Monday, June 27, 2022
A confluence of crises, including COVID-19, deepening inequalities, and climate breakdown, present a critical juncture in the evolution of cities; but there is limited focus on the urban dimensions of these intersecting crises. In the global South, ongoing economic hardships have dramatically reduced municipal revenues and budgets. Urban areas typically receive lower levels of international development investment and assistance than rural areas, and climate finance rarely flows into informal settlements. The social, economic and environmental impacts of these crises continue to be acute in cities across the global South, where informal workers, residents of informal settlements, and displaced peoples have been disproportionately affected. Local governments and grassroots organisations continue to lead responses to persistent urban poverty while simultaneously responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of climate change. Local, national and international networks have provided valuable learning exchange opportunities, however these platforms to date have limited scope and resources. There is a need for continuous cross-sectoral learning and networking so local organizations, municipal governments and development practitioners can pioneer and uptake successful approaches to climate action that also provide basic services to the urban poor and respond to severe challenges in the housing, migration and public health sectors. This networking event convened by the Human Settlements Group of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) will facilitate constructive networking between stakeholders and thought leaders working in the fields of urban inequalities, resilience, housing and migration in the context of a warming planet. This event, during which participants will hear from on-the-ground leaders and participate in smaller-group discussions, is designed for development practitioners, civil society actors, municipal government and researchers. These thought and action leaders will participate in a ‘lightning question round’ responding to key questions facing development practitioners, researchers and policy makers in diverse contexts in the Global South. The primary opportunity for networking will take place during a 45-minute engagement exercise. Participants will choose between four thematic workstations, co-hosted by an action-researcher and member of civil society: ‘just decarbonization’, ‘urban resilience,’ ‘forced displacement,’ and ‘housing justice.’ The thematic hosts will give short inputs and then facilitate discussions about the priorities for housing, migration, ending poverty, and resilience at the nexus of climate governance and action.
This event key objectives are to facilitate knowledge sharing and promote networking opportunities around the following question: How can cities promote resilient, low-carbon and just urbanisation in a context of increasing climate breakdown and inequality. In the coming years we will see a rapid paradigm shift in which responding to climate change will break from siloed governing agencies and budgets. The sectors concerned with poverty alleviation and socioeconomic development, housing, basic services and infrastructure, migration and displacement and others will increasingly need to account for the effects of a warming planet. This is an opportunity for decades of learnings from research on community-led development, sustainable development pathways, incremental housing, and refugee integration migration policy to inform and influence the conversation of climate urbanism, climate-resilience cities, and zero-carbon urban futures. Likewise, thematic specialists will need to align efforts with climate targets to ensure greener, sustainable cities for all.
This networking event also aims to launch the publication of an agenda-setting document by the Human Settlements Group of The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) focused on how the housing, poverty, migration and resilience agendas can inform and engage with global debates concerning urban sustainability and climate change. Together with civil society partners, researchers from IIED will present action-priorities across the fields of housing, forced migration, resilience, and poverty in the context of a rapidly warming planet. The event will provide a valuable space to debate these priorities across urban contexts, deepen collaborations and establish new connections between relevant governing, civil society and research actors.