Urban migration is increasing the risk of natural and man-made disasters

Urban migration is increasing the risk of natural and man-made disasters

Each week, 1.4 million people migrate to cities and urban areas around the world. This poses significant challenges and increases the risk of natural and man-made disasters. 

In his message for World Cities Day, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guerres warned of the risks this high level of urban migration creates, warning that 'hazards do not need to become disasters'. 

He added: 

" The answer is to build resilience- to storms, floods, earthquakes, fires, pandemics and economic crises." 

Cities around the world, such as Quito, Bangkok, and Johannesburg are working toward increasing sustainability and resiliency. 

Quito's local government has reclaimed 200,000+ hectares of land to reduce erosion, safeguard the city's freshwater supply and boost flood protection. 

In Bangkok, large underground water storage facilities were built to save water for drier periods and to cope with increased flood risks. 

Residents of Johannesburg have played a role by offering input into efforts to improve public spaces and services, using them for community events, recreation and sports. 

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme discussed the danger of environmental threats and commented: 

"It has been estimated that without action on climate change- which accounts for just one facet of resilience some 77 million urban residents risk falling into poverty. Investing in resilience is a wise investment."

The World Cities Day 2018 theme of Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities focuses on the need to preserve human life and provide infrastructure and services after a crisis. The Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development currently serve as models for a more resilient and sustainable world. 

World Cities Day was established on 31 October 2013 by the United Nations to contribute to sustainable urban development around the world, promote the international community's interest in global urbanization, address challenges of urbanization and push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities. 


The AIDF Global Summit will return to Washington D.C, in 2019.

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Photo Credit: UN News 

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