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Leadership Development Programme (LDP) in Urban Resilience and Sustainable Cities


Leadership for Environment and Development is an innovative concept which is as novel and relevant to development action today as it was in 1992 when it was incepted after Rio Conference. Since then, more than 3000 professionals worldwide and 200 in Pakistan have joined the movement as LEADers in their respective communities and sectors. Leadership development is a pledge to better contribute to sustainable development of the planet. It is a continuous journey that starts with uniquely designed capacity building and skills enhancement fellowship training and results in promoting local action for the most pressing global development challenges.

As 50% of mankind is now urbanized, the cities and urban centers have become centers of development challenges and opportunities. The battle for economic growth, climate change, poverty alleviation and health of communities will be lost and won in cities in the 21st century. Given its vital importance, the 19th cohort of Leadership development has been themed around urbanization and titled as “Urban Resilience and Sustainable Cities”.

First Session – Sustainable Urban Planning

The population and economic growth imperatives have both lead to uncontrolled and unplanned spread of human settlements and urban sprawl in Pakistan resulting in inequitable development, environmental degradation and poor delivery of municipal services. Because of these problems, the country is unable to reap the benefits of agglomeration. Proper Urban Planning enables the designing of human settlements from the smallest towns to the largest cities. This is a technical and political process concerned with the use of land, protection and use of the environment, public welfare, and the design of the urban environment, including air, water, and the infrastructure passing into and out of urban areas such as transportation, communications, and distribution networks.

There is a dearth of expertise in Pakistan on various aspects of urban planning such as research and analysis, strategic thinking, architecture, urban design, public consultation, policy formulation, zoning, use of geo-spatial technologies and land use management. The first session of the 19th LDP Cohort will focus on various aspects of urban planning and provide exposure to associates through interaction with practitioners in the field (especially from UI, Oxfam, CDIA and IGC), available knowledge and international best practices.

Second Session – Urban Resilience

Most of mega cities of the world are highly vulnerable to extreme shocks and chronic stresses including floods, storms, heatwaves, earthquakes, pandemics and crime. Cities in Pakistan are increasingly becoming prone to these hazards especially because of exponential expansion of secondary cities and prevailing economic growth models. The urban resilience not only depends on exposure and impacts of natural and anthropogenic hazards but also on capacity of the communities to prepare and respond to the extreme shocks that are likely to frequent more under global climate change. Urban resilience development is a cumulative and inclusive process that involves risk assessments, institutional strengthening, monitoring, financing, community participation and awareness raising.

LEAD Pakistan has conducted urban risk assessment studies in Pakistan and developed vulnerability assessment tools and LAPAs for some cities and regions. In the second session of the cohort, the lessons from some of these projects will be shared, the vulnerability assessment toolkits will be introduced, and local and international case studies will be presented by famed resource persons from the partner organizations (such as Oxfam Novib, CDKN, and NDMA etc.) as well as other stakeholders. Field trips to project areas will be a part of this session.

Third Session – Low Carbon Urban Development

Currently, the cities in Pakistan and other developing countries are energy guzzlers mainly because of prevalent energy intensive housing and infrastructure development, modes of transport and lifestyles. They are being developed and expanded for vehicles and not for mobility of humans. Various initiatives are being taken by national and city governments in association with international development agencies (such as ICLEI, Rockefeller Foundation and World Bank), private sectors and communities to reduce carbon footprint of cities and make them livable, walkable, connected and inclusive. For this purpose, mixed land use planning, development of pedestrian and cycling pathways, provision of parks and open spaces, technological connectivity, wastewater treatment and recycling, rooftop solar panel installations and mass transit options are being introduced in a host of Asian and Latin American countries. India has launched its 100 Smart Cities Program under which union, state and city governments have pooled their resources to transform their leading cities. A diverse group of cities have partnered with Rockefeller Foundation under 100 Resilient Cities Program to receive technical expertise for increasing their resilience in the face of disasters and other climate stresses. Technological Giants like Cisco are also helping cities for their smart development. The World Bank is facilitating aspiring cities to improve their creditworthiness and performance to increase their access to international credit facilities and global climate finance windows.

As part of CDKN consortium, LEAD Pakistan has got the knowledge base and learning on the success factors and preconditions, drivers and barriers to subnational CCD which has been collected during implementation of CDKN projects in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In another instance, Ministry of Climate Change and Chamber of Commerce and Industry is being assisted in developing Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions for Sialkot which is essentially about identifying low carbon development action plan and promoting renewable energy options for the city. The cohort associates will be exposed to some of these local and international initiatives as potential champions of low carbon development in their respective sectors and cities.

Fourth Session – Role of Cities to Achieve SDGs

The United Nations has recently adopted the new international development agenda till 2030 in the form of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 11th goal is explicitly about making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. However, a cursory glance of the list shows that the battle for achieving 12 out of 17 SDGs will be won or lost in cities during the next 15 years. Keeping in view of the vintage position of cities, UN is working with national governments to create a pattern of sustainable urban development and foster a new model of city based on implementation of laws, urban planning and design and improved municipal finance systems for redistribution of parts of urban value generated. This will be showcased and agreed upon in Habitat III conference in October 2016 in continuation of the momentum generated by global agreements on disaster management, SDGs and Climate Change during 2015.

The fourth session will let the associates think how equity and social justice can be incorporated into a reformed urban agenda. Each of them will conduct research on various aspects of the emerging agenda in association with practitioners from leading organizations and prepare policy briefs for guidance of the decision makers of the country.

Fifth Session – Graduation