By 2050, two-thirds of all people will live in cities. Each year, 72.8 million more people live in urban areas. That’s the equivalent of a new San Diego appearing every week.
But By 2030, climate change alone could force up to 77 million urban residents into poverty.
Achieving resilience is the goal – and the good news is that cities aren’t alone on the team.
Meet Player 1: The cities
Local governments have already begun to invest in resilience. Cities in the 100 Resilient Cities network, for instance, have designed resilience plans that focus on better integrating, coordinating, and managing infrastructure, whether it’s new development or existing assets.
But their funding needs are enormous.
It is clear that support from public financing and multilateral institutions like the World Bank won’t be nearly enough to meet those investment needs. Therefore, cities are looking more and more to partner with the private sector to finance infrastructure.
Meet Player 2: The investors
Fortunately, private investors are looking to create value for their clients. Developing cities are a great place to start, as their growing markets provide opportunities for high returns. Infrastructure projects that increase resilience can also boost productivity and spur job creation, stimulating the economy and paying off for investors in the long run.
This seems like a match made in heaven. Cities have a strong demand. Investors are eager to provide the supply of funds, pens at the ready to write checks for transactions the world over.
But it’s not happening.
Cities often lack the expertise to capitalize on their existing assets, or use mechanisms that mitigate the risks to their projects. Often, investors can’t deploy their capital because perceived risks are too great, transaction costs too high, or well-prepared projects too scarce.
On April 20th, the next Resilience Dialogue will tackle these questions. The flagship event – organized by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) in partnership with the World Bank, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the European Union (EU), and Japan – will take place on the margins of the World Bank Group-IMF Spring Meetings and be streamed live online.
The discussion will give the audience a front-row seat to insights from investors on how cities can attract the resources they need for success – and on the crucial role that institutions like the World Bank can play in helping cities achieve resilience.
Enter Player 3: Multilateral development institutions
After all, the lending capacity of organizations like the World Bank is just a drop in the bucket of what cities require. So what can multilateral institutions do to build urban resilience?
The answer is that they, far better than any other institution in the world, can bring cities and investors together.
The World Bank and its partner institutions are uniquely positioned to act as advisors to cities and help them raise funds for resilience. The Bank can help cities better prepare more projects, has pre-existing engagements with national and city governments, and offers a range of financial products that reduce risk. These tools can help cities structure their resilience projects to have returns that match investors’ expectations, and risk that is compatible with their liability structures.
Once projects are prepared, multilateral institutions can also help bring in investors. Co-financing from the World Bank has a signaling effect in the market, and can catalyze additional financing from private investors.
Introducing Player 4: The City Resilience Program
The need for urban resilience is urgent, the funding gap intimidating, the challenges complex. But
“The Future of Resilience: Banking on Cities,” part of the Resilience Dialogue series, will take place from 5:00 – 6:30 pm on April 20th Eastern Time, at World Bank Headquarters (JB1-080) and online at World Bank Live. Organized by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) in partnership with the World Bank, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the European Union (EU), and Japan, the event will bring together panelists from a diverse set of organizations, including 100 Resilient Cities, European Investment Bank (EIB), PwC, Uganda’s Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), and UNFCCC.
- The Future of Resilience: Banking on Cities event page
- City Resilience Program profile
- City Resilience Program website
- Investing in Urban Resilience: Protecting and Promoting Development in a Changing World
- GFDRR Engagement Note on Resilient Cities
- Subscribe to our Sustainable Communities newsletter and Flipboard magazine
- Follow @WBG_Cities on Twitter