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Introductions and Overviews

This section contains documents which provide an introduction or overview of resilience in general, or adaptation in particular. Publications that focus on cities specifically are mixed with those at a global level.

Economic Resilience: Definition and Measurement - World Bank Policy Research Paper 6852

Type: Policy Research Working Paper

Author: Stephane Hallegatte

Publisher: The World Bank 

Date: May 2014

The welfare impact of a disaster does not only depend on the physical characteristics of the event or its direct impacts in terms of lost lives and assets. Welfare impacts also depend on the ability of the economy to cope, recover, and reconstruct. This paper proposes rules of thumb to estimate economic resilience and provides a toolbox of policies to increase economic resilience. More...

A global urban risk index - World Bank Policy Research Paper 6506

Type: Policy Research Working Paper

Authors: Henrike Brecht, Uwe Deichmann, Hyoung Gun Wang

Publisher: World Bank

Date: 2013

This paper develops a global urban disaster risk index that evaluates the mortality and economic risks from disasters in 1,943 cities in developing countries. Demographic-economic projection of city population growth to 2050 suggests that exposure to earthquake and cyclone risk in developing country cities will more than double from today’s levels. Global urban risk analysis, as presented in this paper, can inform the prioritization of resources for disaster risk management and urban planning and promote the shift toward managing risks rather than emergencies. More...

Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Resilience

Type: Report

Author: Lorenzo Chelleri, Anna Kunath, Guido Minucci, Marta Olazabal, James J. Waters, Lilia Yumalogava

Date: 2012

The report summarises presentations that were given during a two-day workshop organized by URBNet and held in Barcelona in November 2011. The articles review and discuss examples showing how resilience is applied to different contexts. More...

Progress and Challenges in Urban Climate Adaptation Planning

Type: Report

Author: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Date: May 2012

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched the report of a global survey 'Progress and Challenges in Urban Climate Adaptation Planning' conducted in collaboration with ICLEI. The report provides deeper insight into the status of adaptation planning globally, approaches cities around the world are taking, and challenges they are encountering. More...

OECD work on Adaptation to Climate Change

Type: Brochure

Author: OECD

Date: May 2012

OECD work on adaptation to climate change focuses on three main areas: 1. Mainstreaming adaptation in development co-operation, 2. Economic aspects of adaptation, and 3. adaptation in developed countries. More...

Are We Adapting to Climate Change?

Type: Academic Paper

Author: Berrang-Ford, L. Ford, J. Paterson, J.

Publisher: Global Environmental Change

Date: February 2011 (Vol 21, Issue 1)

This paper shows the results of a literature review which attempts to track and categorize global action on climate change adaptation. Among its conclusions are: most studies point to adaptation planning but not yet actions and implementation, actions are more frequently reported in developed countries, and extreme events are an important driver for action. More...

Adaptation under the UNFCCC 

Type: Report

Authors: Sumaya Zakieldee, FIELD

Publisher: European Capacity Building Initiative (ECBI)

Date: June 2010

This paper provides an in-depth look at the provisions for adaptation under the current UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and analyses the degree to which these provisions have been implemented. More...

UN System supporting adaptation in an enhanced adaptation regime

Type: Report

Authors: UN

Date: 2010

Prepared for the COP 16 in Cancun, this short document outlines the UN system's contribution to supporting members and partners in addressing adaptation, arranged around five areas: (i) risks, impacts and vulnerability assessment; (ii) adaptation planning, including creating an enabling environment; (iii) the implementation of adaptation measures; (iv) awareness raising; and (v) knowledge sharing and facilitate learning. More...

Shaping climate resilient development 

Type: Report

Authors: The Economics of Climate Adaptation Working Group

Publisher: Rockefeller Foundation 

Date: September 2009

This report attempts to formulate a practical framework of action for national and local decision makers in assessing “the total climate risks” for their economies.  It provides analysis of climate change impacts on a geographically diverse range of case studies. More...

Nairobi Work Programme: Making a Difference on the Ground

Type: Report

Authors: UNFCCC

Date: 2009

"The Nairobi work programme was designed as a mechanism for engaging stakeholders and catalysing action, and as a platform for sharing knowledge and learning on adaptation to climate change. " This report outlines the key outputs and lessons learnt of commitments made by contributing partners to the program, which number 140 organizations. More...

Adaptation to Climate Change: International Agreements for Local Needs

Type: Report

Author: Levina, Ellina

Publisher: OECD

Date: December 2007

Still relevant today, this report outlines a possible framework for an adaptation agreement through the UNFCCC. It analyses the possible building blocks of any future agreement, including the scope of adaptation activities,  goals, targets and metrics for measuring progress, funding mechanisms, including national policies and measures to mobilize adaptation actions, reporting and review, and responsibilities of the Parties under the UNFCCC. More... 

Cities/Local focus


Climate Change and Cities: First Assessment Report of the Urban Climate Change Research Network (ARC3)

Type: Report

Editors: Cynthia Rosenzweig, William D. Solecki, Stephen A. Hammer, Shagun Mehrotra

Date: 2011

The first UCCRN Assessment Report on climate change and cities focuses on how to use climate science and socio-economic research to map a city's vulnerability to climate hazards and how cities can enhance their adaptive and mitigative capacity to deal with climate change. The authors are all international experts from a diverse range of cities from both the developing and developed world.  More...

Cities and Climate Change. Global Report on Human Settlements 2011

Type: Report

Author: UN-HABITAT

Date: March 2011

This recent international edition on the cities and climate change agenda re-affirms previous similar summaries (by the World Bank and OECD, see below) by arguing that cities are central to tackling the climate challenge. It stresses the opportunities cities have to reduce emissions while also improving quality of life, and reducing vulnerabilities. More...

Local Governance and Climate Change

Type: Discussion note

Author: UNDP

Date: December 2010

This discussion note is designed for national and local policymakers and specialist climate change institutions at all scales. It explores the ways in which local governments can interact with the climate change issue, focusing on Asian local governments. More...

Cities and Climate Change

Type: Report

Authors: OECD

Place: Paris

Date: 2010

A very useful overview of the major issues linking urbanization, economic growth and climate change, considering both mitigation and adaptation requirements and covering topics such as the impacts of climate change on urban regions, green growth, finance and governance. It makes the strong argument that cities are central to climate change solutions. More...

Cities and Climate Change: An Urgent Agenda

Type: Report

Author: World Bank

Date: 2010

Presented by the Urban and Local Government Development Unit of the World Bank, this report, like the OECD version of a similar name, covers a broad range of topics related to climate mitigation and adaptation in cities. It analyses the role of cities through three key areas: how cities contribute to and are affected by climate change, how policy makers can use cities to change human behavior and improve technology related to climate change, and how cities should use climate change as an opportunity to raise their profile and reinforce sensible policies. More...

Urban Regional Resilience: How do Cities and Regions Deal with Change?

Type: Book (German Annual of Spatial Research and Policy Series)

Publisher: Springer Publications

Date: September 2010

This book aims to explore the resilience concept in more detail, in order to understand what actors in cities do to deal with change. Barriers to action are identified and solutions posited. More...

Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Local Impact:  Key Messages for UNFCCC Negotiators

Type: Paper (for IASC Task Force on Climate Change)

Author: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Red Cross / Red Crescent Climate Centre, ProVention Consortium

Date: May 2009

This technical paper was written in advance of the COP-15 negotiations in Copenhagen but the six key strategies it outlines for supporting local adaptation are still highly relevant. One of these is to strengthen existing local institutions, including local authorities, to improve local governance and climate risk management. More...