Cities campaign at core of island development plans

Under pressure: Lanzarote is seeking to build a sustainable future for its residents and the millions of tourists who visit the island.
 
By Andy McElroy

GENEVA, 28 November 2013 – The 10 essentials of the Making Cities Resilient have formed a key part of a series of ambitious local action plans to strengthen sustainable development in Lanzarote.

A coalition of political representatives and 33 community sectors who comprise the Biosphere Reserve Committee have joined to drive the impressive effort to strengthen local resilience on the Canary Island, in the Atlantic, off the north-west coast of Africa.

An integrated management system has been developed covering 10 sectors, including energy, water and waste management, to strengthen climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The initiative is part of Lanzarote’s Strategy 2020 and includes the island’s seven municipalities and its Biosphere Reserve Department. Six of the seven municipalities on the island (Teguise, Arrecife, Yaiza, Tias, San Bartolome and Tinajo) are already part of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s (UNISDR) Making Cities Resilient campaign.

SES Efficiency, a sustainable development consulting firm based in Spain and partner of the UNISDR cities campaign, is supporting Lanzarote’s efforts to strengthen local resilience. The consultancy’s Director Mr Marcelo Sabanes said much progress had been made to reduce the risks and vulnerability in the face of the climate change effects.

“The system will enable local authorities to plan ahead and work more effectively and proactively to protect their vast biodiversity, and also to be more sustainable and effective in the way that they are managing projects and mitigating and adapting to climate change, reducing risk to natural hazards,” Mr Sabanes said.

“One of the really pleasing aspects is that environmental protection and sustainable development is, after 8 months of work, in place at the top of the political agenda.”

Lanzarote is a Spanish island of 846 square kilometers with a population of 145,000. Almost 2 million tourists a year visit Lanzarote, which places a huge pressure on local resources and ecosystem, particularly in terms of energy demand, water supply and waste generation and management.

The 10 essentials of the Making Cities Resilient Campaign include assigning specific budget lines for disaster risk reduction, protecting critical infrastructure, maintaining data and on hazards as well as risk assessments, protect ecosystems and strengthen community safety.
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