5 April 2018: The UN continues to undertake efforts to combat climate change in cities and to improve land-use planning. Recent developments include the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) convening a training workshop on participatory urban planning in Kenya, and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) welcoming Thimphu, Bhutan, to its ‘Making Cities Resilient’ campaign.

Also, the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced a joint online course on ‘Integrated planning for climate change and biodiversity.’

UN-Habitat capacity-building training on participatory urban planning for Kenya’s Turkana County highlighted urbanization examples from various countries, including Kenya, and covered challenges and opportunities related to, inter alia, SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), the New Urban Agenda (NUA), Kenya Vision 2030 and urban-rural linkages. The training was aimed at ministries concerned with urban planning, transport and infrastructure, urban basic services, environmental management, urban economy and finance, and social planning. During the training, UN-Habitat called for formulating plans, which ensure that urban development incorporates environmental, social and cultural considerations. [UN-Habitat Press Release]

The ‘Making Cities Resilient’ campaign was launched in May 2010, and has almost 4,000 participating cities and towns, including over 700 across Asia.

Thimphu, capital of Bhutan, formally joined UNISDR’s ‘Making Cities Resilient’ campaign during the Fifth Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, which convened from 28-30 March 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand. Speaking at a side event on the importance of understanding risk, Kinlay Dorjee, Mayor of Thimphu, identified steps being taken in Thimphu to increase resilience, such as relocating informal settlements into proper housing and ensuring a 30-meter buffer zone along the main river to prevent flood damage.

The ‘Making Cities Resilient’ campaign was launched in May 2010, and has almost 4,000 participating cities and towns, including over 700 across Asia. The campaign provides knowledge, tools and resources to support and encourage local government funding for DRR and to raise citizens’ awareness. [UNISDR Press Release on Bhutan Joining UNISDR Campaign] [UNISDR Press Release on UN Welcoming Bhutan to Campaign] [Making Cities Resilient Campaign Website] [IISD RS Coverage of Fifth Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development]

The UNITAR and IUCN joint online course seeks to enhance the capacity of stakeholders to optimize land-use planning to achieve compatible conservation and development results, including through engaging protected areas. The course includes interactive lessons and multimedia contents through which participants will learn about the rights and roles of various stakeholders in planning and decision-making processes, and ways of collaborating across national borders. The course is organized around four modules: the land-use, climate change and biodiversity nexus; intersectoral and inter-institutional collaboration; public participation in decision-making; and regional planning for harmonization and connectivity. [UNITAR News Story]