Urban resilience: A 21st century challenge

Sea-level rise poses a particular threat to cities in South-east Asia and building urban resilience is therefore a key priority to mitigate and adapt to the increasingly exposed climate landscape.

Bangkok is ranked the most vulnerable city to sea-level rise in the 2050 Climate Change Index. PHOTO: REUTERS
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By 2050, more than two-thirds of the global population will be living in urban centres. Asia's urban population has increased from 20 per cent in the 1950s to 50 per cent in 2016, with this set to increase further to 64 per cent by 2050. The increasing exposure of such areas to climate-related shocks and stress on a regular basis is cause for concern and demands greater policy attention. Cities in developing countries where the vast majority of urban growth will take place lack resilience due to limited funding, resources and technical expertise. An increasing urban population will only mean that more people will be exposed to both quick and slow onset disasters.

Bangkok is ranked the most vulnerable city to sea-level rise in the 2050 Climate Change Index, closely followed by Ho Chi Minh City and Manila at third and sixth places respectively - all these cities have already experienced heavy flooding and sinking in recent years. As the effects of climate change intensify, there is also an increasingly higher risk of destruction of livelihoods, shelters, infrastructure and lives. This increases the vulnerability of the affected cities and their populations, and ultimately decreases their overall security.

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