Unprecedented urbanization is transforming the world, says World Bank

For the first time in history, more people live in cities than in rural areas. Ninety per cent of this urban expansion takes place in developing countries, and much of it occurs near natural hazards, rivers and coastlines, and through informal and unplanned settlements.

Poorly managed urbanization can exacerbate existing challenges and leave cities more vulnerable to natural hazards, according to a recent World Bank report. The greater concentration of people and assets means that the impact of natural disasters and a changing climate can be devastating, both in terms of human lives lost and economic livelihoods destroyed.

The report describes how poorer segments of the population are particularly vulnerable, as they tend to live in more hazardous settlements and lack the necessary safety nets to recover from economic or environmental shocks. Preparing cities for disaster and climate risks and strengthening urban resilience is fundamental to ensuring sustainable development and poverty reduction write the World Bank experts.

To this end, the World Bank Group’s City Resilience Program (CRP) is working to assist city governments build greater resilience to climate and disaster risks. CRP supports urban resilience projects and better connects cities to the necessary financing. It also aims to catalyze a transparent pipeline of well-prepared and bankable investments to enhance urban resilience and to improve access for private and institutional investors to crowd into new markets. CRP acts as the banker of the city and facilitates strategic investments that address the vulnerabilities and risks that cities face in a holistic way.

Image credit: JC Gellidon via Unsplash

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