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Tweets of the day


ICLEI Pres Cadman quotes: We have to do all that we can w/ all that we have in a place that we are 4 the time that we have ResilientCities

RT @unisdr: "No resilient business without resilient communities"@petergruetter - more insights from 

We still live in a world of case studies: WahlstromM challenges the audience to transform the cases into action ResilientCities

RT lorriefitz: We need resiliency to be reflected in the definition of green urban economy Resilientcities

Bigio of WorldBank: We cannot dissociate investing in urban resilience with investing in development. Resilientcities

Walter Ammann GRFDavos: Vision without action- A daydream. Action without vision - A nightmare. ResilientCities

RT cities_today: Ayfer Baykal, Envt Mayor Copenhagen, "Adaptation is expensive & it's not clear who will pay the bill" ResilientCities

"The twins in urban environment - risks and opportunities!" Walter Amman of Global Risk Forum Davos ResilientCities

RT alabaeye Copenhagen is telling the business that ResilientCities are a great market opportunity. Cities are customers for innovative solutions!

RT katrina_25: Violeta Seva: Weak governance influences all other risks ResilientCities

See more at 



Photos of the day!

Ayfer Baykal, Mayor for the Environment, City of Copenhagen, Denmark during the strategy panel: Changing Finance, Changing Institutions – Behaviour Change to Finance the Resilient City.
Emani Kumar, Executive Director, ICLEI South Asia Secretariat, New Delhi, India during the strategy panel: Changing Finance, Changing Institutions – Behaviour Change to Finance the Resilient City.
Marco Cardinaletti, Project Manager for Sustainable Development, Municipality of Ancona, Italy during Reality Check: Adaptation on the Ground, Ancona, Italy.
Walter Ammann, President, Global Risk Forum GRF Davos during the Urban Risk Forum at Resilient Cities 2012.
Monika Zimmermann, Director, Capacity Centre, ICLEI, World Secretariat, Bonn, Germany during the Linking resilience to a green urban economy session at Resilient Cities 2012.
Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Geneva, Switzerland and patron of Resilient Cities 2012 delivers the closing remarks during the Summary and Outlook Plenary.
Jürgen Nimptsch, Mayor, City of Bonn and Vice Chair, World Mayors Council on Climate Change delivers the closing remarks during the Summary and Outlook Plenary.


Compiled by Aarti Basnyat, Communications Assistant at ICLEI World Secretariat.



Watch some interviews shot at Resilient Cities!


Our media partner RTCC did some exciting and inspiring interviews at the congress.

Here is a snapshot of the interviews they've done. Visit for more.


ICLEI: What will the building of the future looking like?

ICLEI: What will the building of the future looking like?

Speaking at ICLEI Resilient Cities 2012, Jason Hartke from the US Green Building Council sets out his vision of the green building of the future and the pathways there.


UNICEF: We must teach urban kids how to deal with disasters

UNICEF: We must teach urban kids how to deal with disasters

Speaking at the ICLEI Resilient Cities Conference 2012, Antony Spalton from UNICEF spoke to RTCC about the role children play in reducing risks from disasters.


Resilient Cities 2012: How DHL plan to cut costs and emissions

Resilient Cities 2012: How DHL plan to cut costs and emissions

Martin Brown, Global Programme Director at DHL talks to RTCC about how better managing the flows into and around our cities – flows of energy, people and goods – could better protect them from shocks and cut carbon in the process.


Resilient Cities 2012: Taiwan’s biggest polluter eyes change

Resilient Cities 2012: Taiwan’s biggest polluter eyes change

Producing 22 million tonnes of CO2 annual the China Steel Corporation is Taiwan’s biggest polluting company. Timothy Tseng General Manager, Utilities Department at China Steel Corporation tells RTCC about why this major industry will have to adapt in the face of climate change.

Resilient Cities 2012: Barcelona’s climate challenge  [SPANISH]

Resilient Cities 2012: Barcelona’s climate challenge [SPANISH]

Manuel Valdes i Lopez, Infrastructure Director for the City of Barcelona talks to RTCC about the challenges Barcelona has faced from disasters to climate change and how the city is redesigning its infrastructure in order to provide a more joined up and resilient city when facing future threats.

Resilient Cities 2012: Barcelona’s climate challenge [ENGLISH]

Resilient Cities 2012: Barcelona’s climate challenge [ENGLISH]

Manuel Valdes i Lopez, Infrastructure Director for the City of Barcelona talks to RTCC about the challenges Barcelona has faced from disasters to climate change and how the city is redesigning its infrastructure in order to provide a more joined up and resilient city when facing future threats.

Resilient Cities 2012: Vital to include kids in climate planning

Resilient Cities 2012: Vital to include kids in climate planning

Half of urban populations are made up of children, with around 175 million expected to soon be impacted by disasters every year. Antony Spalton from UNICEF talks to RTCC about why it is so important we learn to engage with the children in cities, not only to protect those most vulnerable to climate change but to take advantage of the unique perspective children have when it comes to disasters.


Resilient Cities 2012: What will the house of 2050 look like?

Resilient Cities 2012: What will the house of 2050 look like?

Buildings are responsible for around 35% of the world’s energy use and similar percentage of carbon emissions. Jason Hartke, Director for Advocacy and Public Policy from the US Green Building Council talks to RTCC about his vision for green buildings and green cities for the future and the benefits for the wider economy.

Resilient Cities 2012: USA keen to learn from 3rd world

Resilient Cities 2012: USA keen to learn from 3rd world

Anthony Socci from the US Environmental Protection Agency Office of International and Tribal Affairs explains how they are learning adaptation techniques from developing states around the world.

Koahsiung: The Taiwan city aiming to turn steel mills green

Koahsiung: The Taiwan city aiming to turn steel mills green

Speaking to RTCC at the ICLEI Resilient Cities 2012 conference, Shyh-Fang Liu deputy mayor of Koahsiung in Taiwan talks about how the city is transforming itself with the environment in mind.

Resilient Cities 2012: How Cape Town is building for future

Resilient Cities 2012: How Cape Town is building for future

Poverty and climate change are inextricably linked. Wealthier regions are better equipped to deal with heavy rains, winds or drought. Cape Town’s head of disaster and risk management Greg Pillay tells RTCC how they are helping poorer neighbourhoods to cope with changing conditions.

