Cities need to work together for realizing shared dreams

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A well-coordinated and collective response to urban challenges is required to save our cities from over-crowding, congestion, disasters and crumbling urban management systems

The introduction of technology in city management systems with launch of urban development projects targeting to make cities smart and intelligent, and evolution of many international, national and city-level associations will surely ease and expedite the process of making cities efficient provided that city leaders and their officials remain up-to-date with the changes taking place in the cities world over and have an infallible mechanism to share resources and expertise on specific areas.

Urban environment is changing. City leaders, especially those in under-developed or developing nations, need to look at the worst case scenario by assessing the risks and weakest areas of their functioning. They will also need to consider how their cities would face the challenges if the situation worsens. They can then look around and see what other cities have done in similar situation in various parts of the world. This simple exercise and their association  with ‘expert cities’ can address cities’ problems efficiently and expeditiously.It is true that every city has different conditions to ensure the suitability of a program. So in the next step, local experts can intervene to prepare tailor-made solutions based on the available examples of successful projects. Better association between cities can also help in developing bolder strategies to catalyze larger, smarter investment in specific areas for improving services.

According to the World Bank report, a critical element of the successful outcome in Pariswas establishing mechanisms and national commitments for greater climate-friendly investment—particularly in the world’s developing regions. Coupled with these commitments, recent analysis highlights the need to mobilize more than 90 trillion dollars to build climate-friendly and sustainable infrastructure.

Climate related risks like urban floods, storms in coastal cities, heat waves, etc. have become the new normal. No city in the world can claim to be unaffected. Like Ban Ki-moon, Former Secretary General of United Nations, had said in his speech in 2011: “Climate change does not respect borders, it does not respect who you are- rich or poor, small or big.” He had underlined the stark reality. This clearly indicates that the problems relating to these challenges require more coordinated and intense efforts from city leaders and policy makers. Many reports on urbanization and climate change highlight that city dwellers consume over 72 per cent of energy from fossil fuels and contribute to 80 per cent GHG emissions. In the pursuit of providing adequate facilities and building better infrastructure in ever growing urban regions, cities are pushing the earth to the ecological threshold as they engage in unsustainable practices leading to change in land use, land degradation, air and water pollution and biodiversity loss. 

Asia Pacific Region accounts for 55% of global urban population with over one billion living in slums and accounting for 75% of global fatalities due to natural disasters. The intensity may vary from city to city but the point is the problem persists everywhere and needs immediate attention. It is high time that cities learn from the mistakes and success stories of other cities to make sure the new age development does not go awry. Associations of cities and local governments need to mount joint efforts to face challenges in the context of rapid urbanisation in cities around the world.

Asia Pacific Region accounts for 55% of global urban population with over one billion living in slums and accounting for 75% of global fatalities due to natural disasters.