'Resilience is not just physical; it is social and cultural as well'
The third and final day of the Third Annual National Conference on Urban Resilience to Climate Change on Tuesday brought into focus the crucial role that the youth can play in navigating challenges and coming up with solutions with regard to urban climate change.
Speakers also stressed the importance of gender-just actions and policies when planning climate resilient towns and cities.
Approximately 30% of the Bangladeshi population now consists of 15 to 25 year olds and while the youth have actively raised their voices against climate change, it has been difficult to effectively organize and engage them in policy-making processes.
International Center for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) Director Dr Saleemul Huq stressed the importance of creating a platform where young people can connect with researchers and policy makers to learn and engage in debates on climate change, and operate within the United Nations Joint Framework Initiative on Children, Youth and Climate Change to actively tackle climate change and development.
The conference also stressed the disproportionate impact that climate change can have. In urban settings, formal and informal settlements are highly vulnerable to different kinds of risks and hazards for children and the youth, and the magnitude of this vulnerability is even higher for girls and young women.
There was also a consensus on the notion that women and girls are the key pillars of resilience - they are the first to prepare families for a disaster and to put communities back together in the aftermath - and as a result, it is essential to take into account women’s contributions and create gender-just policies when dealing with urban climate change.
The final day of the Third Annual National Conference on Urban Resilience to Climate Change also involved dialogues on the role of progressive tariffs in sustainable urban water services, and the importance of prioritizing climate change and local level resilience in secondary cities and towns. However, the highlight of the sessions was the Urban Resilience Awards, which were given to Mongla Port Municipality, Singra Municipality, Brac, Oxfam, Plan International, and Ahsania Mission, for their excellence in urban resilience and climate action.
The conference ended with a closing session that reviewed the discussions and recommendations from the last three days, and reiterated the importance of building migrant friendly, climate resilient cities and towns in Bangladesh.
Professor Jim Coleman, from Oxford Policy Management, said: “Resilience is not just physical; it is social and cultural as well. There is no end point, it is a continuous process.”
In his final remark, chief guest Dr Shamsul Alam, member of the Bangladesh Planning Commission, said: “Liveable cities and liveable human settlements should come first.”
Held at the Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB), the three-day conference was organised by the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN), ICCCAD, and Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS), along with multiple other partners.