Resilient Cities 2012: ICLEI chief hails global emissions deal

Resilient Cities 2012: ICLEI chief hails global emissions deal

On Monday 14 May 40 of the world’s largest cities signed a protocol that will see them collectively measure, verify and report emissions for the first time in history. ICLEI President David Cadman tells RTCC why this is such big news.

Resilient Cities 2012: Kaohsiung city on low-carbon miracle

Resilient Cities 2012: Kaohsiung city on low-carbon miracle
Fang Liu explains why they are leading an initiative to become an ‘Innovative Climate City’.






From Resilient Cities to Rio+20 to COP18


As the third Resilient Cities congress unfolded over the past three days, we noted the top themes reoccurring throughout the different sessions:  adaptation, risk, integrated systems approach, urban planning and resilience.  

Along the congress corridors, the message was heard loud and clear: Cities need to develop integrated urban solutions based on solid risk assessments. The implementation of these solutions depends on access to funds and attracting private investment at the local level, as well as ensuring people are part of the solutions. Read the press release 

This is also the message that we will be taking as we journey through Rio+20 in Brazil in June and UNFCCC COP18 in Qatar in November. Visit to stay informed. 

"Action, Action, Action!", ICLEI President David Cadman said as he challenged congress delegates to do all that they can in the place that they are for the time that they have. 

Report by Katrina Borromeo, Online Communications Officer at ICLEI World Secretariat. 



Advice on financing the resilient city


Robert Kehew, Unit Leader, Climate Change Planning Unit, UN-Habitat, Nairobi, Kenya

The adaptation finances going to urban areas is very low. There is a mismatch between access to finances for cities to be resilient and what is needed.

David Wilk, Lead Climate Change Specialist, Climate Change and Sustainability Division, IDB, Washington, USA

With a focus on the Latin American region there are many emerging and sustainable cities projects which are in great need of support and assistance. We need to do an analysis of vulnerability, GHG emissions towards development and focus on the finances side. Leveraging and combining resources is the most important aspect to making a project feasible.

Marcela Tarazona, Senior Consultant/Research Associate, Oxford Policy Management/ University of East Anglia, London, UK

Combining public financing and market-based instruments to improve climate resilience: Best practices in Latin American Cities
There is a need for combining public financing and market based instruments to improve climate resilience.

Cities are strategically important because they occupy 1.5% of the worlds area but produce half of the worlds GDP. In the Latin American and Caribbean area 75% of population is in cities but they are not receiving sufficient access to climate finance. It is essential to help cities understand where to get this access.

There is a need for an integrated approach to climate change. We need projects that combine different sources of funding. The important sources are:

  • National Sources
  • Increasing Private investments and Public- Private Partnerships (PPPs)
  • International Finances such as CDM, Climate Investment Fund, UNFCCC GEF administered special funds and Adaptation Fund. (Though national governments are the recipients of these funds it can be used to benefit cities too)
  • Multilateral and bilateral development banks such as IADB, World Bank and CAF


  • These finances are not accessible to cities but cities should find a way to work with national governments to access these funds.
  • There are limited awareness of the existence of these funds and its components
  • There is a long implementation period
  • Difficulty in complying with the Monitoring, Reporting and Verifying


  • Finances tends to move towards cities that are better managed and provide more comprehensive and consistent information to the public
  • Have a climate change action plan. There needs to be climate resilient development goals. These goals should be developed so that they complement with other sector planning documents and can combine resources.
  • Create an enabling financial environment so that cities can access finances
  • Cities should be recognized as important potential partners and implementers of climate resilient projects in NAPAS and NAMAS.

Verena Streiferdt, Consultant, Cities Development Initiative for Asia
Financing climate change adaptation: options for Asian cities and the role of third-party brokers
Asia’s economic growth is predominantly urban based but there is a huge investment gap. There is a need especially to finance medium sized cities which according to CDIA is a city with a population from 250,000 to 5 million.
It is necessary to go via national governments to gain access to these funds. Currently only 2 out of 14 international funds are accessible to cities.


  • Prepare proposals that address the issues of climate resilient cities.
  • To access private capital is it necessary to improve credit worthiness
  • Engage with NGOs and National and international technical assistance agencies
  • Start with small projects NOW to create and increase visibility.


Report by Aarti Basnyat, Communications Assistant at ICLEI World Secretariat.




Speakers corner: What will be your first action(s) when returning from the conference?


Mehmet Aksözen, Switzerland, Research Associate, ETH Institute for Conversation and Building Research: In the presentations here I have heard about scientists dealing with the same methodological challenges as me. Back home I will look for their papers to get further inspiration for the methodology of my work on modelling building stocks.
Suzanne Mulvehill, USA, Elected Official – Commissioner, City of Lake Worth: I will organize all the information that I have collected at the conference to then start preparing a presentation to inform my colleagues but also the public in my city about the ideas around resilience. And I would like our city to join the ISDR „Making Cities Resilient“ campaign, so I will propose that to my colleagues!
Anthony Socci, USA, Senior Advisor on Climate & Energy, U.S. EPA Office of Intl. & Tribal Affairs: ...”Apart from sleeping?” I will first gather my thoughts about what all has happened during the conference.


Interviews by Manuela Helmecke. 



Cities AT risk versus cities AS a risk


Konrad Otto-Zimmermann opened the forum on Urban Risk by asking the audience, „What are your risks?“

The spectrum of risks, as listed by the audience, ranges from improper waste management, lack of accountability for leaders, financial crisis, rising sea levels, extreme weathers events, to mismanaged urbanization.

 ‘Cities as a risk’ is spotlighted in the recent World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2012 which identified mismanaged urbanization as one of the environmental man-made risks in the global risk landscape 2012. However, the themes “cities at risk” and “cities as a risk” are not receiving enough attention and action.

Cities have the capacity to reduce risk and build resilience. The key to making cities resilient involves multiple actions including creating a global framework for resilience and embarking on an integrated systems approach to urban planning.

Margareta Wahlstrom, UNISDR head, reminds the city planners however to involve communities and different stakeholders. “Focus on people’s reaction to risk”. It is the people who bounce back. Not buildings – it is the society”.

