Urban areas are home to an increasingly large share of the world’s population. As a result, a growing proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions are stemming from activities located in cities and towns, where many of the adverse impacts of global warming are being felt most strongly. Not surprisingly, then, local governments ought to play a major role with regard to both the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.
However, local government efforts to manage global warming are constrained by a multiplicity of factors. Chief among these are sub-optimal governance arrangements, whereby local governments have only a limited say in decisions about prioritizing actions to manage climate change, the approaches chosen to conduct these actions, and the funding allocated to do so.
Despite this, for some actions to manage climate change local governments are closer to the decision-making process. Bus-rapid transport systems and heatwave-related early warning and preparedness campaigns are cases in point. Indeed, when it comes to these types of action, local-governments may need to take the initiative. Doing so requires an understanding of the main options at their disposal.
This document outlines the options that local governments can use in their efforts to manage climate change. It covers both mitigation and adaptation actions, and makes recommendations that are applicable in
most contexts, the effectiveness of which has been well-established.
These recommendations are framed around the notion of “technologies”, understood in a broad sense – that is, covering machinery and other physical artefacts and changes in the behaviour of individuals, including the way communities and their institutions organize themselves.
This approach has been borrowed from the so-called Technology Needs Assessment project, which this document supports. This project, a major initiative funded by the Global Environment Facility, is being implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme and the UNEP DTU Partnership.
The intended primary audience for this document consists of government officials in developing countries who make decisions concerning the management of climate change in urban areas. Secondary audiences for the report include technical specialists who support the primary audience, whether they sit in government or work independently as consultants.
It is hoped that this document will be of use to its various target audiences. Feedback on the usefulness of the advice provided in it will be most welcome.