Moderated by Ms. Martina Otto, Head of the Cities Unit at UN Environment, the event started with the official launch of the UN Environment publication officially launched the UN Environment publication entitled “Resilience and Resource Efficiency in Cities” co-authored by Dr. David Dodman of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), a member of the Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities. Dr. Dodman provided the audience with the key messages from the report: how a resilience agenda and a resource efficiency agenda have grounds for mutual reinforcement. He added that in spite of the possible tensions between the two, achieving both agendas at the city level can help meet broader sustainability objectives.
The session also involved a panel discussion with the participation of another GI-REC member represented by Mr. Blake Robinson of the Sustainability Institute in South Africa as a panel member. Also on the panel was Ms. Barbara Emanuel, Manager for the Food Strategy of the City of Toronto, Canada.
The Urban Metabolism framework, which shows allows for a city to be analyzed like an organism, and aids in the decision-making process through an analysis of the resource flows in a city. It was underlined that there are some difficulties in getting data (particularly on food) especially since a lot of the flows come from the informal sectors.
The panel also discussed the necessity for interconnections between different departments as a key point in building resilient cities. Moreover, it underlined the importance of equity. Those most vulnerable are those who are impacted in a disproportionate way, and that this and generational impacts should be taken into account.