Violeta Seva, Adviser to Makati City, added  “Understanding and communicating risks to decision makers and community should be the priority by effectively cascading the knowledge and tools.”  

“We still live in a world of case of case studies.”, said Wahlstrom.  It is now time to transform the cases into action, she added alongside a challenge to use the tools and knowledge available to help cities and local communities build resilience to climate change.

Report by Katrina Borromeo, Online Communications Officer at ICLEI World Secretariat.





Voices from the corridors: What has been the best/ most valuable for you at this conference?



Catarina Freitas, Portugal, Head Sustainable Environmental Management & Planning, Municipality of Almada. The congress has shown that „we are not alone in the world“ in dealing with strategic urban planning. In the working environment of our local government we often experience different levels of knowledge and understanding which make it difficult to develop strategies. Therefore it was great to be at this congress with people sharing the same thoughts and understanding. And as last year, we have again received valuable inspiration from the Resilient cities congress that we will include in our work at home.
Peter Heiberg, Denmark, Project Manager, City of Copenhagen. I especially enjoyed the session B3 dealing with effective integrated adaptation approaches and talking about how urban systems need to be integrated.. Hearing about the critical role of logistics – as common logistics as well as looking at logistic from the socio-technological perspective – has been highly valuable to me.
Eva Nemcova, Rossana Poblet, Eva-Maria Stump, Germany, Research Assistants, Stuttgart University. Eva: I enjoyed the wide variety of topics and the good mixture of people. I think the resulting interaction between sciences, practice and the private sector is quite unique. Rossana: I appreciate this opportunity to meet and discuss with a lot of interesting people. Eva-Maria: This conference gives a very good and compact overview of the state-of-knowledge related to resilience. As it is an interdisciplinary and rather new field the conference is a great chance to get access to a high level of knowledge which is otherwise scattered in different journals and thus more difficult to obtain. I hope this high level will be maintained in the future and will be further complemented by more emphasis on methodologies and actual strategies that can be followed on the way towards resilience.


Interviews by Manuela Helmecke. 



Changing finance, changing institutions


Taking off from last years debate on financing the resilient city, the panel in today's opening session discussed the track institutions are on in terms of changing behavior from a top-down to a bottom-up approach to financing. 

Ayfer Baykal, Copenhagen's Mayor for the Environment, Manfred Konukiewitz of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), David Jackson of United Nations Capital Development Fund, Daniel Wiener of the Global Energy Basel Foundation, Anthony Bigio of the World Bank and Emani Kumar of ICLEI South Asia shared issues and strategies to securing climate finance.

Two main points came out of the debate. One, the issue of shortfalls in climate financing is not due to a lack of funding institutions. Matchmaking business and cities is often a problem that can be addressed by mainstreaming resilience and bundling themes (food systems, infrastructures, resilience...) into an integrated project. 

Two, a behavior change of the financing institution needs to happen in order to make the innovative bottom up-city driven approach to finance urban resilience projects a reality (see Financing the Resilient City Global report [4 page summary, pdf] [full report, pdf]).

Report by Katrina Borromeo, Online Communications officer at ICLEI World Secretariat







Tweets of the day


Chawla: Buildings play an important role in what cities look like. They have 2 change–fr consuming to producing-"prosuming"

Katarina Freitas: logistics is a no-man's-land in the context of urban planning.

David Dodman: Community based adaptation @ urban level needs to take into account interdependency b/w urban and rural

: Resilience isn't just about infrastructure, also about changing people's behaviors & forging alliances

Climate science is overrated. Emphasis also needs to be put on urban development, growth &infrastructure

See more at




Photos of the day!


Martin Brown, DHL, at the Resilient Urban Logistics Forum
Margareta Wahlström presents the launch of the UNISDR Handbook for Local Government Leaders: How to Make Cities More Resilient
(Left to Right) David Cadman, President of ICLEI, Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, and Jürgen Nimptsch, Mayor, City of Bonn launch the UNISDR handbook.
Participants during the Young Urban Researchers Forum.
Sarah Goettlicher, expert, City Logistics, Deutsche Post DHL, Germany presenting during the active participant workshop on the Resilient Urban Logistics Forum called “Breaking new ground: Creating a road map for resilient urban logistics”


Compiled by Aarti Basnyat, Communications Assistant at ICLEI World Secretariat.





Speakers' corners: How does your institution secure funding for resilience?


Chih-Ming Kao, Chinese Taipei, Professor, Institute of Environmental Engineering, National Sun Yet-Sen University. In Taiwan the city government has set up an adaptation fund for climate adaptation, mitigation and resilience. The major part of the fund is intended to be used by the private sector to enable enterprises to address climate change concerns. Thus enterprises can apply to the city government to receive subsidies from the adaptation fund. Additionally the fund also provides some finances for research related to resilience.
Nora Smedby, Sweden, Research Associate/PhD candidate, IIIEE at Lund University. We mostly use ordinary research funding that is provided at the national or EU level. It appears that a focus on resilience does not make the access to funds easier while an emphasis on urban research appears to facilitate gaining finances.
Sunandan Tiwari, India, Programme Coordinator (Sustainability), ICLEI South Asia Secretariat. I believe that the initial project process, meaning the planning and preparation, is critical to receive funding. To access finances we first look at the cities' internal resources, e.g. for housing projects, to explore the scope to link these to projects related to resilience.




Interviews by Manuela Helmecke.



Kaohsiung: An innovative, climate-friendly city


Participants have had the chance to hear different perspectives from the municipality of Kaohsiung throughout the congress.  Delegates from the city presented short presentations Monday evening about the different initiatives in the town, including conserving and designing wetland areas, turning old refineries into eco-parks and education centres, the city’s bicycle rental system, innovations in the city’s water system, and how the steel business is working towards its own and the city’s sustainability goals. 

The array of initiatives was impressive, but even more so was the enthusiasm of the delegation which included Kaohsiung’s deputy mayor, different municipal departments, academics, representatives from private businesses, and NGO representatives. It was clear from Kaohsiung that strong leadership, open collaboration, enthusiasm and trust really do make ambitious actions possible!

Jessika Richter, Master’s candidate at IIIEE Lund University, Sweden. Interested in climate change mitigation policies at the local and national level.



