”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 25/2, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247813500904.

[45] Rondinelli, D. (1982), “The potential of secondary cities facilitating deconcentrated urbanization in Africa”, African Urban Studies.

[89] Satterthwaite, D. et al. (2020), “Building Resilience to Climate Change in Informal Settlements”, One Earth, Vol. 2/2, pp. 143-156, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2020.02.002.

[105] Satterthwaite, D. et al. (2018), Responding to climate change in cities and in their informal settlements and economies, IIED and IIED-América Latina, London, https://pubs.iied.org/G04328/.

[43] Scott, H. and D. Archer (2017), “Developing city resilience strategies: lessons from the ICLEI-ACCCRN process”, Working Paper Series, No. 41, IIED, London, https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.18761.13928.

[98] Scott, Z. and M. Tarazona (2011), Study on Disaster Risk Reduction, Decentralization and Political Economy Decentralisation and Disaster Risk Reduction, ISDR, UNDP, OPM, https://www.preventionweb.net/english/hyogo/gar/2011/en/bgdocs/Scott_&_Tarazona_2011.pdf (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[72] SDI (n.d.), Slum Dwellers International, https://sdinet.org/ (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[112] SEI (2020), Governing sustainability in secondary cities of the Global South, Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm, http://www.sei.org.

[14] Simet, L. (2018), “Santa Fe, Argentina. Risk Management: Intersectoriality, Memory, and Global Platforms”, in Cohen, M., M. Gutman and M. Carrizosa (eds.), Facing Risk. New Urban Resilience Practices in Latin America, CAF and Observatory on Latin America (OLA), The New School, https://scioteca.caf.com/handle/123456789/1431 (accessed on 8 March 2021).

[101] Slack, E. (2019), Metropolitan Governance: Principles and Practice, Inter-American Development Bank, https://doi.org/10.18235/0001576.

[42] Solo Kota Kita (n.d.), Project History, https://solokotakita.org/en/about/history/ (accessed on 5 October 2021).

[34] SunStar Phillipines (2018), Helping towns cope with climate change, https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/422882/Business/Helping-towns-cope-with-climate-change (accessed on 2 October 2021).

[40] Taylor, J. (2015), “A tale of two cities: comparing alternative approaches to reducing the vulnerability of riverbank communities in two Indonesian cities”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 27/2, pp. 621-636, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247815594532.

[37] Taylor, J. and J. Lassa (2015), “How can climate change vulnerability assessments best impact policy and planning? Lessons from Indonesia”, Asian Cities Climate Resilience, No. 22, IIED, London, https://pubs.iied.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/migrate/10743IIED.pdf (accessed on 2 October 2021).

[2] UNDESA (2018), World Urbanization Prospects: The 2018 Revision, Online edition, https://population.un.org/wup/ (accessed on 23 April 2020).

[6] UNDRR (2019), Words into Action guidelines: Implementation guide for local disaster risk reduction and resilience strategies, United National Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Geneva, https://www.preventionweb.net/files/57399_57399localdrrandresiliencestrategie.pdf (accessed on 8 March 2021).

[84] UNDRR (2009), Risk and poverty in a changing climate, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Geneva, https://www.undrr.org/publication/global-assessment-report-disaster-risk-reduction-2009 (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[114] UNDRR (n.d.), Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready, https://www.unisdr.org/campaign/resilientcities/ (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[47] UN-Habitat (2020), Breaking Cycles of Risk Accumulation in African Cities, United Nations Human Settlements Programme, Nairobi, https://unhabitat.org/sites/default/files/2020/03/un_report_2019_ebook_high_res.pdf (accessed on 5 October 2021).

[83] UN-Habitat (2020), Urban Indicators Database.

[110] UN-Habitat (2012), The Impact of Climate Change on Urban Settlements in Colombia, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), Nairobi.

[50] UN-Habitat (2008), Ethiopia: Ambo urban profile, UN-Habitat, Ambo, https://unhabitat.org/sites/default/files/download-manager-files/Ethiopia%20Ambo%20Urban%20Profile.pdf (accessed on 5 October 2021).

