Earth today | Urban adaptation: example of defense against floods in Mongolia | News

Earth today |  Urban adaptation: example of defense against floods in Mongolia |  News

AS CITIES expand and the impacts of climate change worsen, urban adaptation is crucial.

By 2050, around 68% of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas, while more than 1.6 billion people in 970 cities will face regular heat waves and summer temperatures exceeding 35 degrees Celsius.

While adaptation efforts have historically focused on rural areas, a project in Mongolia, which integrates a wide range of initiatives and aims to build the resilience of high-risk communities, is directly confronting the burden of urban climate impacts .

The country has seen a warming of more than two degrees Celsius since records began in 1940 and is now experiencing climate-related hazards such as extreme rainfall, high winds and snowstorms, which are only intensifying. .

Most vulnerable to these changes are the traditional settlements, known as ger districts, which are often established on lowlands and mountain slopes, susceptible to runoff and therefore flooding.

“These floods affect houses and other property, and cause latrines to overflow, heavily polluting water and soil, which in turn leads to increased cases of diseases often affecting children,” said Enkhtsetseg Shagdarsuren. , project manager of UN-Habitat Mongolia.

“Extreme flooding is increasingly being recorded in these areas, not only destroying homes and property, but also causing deaths,” she added.

Seven ger districts in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, have been chosen for the adaptation project, and UN-Habitat’s work to improve communities’ flood adaptation infrastructure began in 2019.

Made possible by a $4.5 million grant from the Adaptation Fund, the project has a multifaceted and participatory approach to maximizing adaptive capacities at district and community levels.

“Focusing on floods, the project aims to increase the resilience of ger areas through the construction of physical infrastructure against floods and the improvement of sanitation services; improved knowledge on flood risk and risk exposure and vulnerability for ger areas; and improving the resilience and adaptive capacity of target communities,” Shagdarsuren said.

In addition to tangible developments, such as improved flood services, the project brings together action and training groups, 10 to 20 households at a time, where community members learn and share in an environment that encourages outreach, communication and a friendly community spirit.

Today, 89 groups, half of which are led by women, have been formed and are developing and implementing local action plans. Five flood protection and drainage facilities were also constructed.

More than 27,000 people have so far benefited from increased flood protection and 6,000 have improved sanitation infrastructure, while a further million people in the capital benefit indirectly.

Source: Adaptation Fund

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