Building a climate-resilient future

How cities can lead the way on World Cities Day.

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With 68 % of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, cities are at the frontline of climate change impacts and must adapt to survive. The theme for this year’s World Cities Day is “Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience”. ISO has thousands of standards to help.

Floods, droughts, landslides and heatwaves are just some of the many climate-related disasters our cities are facing and, with increasing urban migration, the pressure on cities has never been greater. Building the resilience of cities requires addressing a multitude of factors, including infrastructure, supply chains, transport and more. ISO has standards to help cities in all of these areas by providing international best practice and a common language to support the actions, technologies, measurement and benchmarking that are necessary to halt global warming and bring carbon emissions down.

ISO’s series of standards for security and resilience covers a range of aspects dedicated to helping cities and organizations weather the storms. ISO/TR 22370, Security and resilience – Urban resilience – Framework and principles, is aligned with key global agreements including the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the New Urban Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework. Developed by technical committee ISO/TC 292, Security and resilience, the technical report outlines metrics and models as the framework upon which to structure urban resilience to assist local authorities and other urban stakeholders in their efforts to build more resilient human settlements.

ISO/TR 22370 is supported by a number of other standards in the committee’s portfolio, including those for community resilience and emergency management. The future ISO 22371Security and resilience – Urban resilience – Framework, model and guidelines for strategy and implementation, intends to help national and local governments build their capacity to face the new challenges arising from climate change and shifting demographics. Its development was initiated by UN-Habitat, the United Nations programme for a better urban future and the organization behind World Cities Day.

Sustainable development in cities is a key element of resilience and ISO’s expert committee ISO/TC 268, Sustainable cities and communities, is dedicated to developing standards that support this goal. Its flagship standard ISO 37101, Sustainable development in communities – Management system for sustainable development – Requirements with guidance for use, provides an overall framework of what a sustainable community is and how to achieve one.

Directly aimed at city leaders, this management system standard covers everything a city must address to become smarter, such as responsible resource use, environmental management, citizens’ health and well-being, governance, mobility and more. ISO 37101 is supported by a number of different standards in areas such as terminology and key indicators for measuring the performance of city services.

Recognizing that International Standards are powerful tools to support climate change challenges, ISO has recently committed to the London Declaration, which pledges to make ISO standards an essential component in driving climate action in the future.

The Declaration emphasizes the important role of International Standards in assisting communities, organizations and industries in the transition to cleaner, renewable energy sources. Standards can also help to preserve biodiversity at the same time as opening up markets for innovations that address global environmental challenges.

To support this commitment, ISO has developed a “Climate Action Kit”, a collection of case studies to support policy makers in their efforts to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions. The case studies demonstrate how national and international standards can support public policies and influence climate change initiatives.

Find out more about how ISO standards can help create the world’s cities of the future in the informative brochure ISO and sustainable cities or contact your national ISO member.

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