Expert Voices: Abha Joshi-Ghani, Director; Leadership, Learning and Innovation at The World Bank

Image by Flemming Leitorp

All climate action is ultimately local. Thus cities must take the lead in lowering greenhouse gas emissions, creating green cities, being energy efficient, building mass transit, becoming more resilient and resource efficient, reducing waste and harnessing the digital age to deliver services to their citizens and focusing on sustainability.
At the center of this approach is city leadership and engaged citizens. Density creates the possibility of doing more with less, and with a smaller carbon footprint. As a result, we often find that cities lead the way on climate action against the inertia of national governments.

We already see a large number of cities taking the lead in sustainability through innovative financing mechanisms, technological advances, policy and regulatory reforms, efficient use of land and transport, waste reduction, energy efficiency measures and reduction of GHG emissions. What is needed now for scaling this up is systematic knowledge exchange and learning among cities. Peer- to- peer learning is a powerful tool once contextualized and adapted to the particular socio-economic and political context. Iterative learning with feedback loops can help in finding transformative solutions. Sometimes simple measures can make a big difference. For instance, the “Mayors Task Force on Climate Change, Disaster Risk and the Urban Poor” was created after COP 15 in Copenhagen. The Mayors Task Force was facilitated by the World Bank, and consisted of Mexico City, Jakarta, Dar es Salaam and Sao Paulo. The cities created a peer to peer network and exchanged their experience on resilience, from the importance of empowering local communities, to strengthening institutions and finding innovative financing mechanisms. All agreed it was critical it for national, state, and city level policies to be aligned.

What we know today is that knowledge and learning with regards to climate action is important and needs to be accessible just-in-time. The —> Read More