At first glance, “urban resilience” – the notion that a city can successfully withstand the pressures and trials of climate change – seems straightforward, but as always, the devil is in the details. Preparing a sprawling city for a host of disasters – many of them unpredictable – is a monumental but necessary task.
Much of Asia is already densely urbanized and becoming more so; the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) predicts that in the next quarter century, developing nations in Asia will see a 66% rise in urban populations.
The region plays host to several “mega-cities” – Jakarta, Bangkok, and Shanghai among them.
“There is every reason to believe that as the 21st century unfolds, the security story will be bound together by climate change… Climate change is a security issue because if we don’t deal with it, people will die and states will fail” – John Ashton, UK Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change
What is human security? This concept – raised last week with regard to natural disasters in Pakistan and elsewhere – is increasingly prevalent and yet still hazily defined. It is important to flesh out the details for two key reasons. First, human security will become increasingly necessary and prominent as climate change-related events become more frequent. Accordingly, states and international organizations will need a clear and precise definition if they are to enact policies. There is no reason why human security cannot follow the model of conventional security, where specific vulnerabilities are identified and funds allocated to address the shortcoming.
Reported by: Jon Ehrenfeld, Senior Writer
Edited by: Suzanne Kelly-Lyall, Deputy Director, PISA
A spate of summer natural disasters is keeping the link between climate-related events and human security front-page news across the globe. The catastrophic flooding in northern Pakistan that has killed, displaced, or otherwise affected a staggering 17 million people is only the most recent disaster in a season of climate-linked events. It follows hard on the heels of massive wildfires in Russia and devastating landslides in China’s Gansu province that have killed at least 1,239 people. Last week flooding in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province displaced villagers, shut down schools and municipal services and heavy rain threatened to shutdown Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.