Urbanisation and climate change are intertwined, and cities are at the frontline. Due to climate change, cities are being affected by extreme weather events and heat waves, due to rising temperatures. These challenges create further problems for services, infrastructure, housing, livelihoods and the wellbeing of residents.

The prices of energy and food are also rising, causing further problems, especially for the most vulnerable. There are 3 billion people living in areas that are hit the worst by climate change and 1 billion in vulnerable settlements.

Climate change can affect urbanisation as populations can become displaced and socio-economic challenges can be increased. Cities also carry a large proportion of the blame for climate change as they release large amounts of greenhouse gases. There are also many cities that are big drivers for climate action and have implemented solutions to combat emissions, adaptation and working towards becoming net zero.

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report stated that cities must play a major part in climate action, which has been mentioned within the Paris Agreement and at COP26.

Key barriers
Access to technology and innovation: Technology can reduce GHG emissions by 90% by 2050 and has the potential to create 87 million jobs by 2030. There are many cities that cannot access this technology due to research and action gaps.

Equity: Urban vulnerable groups are more likely to suffer from the effects of climate change, even though they emit the least GHG emissions. Globally, the impacts of climate change are unevenly distributed.

Finance: 21% of the climate finance for cities goes to adaption and resilience, 10% reach local level.

Local capacity: There is currently a staffing problem in local governments, due to being understaffed. In the South, there is a low capacity for development planning and implementation.

Multi-level governance: NDCs are not enough to respond to the climate emergency and there is an urgent need for co-operative and multi-level action.

Surge builds
Strengthen the implementation of the climate agenda in and with cities:
By creating more ambitious NDCs that include commitments from local governments and working towards achieving the Paris Agreement targets.

Unlock urban climate finance: Set up context-specific finance mechanisms with governments, facilitate access to finance with development banks, implement global projects with city networks and partners, and create a pipeline of bankable projects.

Build capacity: Through working with city networks and partners.

Accelerate technology and innovation in cities: Through working with city networks and partners to support solutions.

Ensure equity: Projects must support and benefit those that are the most vulnerable.

Urban settlements, infrastructure and its resilience must be turned into opportunities within economy, society and politics, in order for resilience towards climate impacts and sustainable development to increase.

Governments that are local, regional and national, must work with partners, stakeholders and rightsholders to decarbonise and create resilient cities.

10 Guiding Principles

  1. Low carbon
  2. Resilient
  3. Nature-positive
  4. Fair, equitable and inclusive
  5. Multi-level climate governance and climate planning
  6. Integrated
  7. Locally led and culturally positive
  8. Circular
  9. Financing enabling
  10. Health promoting

SURGe’s 5 Tracks

  1. Building and housing
  2. Urban water
  3. Urban mobility
  4. Urban waste/consumption
  5. Urban energy