Quezon City, Philippines (6 November 2018) — Today, Mayor Herbert Bautista welcomes officials from eight Asian megacities, international organisations and stakeholders for a three-day forum to drive meaningful progress on achieving the climate adaptation and resilience aims of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the region. Representatives from Jakarta, Hanoi, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh, Tokyo, Yokohama, Dhaka North and Dhaka South are participating in a policy dialogue day and a workshop on urban flooding, one of the main climate hazards affecting the region. At the Forum, C40, ICLEI, Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and UN-Habitat launched an assessment report and preliminary results of research on the benefits of adaptation, making the case for urgent, inclusive and ambitious climate action.

“We, Asian cities, should strive to become an inspiration for other cities to replicate, scale, and more importantly, coordinate and cooperate across city and country boundaries, with the common goal of setting an environment that is habitable and sustainable for the generations to come.” said Hon. Herbert Bautista, Mayor of Quezon City. “I would like to convey my grateful appreciation to the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group for opening the door to Quezon City, the only Philippine city in the C40 network.”

The first half-day of the forum – a high level policy dialogue – is part of C40’s Adaptation Diplomacy, a project supported by Cities Alliance that explores the urgency of climate change adaptation in Global South cities – with a focus on Asia; the impacts of climate change in our cities and communities, and strategies to communicate these impacts; and the need for financing mechanisms for adaptation in cities.

 “With the recent IPCC report indicating that even 2°C of global warming would be disastrous to the planet and its people, we cannot afford to be complacent,” said Milag San Jose-Ballesteros, C40 Regional Director for South East Asia & Oceania. “As with low carbon development efforts, C40 cities are leading the way with the same ambition and zeal to ensure that cities become climate resilient, continue to thrive, and be healthier and livable amidst the threat of climate change. Cities, however, cannot do it alone. It is ever more imperative that the conversation on adaptation be elevated to national and international platforms and discourse.”

The ‘Data speak louder than words’ assessment report launched today is meant to give voice to cities and regions in the important 2018 national stocktaking exercises on climate change and sustainable development. The aggregated data by and for cities provides a strong justification for diplomacy around adaptation at key events, such as the High-Level Political Forum. 

The report targets local and regional governments with the aim to enhance understanding of planning, implementing, measuring, and reporting on climate change adaptation. The evidence presented constitutes a clear and loud call for action appealing to all levels of government:

  • At the national and international level, the necessity to integrate efforts and amplify climate adaptation action on a truly global scale (meaning in local communities, led by local, regional, and national governments, and engaging with international agencies and other key actors) is highlighted. 
  • At the local level, calls for regular updates on local adaptation progress as we approach the stocktake of 2020 when new or updated NDCs are expected to be submitted and the Global Stocktake process is defined.

This document will help activate the necessary awareness, modalities for support, and resources for cities and regions around the world to further commit, plan, implement, monitor, evaluate, and report their climate actions, including adaptation efforts. 

Also under discussion at the Forum is a new framework ― Assessing the Climate, Health, and Socioeconomic Benefits of Upgrading Informal Settlements: Lessons from African and Asian Cities ― which is currently being developed by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in collaboration with C40 and SDI. It will reveal how upgrading informal settlements can create multiple benefits for climate adaptation and inclusive development.

The framework will help city governments understand and assess the health, social, and economic benefits of upgrading informal settlements with a focus on improving the lives of low-income groups in the face of climate change.  The research also demonstrates the importance of academics and other professionals working in close partnership with informal settlements’ organisations.

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