Develop a National Economic Development Strategy — and place Cities at its Heart.
Nothing impedes progress more than a disjointed approach. To spur action and investments across sectors and ministries, a shared national vision is crucial.As economic engines that produce 80% of the world’s GDP and are home to 56% of the world’s population, cities will need to be at the core of national net-zero strategies.
Pursue national policies to support cities that are compact, connected, clean and resilient.
Urban transformation toward more compact, connected, clean and resilient cities can support a wide range of development priorities, including enhanced economic competitiveness, improved public health, higher living standards and reduced pollution. It is needed that governments introduce national policies that prevent urban sprawl, which creates a barrier for provision for municipal services and converts urban systems into slums.
India is one country that has pursued national policies to support urban transformation. Its National Mission for Sustainable Habitat aids cities in tackling climate risk and fostering clean, inclusive and sustainable development. Meanwhile its new Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework uses 28 indicators to assess cities’ vulnerabilities and potential for action on energy and green buildings, urban planning, green spaces and biodiversity, mobility, air quality, water and waste management. Nearly 100 cities across the country now use the tool’s knowledge-sharing platform to learn from each other’s experiences and implement best practices to create a more compact, connected and clean city.
Fund and Finance Green urban Infrastructure.
Funding sustainable and resilient urban infrastructure such as public transport and green buildings offers the potential for enormous economic returns to national governments as a result of energy and material savings.
Support of Local Climate Action in Cities through Governance and fiscal reforms that enable local government leadership and facilitate collaboration.
In order to create an environment that empowers local leaders and mayors to take even greater action on climate, national governments can push through policy and fiscal reforms to secure investment and create metropolitan authorities to foster collaboration and an integrated approach.
For instance, in South Africa, reforming the Electricity Regulation Act should soon enable municipalities to procure their own clean energy, thereby improving access to renewables. Some municipalities such as eThekwini, which encompasses the city of Durban, now plan to build their own renewable generation capacity mainly from wind and solar, reducing their reliance on the central grid system.
Prioritisation of measures to build Resilience and Expand Economic Opportunities for the Poor.
National governments should not be fearful that there will be job losses from the transition to a low-carbon economy. Decarbonizing cities has the potential to create millions of new jobs and could catalyze a just transition. Recent analysis from Vivid Economics for the Coalition for Urban Transitions found that about 31 million new jobs could be created in 2030 in China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa by adopting low-carbon measures modelled in the report versus the business-as-usual alternative.
Work with the private sector to help finance urban transformation.
In order to meet the financing gap for sustainable urban infrastructure, we’ll need a significant increase in investment both in the public and private sectors. National governments can promote policies that stimulate and de-risk private sector investment and encourage public-private partnerships.