Matchmaking partnerships between cities and investors


A session this afternoon looked at different ways of bridging the gap between cities and investors to form long term relationships. There is a lot of money available for climate action, but it’s not easy for cities to access it.  This session explored some of the strategies, tools, and supporting organizations that can help this happen.

Tools and approaches mentioned included the new Global Protocol for Community-scale greenhouse gas emissions (the GPC – released today!), the carbonn Cities Climate Registry, public private partnerships, and carbon financing in general.

These tools and approaches help cities to be transparent and clear about their climate goals and actions and subsequently attract investment. Organizations like the Kyoto Club and the Gold Standard benchmarking certification scheme can enhance synergies and trust between cities and investors. 

Now work is being done to upscale efforts in this area.   The session ended with an inspiring look at the work done on the carbon-based adaptation fee in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. 

Following the last Monday session, the municipality of Kaohsiung hosted a social event showing the congress attendees more about their beautiful city, food and culture.



The height of innovation


 There has been a lot of talk at this congress about the need for collaboration with business to foster innovation that leads to real change in cities.  At the congress this year is one of the best examples of a company doing just this.

Magnus Hjelmare, the Global Brand Director of Plantagon International AB based in Stockholm, Sweden talked about the vertical greenhouses in the Urban Agriculture session as well as the poster sessions. The company is backed by investors with a truly long term view to returns, but even in the short term the company is gaining attention (and multiple awards for their sustainability initiatives).

The Plantagon vertical greenhouse changes the way we produce ecological food by eliminating transportation and delivering it directly to urban consumers. The vertical construction fits well with urban infrastructure and increases the cultivatable area ratio to ground footprint dramatically.  Any type of plant could be grown in the greenhouse, however, currently Pak Choi, Mizuna, and Chrysanthemum are being trialed because of their rapid growth, high nutritional value, and because Asian cities are seen as the best potential market for this greenhouse. 

The greenhouse can work in symbiosis with urban infrastructure.  For example in Plantagen’s greenhouse in Linköping (currently being constructed), waste CO2, fertiliser, and waste heat from a biogas facility will be used in the greenhouse.  Organic waste from the greenhouse will in turn be used by the biogas digester, thus closing loops.

Plantagon plans on returning to future ICLEI Congresses ready to work with partners on developing even more innovative and inspiring ideas for improving city resilience. (illustration source: Sweco)

Report by Jessika Richter, Master’s candidate at IIIEE Lund University, Sweden. Interested in climate change mitigation policies at the local and national level.




Making low-carbon, sustainable cities resilient


This session surveyed a variety of strategies implemented on the ground in cities, aimed at achieving low-carbon and urban sustainability. The speakers presented examples for initiatives in the building, electricity generation, and transport sectors, and examined their progress.

One of the main challenges cities face are conflicting demands for meeting constantly growing infrastructure (energy, transportation, housing, etc), and on the other demands for reducing consumption and emissions.

Kanika Chawla, Junior Policy Advisor, REN21, Paris, France
, surveyed some policies that cities can adopt. In the energy sector, cities can influence their electricity grid – either plan their energy grids, repurchase their grid, or negotiate with the grid owners to make it more efficient. In addition, buildings will have to make a change said Chawla – from consuming to producing  - "prosuming".

It is also important to engage the citizens to monitor their behaviour and consume correctly. In the field of transportation, cities can promote public transport, green their fleet, develop an electric vehicle system, promote solar roofs on cars and charging stations.

Florian Rapp, Researcher, European Institute for Energy Research, Germany analyzed concepts from 30 cities dealing with sustainability issues. His analysis suggested that useful urban concepts tackle the city as a whole; consider a variety of criteria; influence municipal planning and policies; are linked with management; and utilize city networks.

Annemie Wyckmans, Associate Professor, NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
, presented the case of the city of Brøset in Norway, which takes part in the programme "cities of the future", dealing with several key issues: infrastructure & transportation, land-use & energy, waste and consumption, and climate adaptation. Wyckmans described the many challenges that cities face in promoting sustainability policies – basically, people are concerned about maintaining their quality of life – they believe that they need more cars, more space etc.

Therefore the key to planning resiliency is making sustainability attractive - more healthy, more secure and more comfortable. She suggested that in order to get the public on board, the city must allow the citizens to be environmentally friendly, without having to make a special effort. Furthermore, she suggested that these policies must be robust – effective in the long-term, adaptive – to the changing needs of society, and diverse.

Daniele Vettorato, Senior Researcher – a group leader in EURAC Bolanzo, Italy,
presented the case of Bolzano, an Alpine city in Italy. The city used methods for measuring CO2 emissions and introduced actions for their reduction. The speaker's main finding was the importance of translating energy reduction into economic saving and social investment.

The session was coordinated by Ruud Kempener, Analyst, Innovation and Technology Center in Bonn – IITC, International Renewable Energy Agency – IRENA, Germany.

Report by Maya Crabtee.  Deputy Executive Director of Life and Environment, Jerusalem, Israel. Interested in political aspects of promoting resiliency in cities. Visit her blog at:




Practical changes from the bottom-up


Sunandan Tiwari, Program Coordinator, ICLEI South Asia Secretariat in New Delhi, India looked at the differences between observed and perceived weather changes in India and the Philippines, finding that they don’t always match. More about this project here:  

David Dodman of the IIED shared his reflections on community-based adaptation (CBA) to Climate Change.  While it has shown limits in the way it has been practised thus far, CBA has the potential to build adaptive capacity, to address collective consumption goals, and as a basis for negotiating with other local and national levels. Addressing local issues only make sense if linked to broader levels.  Building trust process is very important for bridging gaps between different actors.

Priscilla Roswell of ICLEI Africa Secretariat showcased work in the communities of Mamre (Cape Town) and Maputo, on issues of housing energy efficiency and flood resilience respectively. ICLEI partnered with the communities to assess what the impacts and benefits of resilience interventions.  

Anthony Spalton, of UNICEF, spoke about the role of children in disaster risk reduction. Children are part of a holistic perspective of risk – they can analyse and communicate risks as well as mobilize action and resources. He spoke about some of the UNICEF projects around the world helping children have safer schools and participate in disaster risk reduction planning.  

