Urban Vulnerability and Climate Change in Africa

Type Book
Title Urban Vulnerability and Climate Change in Africa
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Publisher Springer
URL http://www.urbanark.org/sites/default/files/resources/Wisner et al. 2015 Cities & Towns Africa.pdf
This chapter is a counterpoint to those in the rest of this volume that
treat Africa’s large cities. As Simon (Int Dev Plann Rev 36(2):v–xi, 2014) has
observed, most study of African urban climate change adaptation has focused on
the challenges to large cities. So, by way of heuristic exercise, we attempt to
approach a set of questions about small African cities and towns facing climatechange. What climate-related hazards are faced by small cities in Africa today and
will be confronted in the future? What kind of enabling capacities should be
strengthened so that staff in small cities can take the initiative to adapt to climate
change? What obstacles do the governments and residents of small cities face in
adapting to climate change? What potential is there for risk reduction and improved
livelihood security even in the face of climate change? Reviewing literature and
using case studies from Eastern, Southern and Western Africa, we find that small
cities have potential not only to protect their infrastructure and residents from
climate related hazards, but also to serve as catalysts of climate-smart development
in their hinterlands. However, governance problems and a lack of finance severely
limit the ability of small African cities to realise this potential. More research is
urgently needed to inform feasible solutions to bridge these governance and
funding gaps.

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