Cities on the Frontline: Climate Resilient Urban Sanitation
Sep 09, 2021
This session of 2021 Cities on the Frontline Speaker Series, jointly organized by Resilient Cities Network and the World Bank, co-hosted with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) will focus on Climate Resilient Urban Sanitation.
Our climate is rapidly changing, with impacts acutely observed in urban areas where 55 percent of the world’s population lives. Impacts are most prominently felt on the water cycle; however, drought, flooding, and other extreme weather events are also impacting sanitation systems. Although sanitation is a critical urban system and service, it is not widely considered a climate change issue. Yet, as we are seeing across cities in Africa and Asia, rampant pollution, droughts, and floods are impacting the safe management of stormwater, wastewater, and fecal sludge and critical infrastructure systems cities depend on undermining the development of urban economies and the well-being of their populations. Heavy precipitation leads to more untreated wastewater and stormwater, and flooding can not only damage physical sanitation infrastructure but often impacts service provision. On-site sanitation systems, such as latrines and septic tanks are easily affected by flood events causing significant public health risks. Droughts and limited water availability impact piped sewer networks, as they need sufficient water for operation. As such, the necessity for climate resilient and sustainable wastewater management is continuously increasing.
Furthermore, sanitation can be a crucial driver for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Through investments in resilient sanitation systems, public health can be safeguarded and a sustainable economy around sanitation services can be created. Against the background of acute water shortages wastewater treatment and reuse are becoming increasingly significant, not only to protect environments and water resources from contamination but to augment freshwater use. This will foster innovation as a pivotal component of combating climate change at the global scale. Building holistic urban resilience requires that cities gain a better understanding of their sanitation challenges and seek to solve them holistically in the context of a changing climate and while recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Featured Event Speakers
Christopher Wenzel, Deputy Head of Division, Water, Sanitation, Hygiene at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Mintje Büürma, Policy Advisor, Sector Program Sustainable Sanitation, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) will present and discuss the study “Climate Resilient Urban Sanitation: Accelerating the Convergence of Sanitation and Climate Action”, produced in partnership with R-Cities.
Kapanda Kapanda, an Independent Consultant with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Hardeep Anand, P.E., Deputy Director, Capital Improvement Program, Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department, and Khoo Teng Chye, Practice Professor, School of Design and Environment and Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore, and Fellow, at the Centre for Liveable Cities, Singapore, will share insights on how their cities approach resilient urban sanitation.