Hundreds of millions of people in urban areas across the world will be affected by climate change. The vulnerability of human settlements will increase through rising sea levels, inland floods, frequent and stronger tropical cyclones, periods of increased heat and the spread of diseases. Climate change may worsen the access to basic urban services and the quality of life in cities. Most affected are the urban poor – the slum dwellers in developing countries.
At the local level UN-HABITAT strives to help cities in developing countries to address climate change and, at the national, regional and global levels, to raise awareness and to help counterparts to build the capacities needed to enable cities and local governments to address climate change effectively. Cities have the potential to influence the causes of climate change and they have the solutions to advance climate protection. The success of adaptation critically depends on the availability of necessary resources, not only financial, but also knowledge, technical capability, institutional resources and tools.
UN-Habitat's Cities and Climate Change Initiative (CCCI) seeks to enhance the preparedness and mitigation activities of cities in developing and least developed countries. It emphasises good governance, responsibility, leadership and practical initiatives for local governments, communities and citizens. Building on UN-HABITAT's long experience in sustainable urban development, the Cities and Climate Change Initiative helps counterparts to develop and implement pro-poor and innovative climate change policies and strategies. CCCI also is developing a suite of tools to support city-leaders and practitioners in addressing the impact of climate change (adaptation) and to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation). To these ends UN-HABITAT is working closely with a diverse range of partners: donors, governments at all levels, other UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations, institutions of research and higher learning, capacity building and training agencies, land and property organizations, and private sector entities, among others.