The New York City-based Rockefeller Foundation has announced the launch of an initiative designed to help Asian cities prepare for the potentially devastating effects of climate change.
Representing a significant portion of the foundation's $70 million global effort to create strategies designed to help individuals cope with the effects of imminent climate change, the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network initiative will work to develop risk and vulnerability analyses and, in partnership with the World Bank, resilience-building projects, including health systems to help stop the spread of dengue fever, infrastructure to help manage flooding, and land-use and building code reform.
The network is focusing its efforts on six cities in India and Vietnam and is exploring expansion into Thailand and Indonesia. To date, grants have been awarded to the Boulder-based Institute for Social and Environmental Transition; Taru Leading Edge in Hyderabad, India; Challenge to Change in Kent, England; the National Institute for Science and Technology Policy and Strategy Studies in Vietnam; Toronto-based ICLEI Global; and London-based Arup International Development.
According to a recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, the earth will experience at least ninety more years of global warming regardless of any mitigation actions now under way. Compounding the problem, the Population Reference Bureau projects that the global urban population is estimated to increase from 3.2 billion to 4.9 billion over the next thirty years, with more than 60 percent of that increase occurring in Asia, a region that already has a larger urban population than all other regions of the world combined.
"Worldwide, climate change and environmental degradation disproportionately burden those with the fewest means, the majority of whom live in or are moving to cities," said Rockefeller Foundation president Judith Rodin. "Communities around the world need better weapons — new tools, techniques, and strategies — if they hope to tame the three-headed hydra of climate risk, poverty, and precipitous urbanization. Each successive day we do not act brings us — and them — closer to catastrophe."