Philippines + 2 more

Regional: Advancing inclusive and resilient urban development targeted at the urban poor


Project Number: 51325-001
January 2022

BUILDING RESILIENCE OF THE URBAN POOR: Using Climate Change and Disaster Risk Information in Designing Pro-poor Investments in Community Infrastructure

Prepared by Tony Wong
Melbourne, Australia

“The ability of a system and its component parts to anticipate, absorb, accommodate, or recover from the effects of a hazardous event in a timely and efficient manner, including through ensuring the preservation, restoration, or improvement of its essential basic structures and functions.” - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

I. Introduction

1. The Asia-Pacific Region is home to 60% of the world’s population living in informal settlements and many poor people residing in formal settlements. Urban poor often live where they can afford to. The urban poor are disproportionally negatively impacted.

2. Informal settlements, in particular, have limited access to mainstream essential services and their precarious living conditions increase their susceptibility to climate-sensitive hazards including extreme heat, droughts, floods, cyclones, sea-level rise, and in some cases earthquakes.

(i) The consequential impacts from these exposures include (i) health – largely the result of living in conditions conducive to diseases; and (ii) economic and social wellbeing caused by damage to housing and neighborhood infrastructure, and the erosion of their economic livelihoods.

3. Building resilience of the urban poor is a multifaceted process, operating at a range of scales and involving a range of policy and physical interventions. A collective vision of resilience incorporates resilient households, health and wellbeing for all, resilient and adaptive infrastructure, dignified and resilient livelihoods, and vibrant and diverse cities.

Pro-poor programs directed at strengthening resilience will require a combination of social-technical interventions that collectively promote coping, incremental, and transformational strategies, i.e. (i) the development of policy interventions needs to be supported by an effective enabling environment covering three key areas of governance, data and finance; and (ii) infrastructure need to be designed for a level of robustness and adaptability for future social-demographic and climate scenarios.

4. The multidimensional nature of urban poverty points to the need for providing access to basic services, community infrastructure, financial institutions, housing, livelihood, finance, training and capacity building, and other opportunities that urban poor communities critically need to uplift their plight and reduce their vulnerability to the adverse impacts of climate change.

5. As national governments, cities, and civil society organizations ramp up their efforts to reduce the vulnerabilities of the urban poor, it is critical that they factor climate change and disaster risk considerations in their design and implementation of policies, plans and investments across a wide range of interventions, including urban planning, infrastructure and basic services, livelihoods, social protection, health, and housing.

(i) Such interventions need to complement actions at different levels – urban poor household, community, and city government, and be implemented in close partnership with local governments and grassroots organizations.

(ii) Strengthening resilience of the urban poor requires a combination of interventions that collectively promote coping, incremental, and transformational strategies.


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