Dhaka, Bangladesh. U.N.-Habitat Executive Director Joan Clos and UNISDR chief Margareta Wahlström signed an agreement to strengthen the two agencies’ collaboration on building disaster-resilient cities. Photo by: Kibae Park / U.N. Photo

A new online knowledge center that both connects and simplifies the links between urbanization and climate change was launched at the Sixth World Urban Forum in Naples, Italy, which runs until Sept. 7.

International aid agencies, city government leaders and urban residents alike can use the Knowledge Center on Cities and Climate Change to identify and post environment-friendly projects and initiatives in urban areas across the world.

“Improving the resilience of our urban areas is a key focus for [the U.N. Human Settlements Program] given the increasing number of people in towns and cities who are vulnerable to disasters, both natural and man-made,” U.N.-Habitat Executive Director Joan Clos said in a statement Tuesday (Sept. 4).

Clos also likened the growth of cities, which now hold more than half of the world’s population, to a tsunami: sometimes moving faster than the “capacity to manage it.”

Clos and Margareta Wahlström, special representative of the secretary-general for disaster risk reduction and head of the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, signed a new agreement to strengthen the two agencies’ collaboration on building disaster-resilient cities. The agreement draws on 10 years of collaboration and a most recent May 2010 global campaign, Making Cities Resilient.

As part of the Making Cities Resilient campaign, Wahlström also announced Tuesday that the Australian capital Canberra was awarded the title of Role Model City. In response to flash floods, bush fires and severe thunderstorms, Canberra has undertaken several comprehensive response and preventive measures over the past years. These include increasing the number of its community fire units, helicopter landing pads and water points, and working to reduce carbon emissions.

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About the author

  • Amy Lieberman

    Amy Lieberman is an award-winning journalist based in New York City. Her coverage on politics, social justice issues, development and climate change has appeared in a variety of international news outlets, including The Guardian, Slate and The Atlantic. She has reported from the U.N. Headquarters, in addition to nine countries outside of the U.S. Amy received her master of arts degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in May 2014. Last year she completed a yearlong fellowship on the oil industry and climate change and co-published her findings with a team in the Los Angeles Times.

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