Jens Hoff of University of Copenhagen and Merete Vlabak of the Municipality of Kolding spoke about the CIDEA project in Denmark. The project is currently building an online toolbox of examples including of community based projects descriptions. Each project presents key actors, a SWOT analysis for considering implementations, case studies of communities where the project has been implemented, and an outline of the resources needed before, during and after each project.

Jessika Richter, Master’s candidate at IIIEE Lund University, Sweden. Interested in climate change mitigation policies at the local and national level.




THEME in FOCUS: Integrating urban logistics with resilient planning


The opening panel for the Deutsche Post DHL Resilient Urban Logistics Forum discussed the important role of logistics in urbanization and resilience. The logistics sector is often overlooked in terms of its impact on the environment, and as a result also in terms of its potential contribution to sustainability.

As globalization increases, less of the consumption is local and we rely on transportation of goods. The need to deliver products on time to every part of the city is a logistical challenge, that entails significant environmental impacts, most significantly air pollution and noise.

The speakers demonstrated how by adopting an optimizing sustainability approach it is possible to significant reduce these impacts. For example, the speakers from DHL described how establishing a freight centre near one of the airports enabled to raise the truck-load and combine different goods which need to get to close venues.  

Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, the Secretary General of ICLEI, who facilitated the session emphasized that with time, the constraints on providing products to cities will increase, particularly in the field of food, and it will therefore become more important to build resilience.

One of the main challenges that was highlighted by most of the speakers is the lack of coordination between municipalities and logistics companies.

Catarina Freitas, Head of Department, City Council of Almada, Portugal , said that logistics is a no-man's-land in the context of urban planning. She explained that the cities traditionally deals with issues, such as the time for loading and uploading goods, but do not engage in the wider aspects of logistics and its impact on the city.

M. Pınar Mengüç, Director of Center for Energy, Environment and Economy of Özyegin University, Istanbul,  said that the number one drive for logistics is people. He suggested that the problem was not the population itself but the increase in population and the need to address constantly changing needs and requirements.

Katharina Tomoff, Vice President of GoGreen, Deutsche Post DH , Germany said that the goal of logistics was to improve the quality of life.  Martin Brown, Programme Director, CityLogistics, Deutsche Post DHL, Bonn, Germany, added that  logistics is about making it easier to do business. He suggested that the challenge for logistics is to control and decongest the move of goods and services in conformation with the local needs. He stressed the need for a change of paradigm – integrating the last meter logistics, and even making it eco-mobile.

Otto-Zimmerman pointed out that while liberalization complies with the EU idea of competition and free market, we have to consider its impact on the environment - for example in the field of the postal service – it is better to have one truck full of parcels belonging to one company than several half empty trucks belonging to several competing companies.

Fraitas added that Globalization has reduced local production significantly, and resulted in multiple and complex transport chains, which cannot be environmentally sound. It seems that one of the challenges of logistics is to decentralize production.

Report by Maya Crabtee. Maya is the Deputy Executive Director of Life and Environment in Jerusalem, Israel. She is interested in political aspects of promoting resiliency in cities.





Communicating climate adaptation - the missing link


When you change the environment, those within it has to adapt  - or they disappear (Pavan Sukhdev). 

For a coastal city such as Sorsogon, a low-lying, low-income, middle-sized city in the Philippines, the risks brought about by the changing climate are alarming. More than 20 typhoons hit Sorsogon every year - some of which are strong enough to devastate its economy. Imagine if these typhoons were to get stronger and more frequent.   

"Climate change is something that the people of Sorsogon have to deal with everyday," says HUDCC Assistant Secretary Felix William Fuentabella.  "But there is very little awareness on what the risks are and how to deal with these risks". 

Fuentabella admitted that communicating risks is crucial in helping people adapt to climate change. When communicating risks, he advices local governments to:

First, understand the risks

Crafting the message is difficult if cities, themselves, do not understand what the risks are.  With the help of UN-HABITAT, the city of Sorsogon conducted studies on vulnerability and risk assessment. Based on the study, the city will have more rain and will get hotter throughout the year, exposing 36% of its population, including 22,000 women, to multiple risks.  

Second, involve the community

Vulnerability and risk scenarios are not purely scientific. What sets Sorsogon's local climate action plan apart is that it taps on local knowledge and involves local communities, especially the urban poor who are most affected by extreme weather events.

Think about this. The community is your audience. They are the ones whom you want to reach with your message. When you involve the community in assessing risks and coming up with a plan to tackle risks, you turn your audience into channels who will act as multipliers. You can almost be sure that Mr. A will  tell Mr. B and C about your messages, and then your message spreads.  

Third, address the basic needs

Everyone shares the same basic needs - the need for water, food, a safe place to live. Messages that capture these basic needs are better understood. "As a politician, I do not approach climate change by telling people to plant more trees. I approach it by addressing how the changing climate could affect their basic needs. That makes it a lot easier to communicate," he says. 

And lastly, do not lecture, but DO! 

"The difference between Al Gore and Joey Salceda (Chair of the Climate Change Adaptation Council in the Philippines) is that Al Gore lectures, Joey Salceda implements.", explains Fuentabella. He recounted that when the tsunami in Japan was happening, Joey Salceda immediately gathered local governments to train them on how to respond when the tsunami hits the Philippine coasts. 

Capacity building comprises an important factor in communicating risks. These skills become handy in responding to disasters and extreme weather events. "Additionally, local officials' presence during disasters - evacuating people from high risk areas, providing them with temporary shelter and food, announcing instructions on the local radio - this is what is etched in the minds of the people. These are the messages that they do not forget, " says Fuentabella.   

Oftentimes, we have all the tools and knowledge, but these do not reach the people who need them most. And most of the time, communications is the missing link. By paying heed to the tips above, cities can effectively send the messages across, widely benefiting the communities at risk.  

Report by Katrina Borromeo, Online Communications Officer at ICLEI World Secretariat. 




Voices from the corridors: what is your contribution to resilience?


