Training on Disaster Risk Reduction and Making Cities Resilient
Over the past 30 years, the world’s population has grown by 87 per cent. By 2018, 55% of the world’s population was living in urban areas and this proportion is expected to rise to 68% by 2050 (UNDESA 2018). Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is often regarded as the world’s fastest urbanizing region. The global share of African urban residents is projected to grow from 11.3 percent in 2010 to 20.2 percent by 2050. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 143 cities generate a combined $ 0.5 trillion, totaling 50 percent of the region’s gross domestic product (GDP). This presents an opportunity as evidence suggests that doubling of a city’s size boosts income per capita between 3 percent and 8 percent.
As the world’s population becomes increasingly urban, disaster risk increasingly concentrates within cities and urban areas. The concentration of people, assets and activities in urban centres usually generates new patterns of hazard, exposure and vulnerability. Approximately 60% of the area to be urbanized by 2030 globally has yet to be built. This presents an opportunity to reduce disaster risk globally, and more so on the Africa continent. In Sub-Saharan Africa, urban population growth has far outpaced capital investment, leading to shortages of infrastructure, housing and access to basic services. Already 60 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s urban population lives in areas classified as slums, a far larger share than the average of 34 percent in other developing countries (UN DESA 2015).
Disasters have their greatest impact at the local level. The sheer scale of people and assets concentrated in urban areas is both increasing and intensifying the risks to local communities. This background calls for sufficiently resourced city and municipal governments working with citizens, businesses, and other stakeholders to reduce disaster risk, both through specific risk reduction policies and investments, and by improving infrastructure and the provision of services. Understanding and managing risk is everyone’s business and integral to the success of all global development frameworks: “Disaster risk reduction requires an all-of-society engagement and partnership” and “Civil society, volunteers, organized voluntary work organizations and community-based organizations to participate, in collaboration with public institutions, to advocate for resilient communities and an inclusive and all-of-society disaster risk management that strengthen synergies across groups.”
Amjad Abbashar Regional Director UNDRR Regional Office for Africa
Isabel Njihia UNDRR
Mutarika Pruksapong UNDRR
Sanjaya Bhatia UNDRR