Julie Greenwalt is an urban environment specialist with Cities Alliance. Currently, she is responsible for the Joint Work Programme on Resilient Cities and is one of the Organizing Committee co-chairs for the Cities and Climate Change Science Conference. Julie holds an M.S. in Urban Planning from Columbia University. With her extensive experience in building networks for urban climate change resilience, she shares her view with ACCCRN on the topic.
In spite of significant progress, there is a need for more room to ‘break’ the silos within a city and work together towards inclusive resilience. How do you view this? Why do you think networking platforms could be a form of innovation within the city?
Based on my experience working at Cities Alliance, specifically on the Joint Work Programme that connects wide range of organizations (e.g. NGOs, UN-bodies, city networks etc.), I have realized that networks could bring diverse perspectives of resilience and different entry points to the city with regards urban resilience.
Some of the partners work with the government on building resilience capacity, some focus more on community groups and urban poor and some are more focused on the national government.
I think by bringing these different organizations on the global level, this provides an opportunity to start seeing some synergy and ways to breakdown barriers and how to work together within cities and how to have an approach to resilience that breaks the bond that maybe one organization might have with a particular focus and so that it has a much more inclusive view.
Lack of capacity or information are often constraints to a city’s achievement of progress in advancing urban climate change resilience. How do you think a networking platform contributes to solving this challenge?
This is definitely a huge issue, and I think a networking platform has a major role to play in addressing this. It can help by trying to reduce duplication of efforts and enhance coordination―especially at the city level—to try to avoid overwhelming cities with different approaches, tools, and too many actors. I think at the global and regional level we have the responsibility to make sure that they make better and more coherent efforts.
One of the outcomes of JWP is the resilienttools.org website which has tools, studies and publications from different JWP members, so that cities and organizations that are working in cities can have straightforward access to the most appropriate tool or approach, and also learn from other cities to figure out what information that they might need. In addition, the program also provides a platform for different actors to share their experiences and learn from each other and also to find different cities and topics where the partners might be able to work together or bring together their efforts.
Based on what has worked well and what needs to be improved in terms of regional network on urban resilience, can you share how your work contribute to build resilience specifically in Asia region?
Lately the JWP has been working a lot more at the regional level instead of running on few specific cities and some of this work happen on the sideline of the Ninth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF9) in Malaysia where IIED and UN-Environment (UNEP) hosted a regional roundatble on advancing actions and indicators for sustainable and resilience urban development for the New Urban Agenda (NUA) this was a part of new project with the Joint Work Programme and brought together different city officials, civil society, and local communities to discuss what are some of the existing indicators, and what are new potential indicators that can be utilized to track progress on city to become more sustainable and resilience.
In addition, later this year, C40 will host an Asian Adaptation Forum which will convene city officials, national government, NGO and the private sector to exchange ideas on challenges and best practices for adaptation. I think this entry point at the regional level is very important, because I think it’s an opportunity to share experiences and try to have an impact on cities, bringing together different type of cities, including secondary cities, to share their challenges whether in terms of environmental aspects or socio-economic aspect.
The regional roundtable on the regional forum is also an opportunity to convene different partners at the regional level to see how they can support cities as they work on building resilience and trying to address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement.