Knowledge sharing and skill transfer: Increasing the capacity of developing countries with the help of developed countries.
You don’t have to make big investments to get people together and work on shared problems says Jose Miguel Martinez and with this he draws attention to common misconceptions that there is little collective will in society without some financial incentive to remove obstructions and face common challenges together. It is more a question of creating awareness and building the capacity of local and national governments to assess and manage the risks and vulnerabilities their cities face due to climate change.
David Wilk from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) identifies the common mistake made by governments is to focus on their urban areas and they tend to forget to encompass the urban-rural interface when assessing the risks their country’s infrastructure faces without intervention. Therefore, the IDB indicates three main pillars in their Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative (ESCI) which enables governments to have a comprehensive and somewhat holistic approach to managing risks and vulnerabilities: Environmental sustainability & climate change; Urban sustainability and Fiscal sustainability & good governance. Using these as a foundation to assess vulnerabilities, a broader view is developed and helps to recognize what impact resources and the lack of resources have, on urban and rural areas.
Facilitating the flow of information and resources from developed countries to developing countries is one of the aims of the USAID and IDB organizations. However, both point out that it is essential to make use of the local expertise and experience that has accumulated in the developing countries. What is missing in the developing countries is the specific knowledge and skills needed to tackle the vulnerabilities and risks in a systematic manner. Using this methodology helps to guarantee that governments have enough capacity to deliver services and manage emergency relief efforts in both rural and urban areas. It also creates awareness that it is necessary to assess the root causes of these vulnerabilities as well as the social problems attached to it. We tend to forget how to be creative with resources and look to innovation as the answer, yet it is only a part of development process: we need to nourish and support the social changes required to make our cities resilient and sustainable.
Nourishment comes in diverse forms, and the collective will to change and work towards a more ecological future is evident. From my perspective creativity is key in effectively managing our resources and using tools which give us a systematic overview can only be beneficial; although one must be wary of the profits that can be gained due to the lack of information known about the impact of climate change.
Written by Noelle Decuypere
Social Media Volunteer