Photo of the week #23 – The world’s expanding cities

Photographer: Sami Sarkis
Location: Lebanon — Beirut
Publication: Rio Conventions Calendar

Rapid urbanization in relatively high-risk areas is a special concern because it concentrates people and assets, increasing vulnerability to impacts of climate change.

According to the latest United Nations projections, the world’s total population will rise substantially and is expected to reach 9 billion by the middle of the century.

More than half of these people live in urban centres, and practically all live in settlements depending on industry, services, and infrastructures for jobs, well-being and mobility.

Risk-prone settlements such as coastal areas are expected to experience not only increases in weather-related disasters but also major increases in population, urban areas and economic activity, especially in developing countries.

Growing population and wealth in exposed or vulnerable coastal locations could result in increased environmental, economic and social damage.

Large-scale adaptation in cities and the integration of adaptation strategies into national and international development strategies is urgently required.

Biodiversity resources constitute an essential input for up to 40% of the world’s economy, and while only 2% of the world’s surface is urbanized, decisions made in cities define the consumption of up to 75% of natural resources.

The growing role played by local authorities in allocating resources, promoting and attracting sustainable investments and technology, managing consumption and defining land-use planning makes them critical partners to achieve sustainable development.

Around the world, leading cities are showing that urbanization does not necessarily lead to environmental degradation: cities can be part of the solution.

The Rio Conventions Calendar is published annually by Entico in partnership with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

Read more on: Cities | Living | | |