Dear ICLEI friends and colleagues,
The 7th Resilient Cities congress, the annual global platform for urban resilience and climate change adaptation, was hosted in Bonn from 6-8 July. Throughout the three days, participants celebrated the recognition of local governments after decades of ambitious action as key stakeholders in the 2015 global frameworks, including the Sendai Framework, the Paris Agreement, and the Sustainable Development Goals, and discussed challenges and opportunities in the way of implementing these and shaping the New Urban Agenda.
In order to build resilience in cities, unlocking the human capital and fostering participation of those most at risk is and will increasingly be crucial. For this reason, the inclusion of the urban poor and informal workers, as well as the issue of gender-sensitive governance, took center stage during the Inclusive and Resilient Urban Development Forum, organized in collaboration with Cities Alliance.
This year, Resilient Cities also hosted its second Finance Forum in collaboration with the Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation (GIB). The Forum focused on bridging the gap between cities’ projects and available funding, overcoming the barriers that prevent projects to be funded. Local governments need to build capacity to be able to determine and prioritize investment needs, develop attractive projects, and market these projects to the right funders, investors, or partners.
The Finance Forum gave concrete examples of how to bridge the gap. It focused on three major points.
1. Creating an enabling environment for investment by removing policy barriers, applying newly available data and assessment tools, and partnering with communities and private sector actors like insurance companies earlier in planning stages
2. Tackling the language barrier between the public and private sectors and defining “shared value approaches” which consider economic, social, and environmental returns. Approaches such as GIB’s SuRe Standard, ICLEI Africa’s City Innovation Platforms, and the Transformative Actions Program (TAP) have emerged to help bridge that gap and help cities “speak the same language” with their funders.
3. Mixing financial sources to achieve sustainable, holistic urban development and working with what you have. This means ensuring that projects with “bankable” aspects are funded with private sources, while projects with social aspects are funded with grants, public or community funding.
While the overarching goals for sustainable development have been set with the adoption of Paris Agreement, the main challenge lies now with the implementation and funding to achieve these objectives.
With kind regards,
Gino Van Begin
ICLEI Secretary General