55 Per Cent of World’s Population Live in Cities, and by 2050 over Two-Thirds (68 Per Cent) Is Projected to Be Urban

Why the world needs to focus on resilience – Extracts from UN Habitat’s Brief on World Cities Day 2018.*
Over half the world’s population live in cities (55 per cent) and the world is urbanizing fast – by 2050 over two thirds (68 per cent) of the world’s population is projected to be urban – with 1.4 million people arriving in cities each week.

As more people are concentrated in cities, dependent on local services and networks, the risks from natural and human made disasters grow.
In the past 20 years climate-related and geophysical (ie earthquakes and tsunamis) disasters killed 1.3 million people and left a further 4.4 billion injured, homeless, displaced or in need of emergency assistance.
Flooding is the most frequent and widespread natural disaster in the world with river flooding posing a threat to over 379 million urban residents.
Earthquakes, which along with tsunamis are responsible for the highest number of deaths in disasters, could affect 283 million people.
The World Bank calculates the real cost to the global economy of disasters is USD 520 billion a year.
Climate change alone could force 77 million people back into poverty
The poor and vulnerable, living in substandard, hazardous places are most at risk with around 1 billion people living in slums.
People exposed to natural hazards in poorest nations are more than seven times likely to die than those in the richest.
Challenges to resilience can also be economic, cultural, civic and social and develop over time such as economic downturns or crises, high unemployment, lack of inclusion, social cohesion or discrimination, disease outbreaks and terrorism.
How to build resilience
Cities can protect against economic shocks by diversifying their economy, creating opportunities for business and employment, and engaging the private sector.
They can build socially cohesive societies becoming democratic, sustainable and inclusive by ensuring residents from all backgrounds take part in decision making.
To build climate and environment resilience, authorities need to plan cities properly to minimize the overall effect on the environment as well as ensuring resilience through strengthened infrastructure, good planning and public education.
Responses to disasters in urban areas can promote greater resilience to future crises and support long term development goals.

*SOURCE; UN Habitat. Read full text of UN Habitat’s Brief on World Cities Day 2018

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