Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard – who is poised to sign a historic emissions reduction agreement with over 70 other mayors days before the UN climate summit in Cancún – will be named champion of the Making Cities Resilient campaign by the UN’s top disaster risk reduction official, Margareta Wahlström, at a ceremony during the World Mayors Summit on Climate in Mexico City on 21 November.
“It is our way to recognize Mayor Ebrard for his exemplary leadership, and for showing how local action can be taken to build the resilience of nations and their assets,” said Ms. Wahlström. “It is particularly relevant at a time when the cost of disasters is expected to rise significantly because of climate change. Cities will have to bear the biggest brunt of climate-related risks.”
The agreement is formally known as the “Mexico City Pact -- Global Cities Covenant on Climate,” by which signatories commit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a transparent manner. According to city officials, Mayor Ebrard plans to speak about the agreement at the Cancún summit.
Commenting on the international climate negotiations, Mayor Ebrard said because talks at the national level were not progressing quickly enough, cities needed to take the lead. Addressing his fellow mayors, he said: “I am convinced we can campaign together to get our cities ready, as leaders, or risk leaving future generations facing insurmountable problems.”
Mexico City is situated on a closed basin and former lake, which make us one of the most vulnerable megacities in the world. “Curbing the emission of greenhouse gases and is essential to reduce climate-related risks,” explained Mr. Ebrard. “We have started to change our energy consumption, improved mobility, and promote green employment and safer building techniques and standards but more needs to be done.”
Making Cities Resilient – My City Is Getting Ready! is a campaign to promote safer cities based on ten essential actions for local government. Managed by UNISDR, the campaign began in the summer of 2010 and is now 150-cities strong. The ten actions forming the centrepiece of the campaign are designed to empower local governments through more robust budgets, stronger institutions, improved infrastructure, attention to ecosystem management and citizen engagement.
The next stage of the campaign will focus on promoting city-to-city learning on how to implement technical and tangible solutions to tackle increasing risks associated with climate change and other hazards such as earthquakes. Mexico City is situated on high seismic fault line and suffered a major earthquake in 1985, which inspired new security measures and improved civil protection, including innovative hospital safety measures and safety certification.
Alongside Mexico City, over 150 cities that have joined the campaign including Durban (South Africa), Bogota (Colombia), Port-au-Prince (Haiti), Amman, (Jordan), Albay (the Philippines), Cairns (Australia), Chennai City (India), Kathmandu (Nepal), Saint Louis (Senegal), Bonn (Germany), Karlstad (Sweden) and Nis (Serbia).