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NEWS: Resilience Cities Asia-Pacific Congress results in ‘Delhi Call for Action’

The Resilience Cities Asia-Pacific 2019 Congress held in New Delhi, India from 15-17 April 2019 has resulted in a ‘Delhi Call for Action’ – which urges climate change adaptation and urban resilience that is socially inclusive and in harmony with nature.

The Congress, organised by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability – a CDKN alliance partner, convened more than 200 participants from 90 local governments in over 25 countries. Its aim was to provide an Asian platform for urban resilience and climate change adaptation “where partnerships are forged and concrete dialogues are happening, with the ultimate goal of identifying solutions and creating lasting impacts for cities in the region.”

Its eight plenary sessions and seven parallel sessions explored:
· Localising global frameworks;
· Capacity building, peer learning and exchanges on climate knowledge and urban resilience;
· Participatory governance and inclusive co-creative local level projects – multi-stakeholder involvement in resilience planning and action;
· Nature-based adaptation; and
· Financing urban resilience.

“This year marks the 10th anniversary of the ICLEI Resilient Cities, the leading platform for local governments, the private sector, international organisations, and academia to discuss the latest developments in urban resilience and adaptation,” said Guilherme Jonston, Global Resilient Cities Coordinator, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. Specifically, the Congress brought together mayors and their deputies, city councillors and governors, the chiefs of sustainability and climate change units, heads of policy development and disaster risk management, water and sanitation specialists, other technical experts, and development financiers.

The Delhi Call for Action pulls together Congress participants’ key concerns and recommendations for concerted action. It will be tabled as a basis for further debates, and to encourage additional commitments, at the global NDC Conference and global Resilient Cities Congress, both of which take place in Germany in June 2019.

The text of the Delhi Call for Action reads:

“Towards Resilient Development in the Asia-Pacific Region”

We, the representatives of city and subnational governments, local government networks, urban researchers and practitioners, the private sector, financial institutions, and international organisations participating in the 4th Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific Congress, have gathered from 15 – 17 April 2019 in New Delhi to reinforce our individual and collective commitments towards the implementation of the Paris Agreement, integrated with the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Sustainable Development Goal 11 which seeks to make cities ‘resilient, inclusive and sustainable’, the Sendai Framework, and the New Urban Agenda, by supporting innovative, and impactful solutions that build resilience to climate change at the subnational level in the Asia-Pacific region.

Acknowledging with concern the scientific evidence that trends of long-term warming are continuing; that 2015 to 2018 have been the four warmest years on record; that global mean sea level continues to rise, and that with global warming of 1.5°C climate-related risks to critical sectors such as health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth are projected to increase, and further worsen under a 2°C scenario.

Welcoming the call by the United Nations Secretary General to the Heads of State who will participate in the 2019 Climate Action Summit to raise the ambition and vertically integrate Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement, for transformative action in the real economy, and an unprecedented citizen and youth mobilisation.

Appreciating the implementation of the Talanoa Dialogue process for facilitating collective and ambitious climate action, by nations, other non-state actors, and the Local Governments and Municipal Authorities Constituency which, through ICLEI, organised 60 Cities and Regions Talanoa Dialogues of which 17 were organised in the Asia-Pacific.

Recognising the need for integrating resilience development into other pathways in order to enable systemic changes through evidence-based integrated solutions, as advocated by ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability through its 2018 Montreal Commitment, Strategic Vision, and Action Plan.

We urge leaders of all levels of government, United Nations entities, institutions, the private sector, civil society and academia to:

Implement the Paris Climate Agreement goal of keeping the global warming increase to well below 2°C and will pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels through inclusive concrete actions based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and report on progress through various ICLEI-supported mechanisms and fora such as the Asia-Pacific Urban Forum and Asia-Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development.

Make resilience a core part of our local sustainability strategies and prepare for risks and impacts, taking into account the rights and needs of vulnerable sections of our society.

Strengthen our essential institutions and systems, in particular municipal management, planning and finance operations, to prevent, absorb, and recover from shocks, stresses, and unforeseen changes, alleviating the burden on people and the environment.

Pursue a transparent, data-driven and inclusive approach on resilience that will enhance trust in our institutions and the processes at all levels that support them.

Strive to achieve climate neutrality in our own infrastructure and operations by 2050 and actively promote the renewable energy era by committing to 100 percent renewable energy.

Prioritise the development of healthy local environments through active peoples’ engagement, in which air, water, soil, and all natural resources that sustain life and health are protected and nurtured across the continuum of human settlements and in harmony with nature.

Apply nature-based solutions for multiple sustainable development outcomes using spatial planning blue and green infrastructure options, , promoting green zones, and integrated coastal and mountain zone management to reconnect and engage with nature in our new urban world.

Work with project preparation and funding facilities towards developing financeable climate resilient infrastructure projects.

Promote circular development by decoupling urban economic development from resource consumption and environmental degradation and factor environmental and social costs into the price of goods and services.

Pursue processes and patterns of a “gender-sensitive and socially inclusive development” that safeguard the natural support systems for human life, with affirmative action for the vulnerable and marginalised populations.

Ensure that the natural and built environment in and around cities work synergistically to improve livability and safety, mitigate disease, and promote human health and well-being.


On the third day of the Congress, CDKN also organised a special session on ‘Enhancing effective communication of climate knowledge to meet subnational needs’ and this was chaired by CDKN Director Shehnaaz Moosa. Discussants highlighted the untapped opportunities for involving academia, research institutes, youth, women and other relevant stakeholders to improve local planning processes and to disseminate knowledge and information. Meanwhile, W.H.D Shyamalee, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Matara, Sri Lanka, emphasised local governments’ appetite for robust climate information, by stressing: “We need information on climate change to implement plans and projects efficiently.”

Randhir Sahay, Additional Commissioner, South Delhi Municipal Corporation closed the Resilient Cities Asia Pacific Congress with the words:

“The forum has set a strong stage for bold and ambitious statements and actions towards sustainability. We are excited to announce the New Delhi Call and its Commitments. I request and hope that each of us will strive for climate resilient actions in our homes and in our cities.”


Image: CDKN Director Dr Shehnaaz Moosa convenes a Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific session on enhancing communication of climate knowledge to meet subnational needs – courtesy ICLEI.

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