Barcelona, ​​nominated global center for urban resilience | Urban Beings | Future Planet

The Making Cities Resilient 2030 initiative has selected Barcelona as global resilience center for their policy and advocacy work to address growing climate and disaster risks. Together with three other European cities, Manchester, Helsingborg and Milan, the four nominees will serve a three-year term working to improve collaboration with each other and inspire other communities to better manage climate change.

The resilience centers are part of the Developing Resilient Cities 2030 (MCR2030) initiative, which promotes it locally through political advocacy, the exchange of knowledge and experiences, and the establishment of learning networks between cities. It also aspires to strengthen technical capacities, connects multiple levels of government and promotes strategic alliances between the main actors in society to respond to the challenges that affect the city.

The idea arose to respond to the growing risks of disasters derived from the effects of climate change or other situations such as the pandemic. The approach to reducing the risks that threaten cities defends that it is no longer possible to respond to threats in an isolated way or to delegate responsibility to response or service provision entities. The participation of local planning bodies, with a multisectoral representation that involves all stakeholders, is essential to achieve sustainable solutions to these challenges.

“These spaces exemplify the potential of metropolises to lead in disaster risk reduction and help build a more resilient world,” says Mami Mizutori, special representative of the Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction and head of the Office of the United Nations for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNDRR. “The ones we have nominated are cities that have demonstrated the results of integrating resilience management systems into their decision making process. They are perfect for others to replicate by example ”.

Barcelona has established itself as a global cooperation center on urban resilience, serving as a mentor to the political leaders of Tunisia, Bogotá and Gaza City

Mizutori urges that Barcelona has established itself as a center for global cooperation in urban adaptation, serving as a mentor to the political leaders of Tunisia, Bogotá and Gaza.

“The process has been long, with a lot of learning and constantly applying continuous improvement processes,” says Ares Gabàs Masip, head of the Resilience Department of the Barcelona City Council. “One of the first alarms that erupted about the need to install a comprehensive system was the great drought that Barcelona suffered in 2008, which forced water to be brought to the city in tanker boats for the first time.”

Gabàs remembers how at that time of water scarcity, the great blackout arrived, which left the city without electricity for three days, plunged into colossal chaos. And then the railway problems and the crisis with the commuter trains were added.

“Faced with all these open fronts, the then mayor, Jordi Hereu, proposed to manage them from the root,” says Gabàs; “And proposed creating a comprehensive system in the face of the various complexities that threatened it. They looked for examples in other cities, but when they did not find anything that could be replicated, it was decided to carry out a process diagnosis and create their own management system, with a lot of participation from all the actors involved in society ”.

In fact, in 2013 UN-Habitat already instituted the World Urban Resilience Program and the Urban Resilience Hub at the Sant Pau Modernist Campus in Barcelona, ​​thus becoming the only city in the world to host a program outside of its headquarters in Nairobi. .

“We are at a crucial moment in which the acceleration of actions to face the climate emergency and inequality is an urgency,” says Rosa Surinach, coordinator of alliances and political incidence of the global program of Resilient Cities of UN-Habitat from Barcelona. “We know that cities have a great transforming capacity for global development, so replicating and scaling practices that strengthen urban adaptation capacity is a necessary form of acceleration. This is the case of Barcelona ”.

Surinach recalls that this aspect of collaboration between cities is precisely what the United Nations Decade of Action means: creating strong alliances between different actors to accelerate transformation action. “The city of Barcelona is already recognized as an international leader in building resilience and, as such, we intend to continue fostering collaborations among others,” said the mayor of Barcelona, ​​Ada Colau.

Colau, who has recently been nominated vice president for Europe of the C40, an organization that brings together almost a hundred large cities allied against climate change, made a call to combat the climate emergency. He emphasized that the challenge that Barcelona takes on is to achieve innovative and courageous cities that protect neighbors and turn urban centers into living spaces.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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