Climate change may push up to 77 million urban residents into poverty by 2030

A World Bank report cautions that the urban poor will bear the brunt of losses if cities don’t become more resilient to natural disasters, shocks, and stresses


It stated that rising numbers of natural disasters, as well as a growing number of economic, social, and environmental shocks and stresses, pose the greatest risk to rapidly-growing cities. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
It stated that rising numbers of natural disasters, as well as a growing number of economic, social, and environmental shocks and stresses, pose the greatest risk to rapidly-growing cities. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

New Delhi: By 2030, without significant investment into making cities more resilient, climate change may push up to 77 million more urban residents into poverty, said a new report released by the World Bank on Wednesday.

The report ‘Investing in Urban Resilience’ by the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) comes a few days ahead of the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development in Ecuador from 17– 20 October.

It stated that rising numbers of natural disasters, as well as a growing number of economic, social, and environmental shocks and stresses, pose the greatest risk to rapidly-growing cities.

The report cautions that failing to invest in making cities more resilient to natural disasters, shocks, and stresses will result in significant human and economic damages —with the urban poor bearing the brunt of losses.

“If high climate impact coincides with inequitable access to basic infrastructure and services, natural disasters will force tens of millions of urban dwellers into extreme poverty and may cost cities worldwide $314 billion each year by 2030, up from around $250 billion today,” the report noted.

It said that urban areas are home to 55% of the world’s population and engines of global growth as they contribute to 80% of global GDP.

“However, the high density of people, jobs, and assets which make cities so successful, also makes them—and global industry—extremely vulnerable to the wide range of natural and man-made shocks and stresses increasingly affecting them today,” it added.

“Rapid growth, without efforts to boost resilience, is exposing cities around the world to huge risk. Population growth and human migration are on the rise, and climate change is poised to have dramatic effects, which means we’re approaching a tipping point for the safety of cities all over the world. We need to invest today in resilience measures that will help secure a safe and prosperous future for our cities and the people who live in them,” said Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, senior director for the World Bank’s social, urban, rural and resilience global practice.

The report pointed out that 60% of the areas, expected to be urban by 2030, are yet to be built, while one billion new housing units will be needed to house the world’s growing population by 2060.

Emphasizing that the money to ensure this development is safe and resilient does exist, the report said $106 trillion in institutional capital, in the form of pension and sovereign wealth-funds alone, are available worldwide for potential investment.

The World Bank analysis counted obstacles like lack of local government capacity to plan, finance, and implement resilience projects, high up-front costs and lack of private-sector confidence that are limiting resilience investments in many developing cities.

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