Daphna Beerdsen, The Netherlands, Consultant, UNESCAP. I contribute to resilience with my involvement in the preparation of the 'quick guide on climate change adaptation and resilience for urban port communities' in collaboration with UN Habitat and the Rockefeller Foundation. I came to the congress to hear about good examples from practice.
Stelios Grafakos, The Netherlands, Academic Staff, Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Rotterdam As an academic institution we can build the bridge between science, policy making and implementation for resilience. We provide the scientific knowledge and make it more precise so that it can be translated to action plans.
Andreas Koler, Austria, Chief Risk Analyst, alpS-Centre for Climate Change Adaptation Technology. We can provide assistance and support to municipalities striving for resilience in a real bottom-up approach. We can assist with everything that might be lacking in the municipalities as for example technological solutions, experience or specific know-how. So we bring in these capacities and link them to the ambitions of the municipalities.





Interviews by Manuela Helmecke.



Building bridges, building innovation, building cities


Building capacity and sharing knowledge within cities and regions requires a collaboration of different stakeholders across society. The approaches described this morning built bridges between students, experts, businesses, local governments, and communities.

Kes McCormick, Assistant Professor at Lund University in Sweden reflected on the considerable breakdown between what we know (and what we say) and what we do.  He described the Urban Transition Project in the Öresund Region (southern Sweden and eastern Denmark) moving towards sustainability, getting all the stakeholders in one room, and starting to open up research for surprises!

One way of doing this is through living labs. Such a lab in Portugal was described by Helena Farrall and Livia Tirone. The Sustainable Construction Lab seeks to mainstream sustainability in construction by engaging relevant stakeholders and working on practical applications of materials within building systems. Innovative ideas are also found from collaboration with university students. 

Johannes Dietrich of TU Berlin/ ZEWK-kubus, Germany described projects to engage university students, including constructing bicycles from only sustainable resources, backyard greening and blue engineering. The projects collaborate with local industries and involve students in the design.







Tweets of the day


Konrad Otto-Zimmermann We should not only look at cities AT risk but also cities AS a risk

RT @cities_today: #ResilientCities "City vulnerability is more important than the degree or severity of climate change disasters" - Joern of IPCC

If you're building in the wrong places, you can't be a green building: Hartke 

#MIT report: Securing funding for adaptation work is a major challenge for 85% of cities worldwide #ResilientCities

If #NYC had the same population density as #Dhaka it would hold the entire population of the USA and Mexico. Urban sustainability is a must!

We’re focusing on food security so here this is some food 4 thought - Zelaya-Bonilla of @UNCCD #ResilientCities

Insect farming at part of ? Yes! How? Cricket Reactors.

See more at





Photos of the Day!

Speakers at Resilient Cities 2012 meet and greet before the opening plenary. (Left to Right: David Cadman, former Councilor, City of Vancouver, Canada and ICLEI President, Jürgen Nimptsch, Mayor, City of Bonn; Vice Chair, World Mayors Council on Climate Change (WMCCC), Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, Secretary General, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, Bonn, Germany.
David Cadman, former Councilor, City of Vancouver, Canada and ICLEI President chats with participants after the opening plenary of Resilient Cities 2012.
Robert Kehew, Unit Leader, Climate Change Planning Unit, UN-Habitat, Nairobi, Kenya faciliates the lively discussion on 'Multi-level governance : National-local policy dialogue on urban adaptation.'
Burkhard von Rabenau, Senior Urban and Regional Development Expert emphasizes a point while speaking at the 'Opportunities and limits of urban vulnerability assessments: The experience in Da Nang, Vietnam' panel discussion.


 Compiled by Aarti Basnyat, Communications Assistant at ICLEI World Secretariat.



Speakers corner - what are your city's experiences in dealing with climate adaptation?




Ibidun Adelekan, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Geography, University of Ibadan:

The climatic changes that we are expecting and partly already experiencing in Ibadan are heavier precipitation, floods and stronger winds. The latter, although only a "little" hazard, is of significance because of Ibadan being an old city with old housing structures which are thus highly vulnerable.

Despite a major flood in the 1980s we do not yet have a flood risk map - showing that there is a need for further action. Most importantly we need to link scientific knowledge on climate change with policy making to change planning accordingly. Only then we can establish measures for the population. 

Thus the first priority to promote climate adaption is to link scientific knowledge and policy making!


Jon Padgham, USA, program director, START: The climatic changes that we are expecting and partly already experiencing I am more aware about climate change adaptation in our partner cities in Africa. Speaking about my city of Washington DC I am aware that there are efforts in Chesepeak Bay to look at future sea level rise and flooding. Respective assessments have been made and now the focus is on trying to communicate the area's vulnerability to the affected stakeholders. Comparing my experience in Africa with the one in the States, I have the impression that there is higher personal awareness about climatic changes or climatic variability in African cities.


Surprise Zwane, South Africa, Deputy Director, Local Government Planning, South African National Department of Environmental Affairs: Answering the question from the perspective of the national government, it is important to refer to the 'Green paper' on climate change that deals with both climate mitigation and adaptation while bringing together the different governmental spheres from local to national governance. Looking at my city Tswane (Pretoria) the focus of climate adaptation is on energy efficiency with respective plans being prepared.



Interviews by Manuela Helmecke.




La Paz, Mexico : Not all is difficult in the desert!



La Paz, Mexico is a focal city for the IDB’s Emerging and Sustainable City Platform.  IDB believes that it can assist La Paz by bringing investment funds fast after it has collected data, analysed risks and responses and designed projects. La Paz has good information and research institutions, a new generation of politicians bringing new impetus, and a dynamic private sector who will view La Paz as good investment prospect.

Find out more about what other cities can learn from La Paz



Food and agriculture in the city


Urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) has good potential to strengthen urban food systems and provide important environmental services that aid efforts to plan greener cities. However, UPA faces significant risks associated with urban encroachment, soil and water degradation, biological and chemical contamination, and climate change. This session explored different dimensions of UPA including: climate change and urban encroachment risks to UPA (in Ibadan, Nigeria and Dhaka, Bangladesh); the contribution of UPA to greening infrastructure (in Casablanca); and insect farming!

Why insects as food?  According to Jakub Dzamba (PhD student at McGill University), the first reason is that they don’t compete with us for food sources but rather eat grass and algae. By contrast, cows need 25 tons of food for every ton they produce. That equates to 90000 sq. metres of land that is needed versus 4500 sq. meters for insects.

Moreover, insects are cold-blooded so they are much more efficient at turning food into energy.  The idea is to have these farms in people’s houses. How? Cricket reactors! In his presentation, Jakob explained how these work and also how he is working with a professional chef to make the idea more palatable (at a festival event they ran out of the 10,000 cricket hors d'oeuvres they prepared, with people coming back for seconds!). You can watch a fascinating video about this idea here.  