[59] UN-Habitat (2006), Kisumu Urban Sector Profile, United Nations Human Settlement Programme, Nairobi, https://unhabitat.org/kenya-kisumu-urban-profile (accessed on 8 October 2021).

[68] USAID (2014), Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS), USAID, Maputo, https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1860/CDCS_February_2019_Mozambique_update20202.pdf (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[69] USAID (2013), Coastal City Adaptation Project (CCAP), Building More Resilient Mozambique, Mozambique Coastal Cities Adaptation Programme (CCAP, 2014-2019) (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[15] Valsagna, A. and M. Tejedor (2017), “De la gestión local de riesgos a la resiliencia. La experiencia de la Ciudad de Santa Fe”, Medio Ambiente y Urbanización, Vol. 86/1, pp. 43-69, https://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/iieal/meda/2017/00000086/00000001/art00003 (accessed on 8 March 2021).

[74] VPUU (2019), What is Enumeration? Enumeration begins for informal settlement support programme, Violence Prevention Through Urban Upgrading, http://vpuu.org.za/programmes/ict4d/enumeration-informal-settlements/ (accessed on 25 August 2022).

[41] Weru, J. et al. (2018), “The Akiba Mashinani Trust, Kenya: a local fund’s role in urban development”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 30/1, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247817750963.

[65] World Bank (2020), Mozambique: Upscaling nature-based flood protection in Mozambique’s cities, The Wolrld Bank, Washington DC.

[70] World Bank (2018), Helping Mozambique Cities Build Resilience to Climate Change, https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2018/06/05/helping-mozambique-cities-build-resilience-to-climate-change (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[91] World Bank (2015), Investing in Urban Resilience: Protecting and Promoting Development in a Changing World, World Bank, Washington DC, https://www.gfdrr.org/sites/default/files/publication/Investing%20in%20Urban%20Resilience%20Final.pdf (accessed on 11 October 2021).

[21] WRI (2021), Sustainable Food Production for a Resilient Rosario, World Resources Institute Ross Centre, https://prizeforcities.org/project/sustainable-food-production-rosario (accessed on 5 October 2021).


← 1. This is under revision by the new city administration that came into office in December 2019.

← 2. Based on: Gobierno Municipal del Cantón (2017). Plan Maestro Urbano. Fase 1, Fase 2 A, Fase 2 B, Fase 3.; Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning University of California (2017) Portoviejo: The city and the River. Integrating Urban Design and Watershed Management on the Portoviejo River. Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning College of Environmental Design University of California, Berkeley; Gobierno Autónomo Descentralizado Municipal del Cantón Portoviejo (2020). Plan de Protección Multiamenaza and Bernal Chancay E. and García Arias M (2020) Presentation River Portoviejo Corridor, Climate Resilience and Urban Development, Virtual Planning Workshop, June 2020.

← 3. The Multi-Hazard Protection Plan was a joint project between the Municipal Office of Territorial Development, the Office of Urban and Territorial Planning and the Office of Environmental Management and Risk. The integral improvement plans involve consolidated urban land, unconsolidated land and land destined for protection (because of risks and/or its importance for services to the area). The plans identify houses at risk, differentiate between mitigatable and unmitigatable risks, and design intervention accordingly. They aim to progressively integrate neighbourhoods and generate secure habitat conditions. Local officials have also worked on developing other plans such as Mi Barrio Lindo to work on urban borders.

← 4. Climate Resilient Cities in Latin America Initiative, funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network, the International Development Research Centre and the Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano. The initiative involved six projects.

← 5. In 2018, Argentina had 2 327 local governments, of which 1 206 were municipalities and the rest urban and rural communes, development commissions, municipal commissions, neighbourhood councils and autonomous government boards, according to the political-administrative organisation of each province.

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

© OECD/UN-Habitat 2022

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at https://www.oecd.org/termsandconditions.