The Guardian
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Planners seeking solutions to cities climate challenge


The UN-Habitat Governing Council takes place every two years to approve the agency’s overall work plan and budget, as well as to pass resolutions on specific issues.

A grouping of planners is calling for action to address the many challenges of climate change in cities.Operating under the name ‘Planners for Climate Action’ the cooperative initiative is calling for an urgent need to integrate climate change in planning practices, build the capacity of current and future planners, as well as support knowledge development

“Urban and regional planners want to have a voice and claim their recognition as key players to scale-up climate action. UN-Habitat that convenes the initiative will play a key role in promoting activities of the network from capacity-building to research and advocacy”.

Planners for Climate Action was formed during COP 23 in Bonn in November last year with the aim of bringing together associations of urban and regional planners from around the world to contribute to the debate and decisions on climate action.


The world is going through unprecedented climate change that is placing considerable stress on our societies and the environment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale.

Human settlements emit a substantial emits a substiantial portion of the world’s greenhouse gases (GHGs) and are home to concentrated populations that are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Rapid urbanization is transforming places, populations, economies, and the built environment at an exceptional speed and scale. This transformation is occurring throughout the world, and it is accelerating in many places, generating increasingly large urban conurbations and agglomerations. The urban population is growing by approximately 1.3 million each week. About 55 % of total urban land in 2030 is expected to be developed in the first three decades of the 21st century, largely occurring in areas of increasing vulnerability to extreme climate events including floods, storm surges, sea level rise, droughts, and heat waves. In addressing this rapid transformation, infrastructure development and urban form are playing a fundamental role as key drivers of both GHG emissions and vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.

This is a global call for action to our fellow urban and regional/territorial planners to integrate climate change in planning practices, build the capacity of current and future planners, as well as support knowledge development. This call is also addressed to all those involved in planning better cities and human settlements: decision-makers including national officials who set the frameworks that enable local action, the private sector and the civil society.

Without ambitious action today, adapting to the impacts of climate change in the future will be more difficult and costly to future generations.Over the past decade local and regional governments have been increasingly recognized as critical actors. The Paris Agreement has recognized that they are vital to strengthening the global response to climate change. As national governments design strategies towards implementing the Paris Agreement, it is crucial that not only local and regional governments play a critical role in achieving Nationally Determined Contributions, but also non-State actors involved in planning and designing cities. Planners are key players in that process and need to be integrated in preparing and implementing strategies and plans in order to scale-up climate action.

Already, the role of urban and territorial planners and plans in addressing climate change has been made explicit in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as in the New Urban Agenda. The important role of planning and planners is enshrined in Target 11.b of the Sustainable

By 2020, increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and Under the UNFCCC Marrakech Partnership, the Planners for Climate Action coalition should be a key voice in the on-going dialogue and collaboration with the other stakeholders to achieve Paris Agreement aspirations in cities and human settlements. Under that collaborative process, the community of planners will report on climate action and share result-based information on the impact of effective urban and territorial planning practices.

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