Progress and Challenges in Urban Climate Adaptation Planning: Results of a Global Survey

This report presents the results of a 40-question survey on local climate adaptation planning completed by 468 cities around the world.  The survey questions addressed the perceptions of climate risk, the extent to which cities are conducting vulnerability assessments, the status of urban adaptation planning, the favored approaches to urban adaptation planning, and the challenges that cities have encountered in their adaptation planning efforts.  

Sixty-eight percent of cities worldwide report that they are pursuing adaptation planning, with Latin American and Canadian cities having the highest rates of engagement (95% and 92% respectively), and the U.S. having the lowest (at 59%). Those cities that report taking action are largely in the early preparation stages of adaptation planning.

The majority of responding cities report perceiving changes in temperature, precipitation, sea level, or a rise in natural hazards over the last five years. Survey respondents also noted changes in flora and fauna, rural-to-urban migration, coastal erosion, increased storm water runoff and management, and the emergence of new diseases and deaths from disasters.

According to the survey, the three key challenges to mainstreaming adaptation into disaster risk reduction and land use planning are: securing funding for adaptation; communicating the need for adaptation to elected officials and local departments; and gaining commitment and generating appreciation from national government for the realities of local adaptation challenges. The report concludes that while financial and informational resources will continue to be needed, if political support exists to promote adaptation, cities will find it easier to engage local government agencies and to mainstream adaptation into their initiatives. 

Publication Date: May 16, 2012

Author or Affiliated User:

  • JoAnn Carmin

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