Group Phot at the Joint Work Programme Launch at the Cities & Regions Pavilion at COP21, 8 December 2015

Slum dwellers, informal workers, city authorities and the private sector launch new global partnership to promote resilience in informal settlements

PARIS, FRANCE, 8 December 2015 – Over 14 international development partners have come together within a Cities Alliance Joint Work Programme on Resilient Cities to highlight and address the relationship between resilience and poverty in cities.

COP21 is a fitting location for the launch of this unique and important partnership. As the world becomes increasingly urban, it is clear that the major resilience and poverty challenges of this century – job creation, poverty reduction, climate change, environmental sustainability, community development and social inclusion – will be won or lost in cities.

This is especially true for cities in developing countries, where much of the urban growth is unplanned and informal. They face a range of risk factors, including conflict and political instability, climate change, disasters, resource scarcity and global economic shocks, with the poorest citizens the most vulnerable. The future prospects of these cities will be determined by how well they manage their growth and respond creatively to economic, environmental, and social changes.

The Cities Alliance Joint Work Programme, which is coordinated by UN-Habitat, brings together a broad range of organisations active in different areas of urban development and aligns their efforts in support of a common objective: to promote resilient and inclusive cities.

They are: Arup, Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the French Alliance for Cities and Territorial Development (PFVT), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation (100RC), OECD, Slum Dwellers International (SDI), Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), The Ecological Sequestration Trust (TEST), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), and the World Bank.

This global cooperation between the MCUR and Cities Alliance will catalyse the two main focus areas of the Joint Work Programme on Resilient Cities:

1) Facilitating the flow of global knowledge and resources on a global level to help cities become more resilient by fostering harmonisation of resilience approaches and diagnostic tools, catalysing access to innovative finance mechanisms, and supporting institutional capacity development of cities by facilitating direct sharing of good practice.

2) Leveraging global products for cities, particularly in informal settlements, to support citywide integrated resilience planning, developing strategies and plans aimed at sustainable management of urban energy, and demonstrating collective, local solutions for resilience-building in vulnerable communities. As cities implement these tools, policies and approaches, their experiences will feed into the global advocacy portion of the Joint Work Programme, which involves engaging in influential international processes on sustainable development, climate change, disaster risk reduction, and the new urban agenda.

“Most organisations working on resilience come from one side of the discourse or another, such as environment or, in the case of the Cities Alliance, slum upgrading and urban poverty reduction,” said William Cobbett, Director of Cities Alliance. “This Joint Work Programme is unique because it brings all these perspectives together for a more comprehensive understanding of resilience that will help all partners provide stronger, more coordinated results.”

“Inclusive and integrated resilience strategies backed by local citizens and supported by international institutions are a powerful tool for cities to address an array of social, economic and environmental challenges and inspire transformative, sustainable development,” said Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI, which hosted the launch of the Joint Work Programme at the Cities & Regions Pavilion at COP21.

UN Habitat’s Executive Director, Dr. Joan Clos noted the challenges to achieving the goals outlined in the SDGs related to sustainable urban development, arising from the increased exposure of people, assets and urban functions to climate, natural and economic risks, partly resulting from poorly planned and managed urbanization. “Integrating resilience based planning, development and management elements in local government processes provides enhancements that protect and preserve development gains in all cities.”

The partnership will work towards contributing knowledge and resources to key milestones for urban resilience globally supporting the outcomes of the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris and the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016.

About the Cities Alliance

Cities Alliance is the global partnership for poverty reduction and promoting the role of cities in sustainable development. It brings together organisations with different perspectives and expertise on city issues around common goals: well run, productive cities that provide opportunities for all residents. Cities Alliance is based in Brussels, Belgium and is hosted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).


Cities Alliance: Priscilla Ofori-Amanfo, Senior Communications Officer, pofori-amanfo@citiesalliance.org

UN-Habitat: Patricia Holly Purcell, Patricia.Holly@unhabitat.org

ICLEI: Claudio Magliulo, Media Liaison, media.cop21@iclei.org

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