The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the persistent systemic flaws and drastic inequality in our urban systems. The most marginalised and poorest populations were hit hardest not only by the virus, but also by the associated global economic crisis. The pandemic has highlighted the challenges in our existing system that render communities vulnerable to future systemic challenges: economic crises, climate change and other future pandemics.
Various grassroots organisations across the globe have taken up a proactive role and adopted innovative ways to respond to Covid-19. They have developed their own localized coping mechanisms such as sharing resources among communities lacking basic services, setting up hotlines for domestic abuse, and diversifying livelihoods. In spite of limitations in their mobility and activities, the civil society groups have extended themselves to meet the needs of local communities during the crisis using their critical networks, experience and knowledge in building resilience.
As we begin to move towards post-Covid society, our focus should be to ‘build back better’ with collective efforts from all sectors of society including decision-makers, policy-makers, practitioners, community-based organization, grass-root organisations and citizens.
The session is organised by ICLEI South Asia and SouthSouthNorth under the Climate Development Knowledge Network-Knowledge Accelerator (CDKN- KA) project. The session highlights the joint initiative of International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and Climate Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) – Voices from the Frontline – that shares Covid-19 responses from communities across the globe where grassroots groups have been proactive in innovative ways to respond to the pandemic.
The event calls upon local government, cities, donors and multi-lateral organisations to actively support community-led initiatives that build resilience. The event shares the benefits of such community led and owned resilience initiatives as well as revealing some of the challenges faced by communities in urban settings as a result of urban planning and implementation.
The outcomes from the session include:
- Increased awareness of the value of community led and owned initiatives in building resilience
- An understanding of how local government, donors and others can better support community led initiatives
- Recognition of the linkage between local community empowerment and resilience to climate impacts
- Emani Kumar, ICLEI South Asia
- Dr. Shehnaaz Moosa, Climate & Development Knowledge Network
- Dr. Saleemul Huq, International Centre for Climate Change & Development (ICCCAD)
- Rose Molokoane, Shack Dwellers International
- Sarah Nandudu, Shack Dwellers International
- Dr. Deon Nel, Global Resilience Partnership (GRP)