Mitigate climate risks, build resilience, UN chief says in message celebrating world’s cities

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In his message for World Cities Day on Sunday, the UN chief called for renewed resolve to confront urban challenges, mitigate risks and forge lasting solutions. 

The theme this year focuses on ‘Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience’. 

Hubs of innvoation 

“Cities are hubs of innovation and human ingenuity - and potential centres for transformative action to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and build a zero-carbon, climate-resilient and socially just world,” said Mr. Guterres. 

However, he noted that over one billion people now live in informal settlements, with 70 per cent highly vulnerable to climate change. 

Currently, just nine per cent of climate finance to cities is allocated for adaptation and resilience, with cities in developing countries, receiving far less than their wealthier counterparts. 

Adapt and protect 

Mr. Guterres said this must change, and reiterated his longstanding appeal for half of all climate finance to be dedicated to adaptation. 

“We need a people-centred and inclusive approach to planning, building and managing cities,” he added.  “Resilient infrastructure, early warning systems and financial instruments to mitigate risks, are crucial tools as cities seek to adapt and protect the lives and livelihoods of their residents.” 

The UN chief said cities have been epicentres of the COVID-19 pandemic and are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, but they can lead the way in recovering better from the pandemic, reducing emissions, and securing a resilient future for billions. 

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