Experts brainstorm ways to fund cities to withstand disasters - TRFN
By Alisa Tang
BANGKOK, Feb 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Governments must persuade businesses to invest in protecting cities from natural disasters, and climate and development experts should heed the needs of poor communities hardest hit by climate catastrophes, experts said.
Some 80 percent of global wealth is generated in cities, so the private sector has an interest in protecting those assets, according to Peter King, who works for a USAID project that helps Asia-Pacific countries polish climate adaptation projects and access funding.
"Cities can actually make the case, 'We want to make our cities resilient to protect your assets, and you can pay for it,'" King, adaptation project preparation and finance team leader for USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific, told a forum on urban resilience.
"I think the challenge is then for the cities to make the private sector realise that (spending to protect) these public goods, in terms of climate resilience, is good for them in terms of protecting their own assets."
King spoke on a panel about financing urban resilience, at a three-day Resilient Cities Asia Pacific conference last week. It brought together city officials, development experts and researchers from 100 cities in 30 countries in Asia, North America and Europe.
Asian cities are often located in disaster-prone coastal areas, river deltas and floodplains.
The Asia-Pacific region is the one most affected by disasters. It had 714,000 deaths from natural disasters between 2004 and 2013, more than treble the previous decade, and economic losses topping $560 billion, according to the United Nations.
King of USAID described catastrophe bonds, pension funds and trillions of dollars of assets under management, adding that doing more "financial engineering or financial manipulation" could make existing funds available to cities, and make the case for the generation of additional funding. Continuación...