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World Bank

Climate Change Adaptation Planning in Latin American and Caribbean Cities

river water rising

ICF was commissioned by the World Bank to carry out the second phase activities for the initiative Climate Change Adaptation Planning in Latin American and Caribbean Cities (LAC). This initiative started in April 2010 and was completed in early 2013.

The wider initiative sought both to build and to strengthen capacities for adaptation to climate change in LAC cities. The primary focus was on cities in the region less likely to have had access to climate change adaptation training, finance, or knowledge networks. In practice, this implied a focus on medium and small sized cities, as larger cities have more human and financial resources to draw on.

Five medium-sized cities were therefore selected:

  • Castries, Saint Lucia
  • Cusco, Peru
  • El Progreso, Honduras
  • Esteli, Nicaragua
  • Santos, Brazil

For each city, the following activities were conducted:

  • Climate-related risks assessment for floods and landslides – considered how flood and landslide hazards may change by approximately the mid twenty-first century
  • Urban, social, and economic adaptive capacity assessment – conducted socioeconomic assessment, and ascertained the exposure and sensitivity of urban residents to current and future flood and landslide hazards. This included a thorough analysis of spatial expansion patterns in each of the case study cities, and how spatial expansion trends have led to increased exposure to flood and landslide risks
  • Institutional adaptive capacity assessment – assessed the willingness of stakeholders to share their experience in planning, primarily for urban development and disaster risk rather than for climate change itself, permitted a full institutional assessment
  • Climate-related vulnerability and risk assessment – identified and mapped, to the degree possible, the most vulnerable city neighbourhoods and populations and exposed infrastructures to floods and landslides hazards, both currently and in the future
  • Combined strategic climate adaptation investment and institutional strengthening plan – identified and then prioritised a set of strategic climate adaptation investments and institutional strengthening interventions. The plans drew on the conclusions and the feedback obtained during workshops held in all cities

The project contributed to the design to inform policy making and climate change adaptation planning n small and medium sized cities in LAC. The project allowed for the application of the Urban Risk Assessment (URA) tool and the drawing of valuable lessons which may also be applicable to the many methods and tools available for climate change adaptation planning in the rapidly urbanising cities of developing countries.