Sustainable Cities in Action Forum 2024 is spotlighting three key priorities for future urban development in the face of our changing climate. Below, we consider the issue of Adaptation

Sustainable urban development
Climate & Biodiversity
Urban & Rural Development

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In 2023 a series of high-profile disasters, from wildfires in Greece and the United States to flooding in Italy and India made it clear that, as the UN World Meteorological Organisation put it, “extreme weather events boosted by human-induced climate change have become the new normal”.  

The global average temperature for July 2023 was confirmed to be the highest on record for any month. Such increases will have “dire consequences for both people and the planet exposed to ever more frequent and intense extreme events”, according to Samantha Burgess, Deputy Director at the European Commission’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.

As climate change intensifies, cities must be prepared to adapt, withstand and recover from the impacts of these extreme weather events and changing environmental conditions.  

City planners, policymakers, community leaders and stakeholders will need to equip themselves with strategies, tools and scalable solutions to build climate resilient cities in the MEASA region and around the world.  

Preparing today for the uncertainties of the future is critical; although cities can’t know exactly when an extreme weather event such as a hurricane, flood or heatwave will take place, early warning systems can be developed so that communities are ready to face the challenge. 

Leveraging data for insights into climate impacts will also enable cities to both assess their specific vulnerabilities and find commonalities with others, ultimately improving knowledge and decision-making.  

By galvanising leaders to take action now to build resilient cities, urban landscapes can not only be transformed but also promote social equity, environmental sustainability, and climate resilience. 

By prioritising climate adaptation, urban areas will be able to use the lessons learned at Sustainable Cities in Action Forum 2024 to enhance their capacity to cope with challenges such as flooding, sea-level rise, and extreme heat – safeguarding both human lives and economic assets. 

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