Local government climate change mitigating measures

.In the wake of the recurrent and often fatal climate change-induced shocks, cities, towns, villages, and settlements are all prone to cyclical shocks. The climate change impact is profoundly experienced at the community level and hence, local governments are increasingly taking the role of first-line respondents to climatic conditions. Yet, sub-national structures are often ill-prepared, under-resourced and poorly configured for such calamities.

It is, however, imperative to enhance preparedness of local authorities as they often serve as foot soldiers regarding to responses. It is the benefit of all to significantly improve local government response and adapt robust mitigating measures. This is crucial for protecting livelihoods, properties, and communities to reduce adverse impacts from flooding, drought, fire outbreaks and similar natural disasters and man-made hostilities. Such adaptation measures also turn urban-rural infrastructures more resilient and sustainable.

In the light of the above, reminiscing about resilience courses I have earlier taken and blending with my experience, below indicative but not exhaustive bullet points might help in the face of the recurrent and destructive shocks:

1. Establish and where they exist strengthen disaster risk management units within local government structures.

2. Allocate resources and budget for disaster response.

3. Understanding resilience shocks and stresses are crucial to realistic and durable community and city-level resilience plans.

4. Ensure a city-level resilience plan is in place. Put greater emphasis on resilient planning – institutional, physical, social, and economical infrastructure. Cities with resilience plans tend to respond better and cope with disaster risks.

5. Proven tools such as Sendai Framework and City Resilience Action Planning Tool could serve as an effective frameworks for building adaptive capacities.

6. Use participatory planning process so that sense of ownership takes deeper root and outcomes are all protected, respected, and preserved by all.

7. Nature-based solutions and restoration of ecosystem services is considered as an effective way to reduce disaster risks and make cities greener and more liveable.

8. Restoration of ecosystems such as planting more trees is not only viewed as a cost-effective but also a profound means to climate adaptation and resilience.

9. Consider ways of absorbing rainwater such as sponge initiatives to mitigate devastating flooding and utilize it during the dry season.

10. Revisit building permit processes and avoid haphazardly developed structures.

11. Effective and routine solid waste management is a must and in this rainy season, solid waste dumping in drainage, effectively blocking water ways should be prevented.

12. The ability of local economy to weather and bounce back short-term shocks and long-term stresses makes local communities socially and economically viable.

13. Financing adequately at sub-national structures is essential in making cities independent and sustainable. Resilient financing could be perpetuated with strong base of own source revenue and reliable and accountable transfers.

14. Governments at all levels, should budget for disaster response in a responsible manner to respond meaningfully and in a coordinated manner in mitigating the adverse effects of climate change.

By: Abdirahman Adan Mohamoud

E-mail: abdirahman.adan@gmail.com