27 July 2012 – Only 3 percent of Asian cities have a plan to tackle the challenge of climate change, a regional study of nearly 900 cities found. Surprisingly, of the 29 cities with climate change plans, only five are capital cities: Bangkok, Delhi, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo. Most plans were developed by cities in India, China and Vietnam.
The report, published by the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia) and the Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA) with support from GIZ, gives an insight into climate change priorities in urban policies, plans and investments of Asian cities to guide future decisions.
“There is a lot of work to be done, especially as Asia is home to half of the world’s population and more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change” said CAI-Asia’s Executive Director Sophie Punte.
Climate change plans pay equal attention to mitigation and adaptation although this is largely influenced by the national government or development agency that supported cities in developing these. Plans give priority to investments in energy supply and distribution (79%), buildings and water services (59%), planning, urban land use and transport (48%) and flood protection (41%).
Another significant finding is that climate change has not been embedded in other city plans, such as socio-economic plans, disaster risk management plans. Transport master plans for Indian cities are a notable exception. None of the plans give details on financial investments needed for urban infrastructure to protect cities from climate change.
Hajo Junge, Senior Urban Governance Specialist from CDIA expressed, “it is no surprise that we are facing a huge infrastructure deficit in Asian cities, at a time when critical investments are needed to make these sustainable and climate proof. Cities have an unfunded mandate to ensure proper public transport, energy and other infrastructure, yet the financial power lies with national agencies.”
The good news is that with 19 of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group cities already having such plans in place, more cities will likely follow suit. At the national level, 18 of 21 Asian countries surveyed have national climate change plans, and climate change is also more prevalent in national socioeconomic and other plans. “National government should lead cities to mainstream climate change across sector plans and policies and ensure integration with other local issues, such as air pollution” Sophie Punte added.
The study recommends developing plans based on city and national priorities, to improve access to financing from international financing institutions and climate funds, and for better coordination among development agencies, NGOs, and others. This is in line with the direction that the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank are taking.
Download or view the full report online at: http://cleanairinitiative.org/portal/node/8560