Voices from the corridors: What are your expectations for this years congress?

Budi Krysyanto, Indonesia, Head of the Environment Agency, City of Probolinggo. Bonn is a good place to attend and learn how to increase cities’ resilience and how to adapt to climate change. The congress is a forum that can provide knowledge which can then be replicated in my own city of Probolinggo.
Laurence Thiebart, France, Director of Halle aux Sucres, Greater Dunkirk District Council. I am here because of our project in France where we will be opening a new learning centre on sustainable cities in Northern France in 2014. I am still new in this field and network and am interested to become more aware of the main challenges in the field. I hope to establish my own network and meet people. For our district resilience is a very important theme as we are located at the coast and facing different risks we need to address.
Magnus Qvant, Sweden, Secretary General, Training Regions. It’s the first time we are attending the congress and it’s a lot about benchmarking – seeing who is here and in which way the participants are talking about resilience and adaptation. Another expectation is to do networking and to meet new people.
Elisabeth Suessbauer, Germany, PhD student, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research. My expectation is to gain insight in the practice and planning of climate adaptation and resilience in cities. I would especially like to hear how ‘resilience’ is implemented as it sometimes appears to be used as a ‘buzz word’.


Interviews by Manuela Helmecke.



How to build a resilient city


Cities are at risk when buildings are not safe. Resilient buildings are therefore essential elements of a resilient city.

At the session Resilient Building and Construction, the panel composed of Jason Hartke, Vice President of National Policy, US Green Building Council, Washington, USA. Khoo Teng Chye, Executive Director, Centre for Livable Cities, Singapore and Jane Henley, CEO, World Green Building Council argued that resilient buildings need to be integrated in adaptation planning.


What is a resilient building? The session in tweets…

Smart buildings, sustainable buildings, intelligent buildings, green buildings, resilient buildings – we need uniform name ResilientCities

A tool is just a tool - you've got to have people! Hartke on the importance of involving communities ResilientCities

If you're building in the wrong places, you can't be a green building: Hartke ResilientCities

Where does the demand 4 Resilient buildings come fr? Jane Henley says that govs, insurance & CSR could push the demand ResilientCities

Business sector plays an impt role - technical solutions on resilient buildings come fr the private sector ResilientCities

Collaboration between local, regional, central & private enterprise is crucial to get the right policies in place ResilientCities

Who decides what technologies for resilient buildings shall we use? #resilientcities

Climate resilience is an opportunity to prepare 4 the future & to enhance & sustain performance ResilientCities

When you integrate risk in resilient buildings, then it has market value. Only then can you make the business case ResilientCities

When you build a building, you look backwards - but Resilience is about looking forward ResilientCities

There is a huge gap between policy and implementation reiterates Jane Henley of @WorldGBC ResilientCities

Are local governments aware of the issues of building resilience and stability? ICLEI_SG asks the panel ResilientCities

Session on resilient building: Cities are at risk when buildings are not safe - resilient buildings are thus essential to resilientcities

Compiled by Katrina Borromeo, Online Communications Officer at ICLEI World Secretariat




When national meets local - the challenges of multi-level governance


We have heard a lot today that local governments have a huge role to play in adapting to climate change. However, even when they enjoy high levels of autonomy, local governments still work within different levels of governance.

What is multi-level governance? Broadly speaking, the modes of multi-level governance include governing by authority, governing through enabling and governing by provision).

Assistant Secretary Felix Fuentabella of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Philippines presents the case for localization of planning adaptation strategies. Not only does this bring about the desired results, but it also builds capacity of local authorities in adapting to climate change.

Fuentabella also stressed the importance of involving all communities including the urban poor. "This is challenging as there as some cases where you see local government units versus the urban poor. You see that on the television, when we have demolitions, you see the people hitting each other," he said.

This is why we need to address community design. The physical plans must come first before the government money comes in. Anti-poverty programs must have a clear direction to be successful, and to be accepted by different level of governance.

Surprise Zwane, Deputy Director of Local Government Planning, South African National Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa argued that although funding is important, but it is not always the biggest challenge. The South Africa case proved that fiscal incentives, rewards and indicators can drastically improve environmental management.  

Where do the different adaptation design come together? Jiyoung Shin, Researcher, Korea Adaptation Center for Climate Change, Korea Environment Institute, Seoul, South Korea believed that the support of national government to local government adaptation planning in Korea is crucial.

"Awareness about adaptation planning is low in local governments. Mainstreaming adaptation is thus necessary.", she closed. 

Report by Katrina Borromeo, Online Communications Officer at ICLEI World Secretariat. 




Congress audience gets a sneak preview of online tools!


In the first break out session of the Congress today, the audience to the session “Choosing the right Adaptation Assessment Method” were treated to sneak previews of new tools that will be released in the next few months, including the Adaptation Navigator developed by VCCCAR in Australia and ICLEI Canada’s Adaptation Tool.

The Adaptation Navigator is an interactive online tool that allows users to visually explore the most important aspects in the process of adaptation planning.  It will be launched at the end of June, has a number of applications including for education about adaptation, for tracking process.  More about ICLEI Canada’s online municipal Adaptation Tool is available here:

In addition to these new tools being introduced, tools already in use, like the Israeli sustainable city index that the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership uses to rank cities by sustainable indicators and the STAR Community Index (STAR), a national sustainability framework in the USA.

The session explored how there are many tools available to cities, but it’s not one size fits all and municipalities face the challenge of choosing the right tool.   The session also explored how different adaptation assessment methodologies deal with challenges and ended with a discussion about the process of dealing with complexities in this area.


Report by Jessika Richter, Master’s candidate at IIIEE Lund University, Sweden. Interested in climate change mitigation policies at the local and national level.




Resilient Cities opens today!



This morning, over 400 participants gathered for the first plenary session of the Resilient Cities 2012 Conference.  For most, this is the first year that they are attending the ICLEI annual congress.

ICLEI President, David Cadman officially opened the plenary session.  The issues being discussed at the congress grows in importance every year, with incidents related to climate change increasing every year. The implication of what is done at the city level is very profound but it is very hard to anticipate the consequences of what is coming. There is much we can learn and apply to these challenges here at this conference.

