Red Cross/ Red Crescent Climate Centre

A greener future for the world’s cities: low-cost urban action for community volunteers

11/03/2021 - by Roop Singh, Climate Centre, New York

The Red Cross Red Crescent is today launching a set of resources including videos for National Society branches and other community-based organizations working on urban resilience.

The new Urban Action Kit, comprising a guidebook and downloadable activity cards in 12 languages covers communications, nature-based solutions, water and sanitation, urban agriculture, health, early warning early action, and liveability.

The kit is “a quick-start, low-cost, do-it-yourself guide to urban-resilience activities that will increase a community-based organization’s visibility and engagement on urban issues,” according to an introduction.

The activities detailed in the kit and being presented at an online workshop require little funding or none, and make use of existing networks and skills.

“Rapid growth, if unplanned, will increase the number of people exposed to  floods, droughts, heatwaves, disease, and other hazards,” said IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain, “and the urban poor will bear the brunt since they tend to live in high-risk areas.

“The need for sustainable measures to build resilience is growing due to climate change, and local government, communities, the Red Cross Red Crescent, the private sector, and academia can together foster sustainable, green and inclusive urban development. 

‘Urbanization catalyses sharing of social, cultural
and natural capital, but the path to sustainability
starts with inclusive and scalable local action’

Mr Chapagain said volunteers could undertake the activities detailed in the kit using existing resources, networks and community organization.

“Urbanization is transformative,” he concluded. “It catalyses sharing of social, cultural and natural capital, but the path to sustainability starts with inclusive and scalable local action.”

The Urban Action Kit was developed by the IFRC and Climate Centre, the GDPC, Wetlands International, and the Resurgence group, with support from the German and Netherlands Red Cross, Partners for Resilience, and Climate KIC.

It assumes that users will have access to volunteer networks and some familiarity with skills associated with, mainly, disaster management, first aid, and community health.

Each module contains an overview, activities, case studies and a global link; the activities can be implemented together or singly.

It aims to broaden the work on urban resilience that National Societies and other agencies are already engaged in by using their existing capacities and, often very limited, resources; and to underpin partnerships with other urban actors and organizations as well as possible fund-raising.

Medellín’s 30 Green Corridors project won the 2019 Ashden Awards in the category ‘Cooling for People’. The Colombian city is a case study in a new Urban Action Kit created by the Climate Centre and partners on behalf of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. (Photo: ACI Medellín)