The Impact of Decentralization and Urban Governance on Building Inclusive and Resilient Cities

Published on 20 Jan 2014


As the Asia-Pacific region continues to rapidly urbanize, many of the region’s development challenges – job creation and poverty reduction, governance and access to services, and environmental sustainability – will be increasingly focused in its cities. The region’s urban centres hold the key to a sustainable and inclusive future, with the dual challenge of supporting the urban poor and responding to climate change. While climate change presents numerous shortcomings in the urban context, impacts are expected to hit those living in poverty the hardest.


The briefs bring forward some of the critical issues from ten municipal government representatives from the region discussed at a joint workshop on ‘Climate Change and Pro-Poor Urban Governance’ in October 2012. Building on the discussion at the workshop, the issue brief series aims to (i) highlight the key linkages between the issues of climate change and inclusive and sustainable urbanization; (ii) provide references for policy makers, practitioners and other relevant stakeholders with the view to facilitate ongoing discussion on how to develop climate change response strategies that are pro-poor and inclusive; and (iii) encourage the exchange of knowledge and experiences within the Asia-Pacific region.

Key Messages

  • Decentralization is a context-driven and country specific process. The level and type of decentralization in a country will determine the mandates and financial resources that local governments, both rural and urban, have to address specific issues.
  • Improved and inclusive urban governance, and greater resilience to climate-induced shocks should be part of broader governance reforms in countries, particularly local governance and development planning.
  • Improvements in public participation, transparency, accountability, responsiveness and equity are required for local governments in urban areas to respond more effectively to the challenges posed by climate change.
  • More effective responses to climate change challenges in urban areas require better coordination among sectoral departments that deliver climate related activities and urban governments. Such a whole-of- government approach will enable a more comprehensive response to the multiple challenges posed by climate change.
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  • The Impact of Decentralization and Urban Governance on Building Inclusive and Resilient Cities English