The Mayor of the City of Bonn, Jürgen Nimptsch, welcomed the conference to the city.  He explained why Bonn is a good place for a conference addressing climate change and resilient cities based on the city’s own successful experiences in this area.

Peter Müller from the German Parliament, congratulated ICLEI on its efforts thus far and also welcomed the conference to Bonn.  He emphasized that urban areas have a particular responsibility with resource efficiency and play a key role. 

Helena Molin Valdés further stressed why this congress is so important: we need a vision for the future, and that is why we are here. The UNISDR is also planning to create a bottom-up post-2015 resilience strategy.

Joern Birkmann, Lead Author of Working Group I and II for the IPCC and Head of Section, Vulnerability Assessment, Risk management and Adaptive Planning at the United National University – Institute for Environment and Human Security, spoke about the special report: Managing the risks of Extreme Evens and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) (available at 

The report addresses such questions like what management options are available and why the local level is essential.  Dr. Birkmann also spoke about the interesting discussions that go on behind the reports such as those around what are extreme events, what is vulnerability, what should the focus be?  The report presents a framework showing that increased disaster risk is related to increased vulnerability, exposure, and the severity and frequency of climate events.  Developing of management and adaption capacities are part of addressing this.

Dr. JoAnn Carmin, Associate Professor of Environmental Policy and Planning at MIT spoke about adaptation as a unique policy domain.  It involves cities not waiting to take action and creates a unique scenario of stepping into an institutional void, so there is much to be learned. 

To this end, a survey was conducted of ICLEI member communities worldwide.  A summary report of results is being released today.  Interesting findings of the survey included the importance of local governments, the influence of the public and availability of funding, the critical partnerships with universities, and lost opportunities like more involvement of NGOs.  One of the biggest challenges faced by challenges to local governments is also mainstreaming adaptation to gain commitment and increase understanding.

According to the report, "Securing funding for adaptation work is a major challenge for 85% of cities worldwide". Mainstreaming allows cities to take advantage of synergies, makes the unfamiliar familiar, and moves forward with adaptation.  Read the

Lastly, Konrad Otto-Zimmerman, the Secretary General of ICLEI and Congress Chair, spoke about how there will always be disasters, but resilience makes a difference.

"Cities need to build resilience, not only to climate impacts but to all kind of crisis"

Consider the difference of the 7.0 earthquake in Haiti versus the 7.0 earthquake in Tokyo.  Increasing resilience reduces risk.  Risks to cities include flooding, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, riots, systemic financial crises.  The occurrence of these is increasing, severity is increasing, and urbanization is increasing.

Konrad Otto-Zimmermann added: "We should not only look at cities at risk, but also cities AS a risk". 

He introduced the particular topics streams that will run throughout this conference and the important contributions and challenges within each stream to building resilience in cities. These are: urban risk, resilient urban logistics, resilient building and construction, resilient urban food systems and resilient urban renewable energy systems.

(Report by Jessika Richter, Master’s candidate at IIIEE Lund University, Sweden. Jessika is interested in climate change mitigation policies at the local and national level.)








Resilient Cities 2012 - the stage is set

The stage is set! Delegates have started arriving at the congress venue, here in Bonn Germany, excited and serious about making their voices heard at this highly participatory congress where about half of the 400 participants are taking on a speaker or facilitator role.

Two pre-congress events have also kicked off today.

ICLEI President David Cadman and Secretary General Konrad Otto-Zimmermann spoke at the Green Urban Economy Expert Forum, convened by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the City of Bonn, in collaboration with ICLEI.

The outcomes of the forum will be fed into the Rio+20 process and presented at a session on linking resilience to green urban economy on Tuesday, 15 May from 2:30 to 4:00 PM.

Another group of sustainability experts met at a separate stakeholder workshop on "Renewables for Resilient Cities: A roadmap from 2012 to 2050".

Organized by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the workshop aimed to identify challenges and solutions to accelerating the adoption of renewable agencies in cities.

Report by Katrina Borromeo, Online Communications Officer at ICLEI World Secretariat



Theme in FOCUS: Financing the the Resilient City 


The question of how to finance a resilient city was a hot theme during last year's Resilient Cities congress, which saw the launch of ICLEI's Global Report on „Financing the Resilient City‟. 

The report identifies shortfalls in the global funding structures for adaptation, and sets out innovative ways to overcome them.

“What is needed is to build on local expertise and institutions and fund what is needed locally, rather than conventional global financing mechanisms determining what local action is eligible for funding,” says the report author Jeb Brugmann.

The report also puts forward the idea that financing mechanisms have to be broadened to allow for more private investments in addition to existing global climate funds.

The debate continues this year at the Resilient Cities 2012 congress, with experts and local officials exchanging experiences on how climate financing for adaptation can be mobilized, leveraged and innovated for the local level.

Missed last year's report launch? Download the ICLEI Global Report "Financing the Resilient City, A white paper" [4 page summary, pdf] [full report, pdf]

Don't miss this year's strategy panel on Financing the Resilient City: Changing Finance, Changing Institutions on Tuesday, 15 May, 9:00 - 11:00 AM at the Resilient Cities Congress!

Report by Katrina Borromeo, Online Communications Officer at ICLEI World Secretariat.



5 days to go until Resilient Cities kicks off!


Take a look at the video from 2011 and get a feeling for what to expect in 2012.




Wanted: Social Reporters!

We want you! Whether you'll be at the congress or not, here's your chance to share your talents, contribute to the stirring discussions, and make top ideas on urban resilience and adaptation travel far and wide. 

Become a social reporter at the congress!

Our social reporting team will consist of volunteers, participants, congress partners or organizers or just about anyone able and willing. Our goal is to spread the congress' messages through our social media networks, and to actively interact and engage with participants on-site and off-site.

You need not be social media savvy to be a volunteer.  The 'oldies' in the group will teach and train 'newbies' on the different social media tools. We will also meet at the venue or online to discuss about the do's and don'ts in reporting and some tips to rock the social reporting scene!

Interested to volunteer? This is an excellent learning opportunity, and a way to share experiences with like-minded people. You could also spend as much and as little time as you wish, so no pressure at all! 

Drop me an email at: