Climate change is threatening to drive millions of people in urban areas into poverty in the coming decades, according to a recent World Bank report. However, cities around the world, especially in the developing world, are not sufficiently prepared to face climate-related disasters.
The report pointed out that the number of people who live on less than US$1.25 per day would increase by 77 million by 2030 from more than one billion today and development efforts made for decades would be in vain if governments fail to invest in projects that protect the poorest in cities from climate-linked disasters such as rising sea levels due to global warming.
With economic reform, the landscape of cities across Myanmar is rapidly changing. High-rise buildings are emerging here and there. However, most of them are business complexes and high-end condominiums for the rich. With the aim of attracting foreign investors and tourists, the priority is given to foreign investment and tourism infrastructure.
Although regional governments have just started efforts to build affordable apartments for the poor in the outskirts of cities, investment in disaster-proof new urban infrastructure that will help mitigate poverty for the urban poor cannot be sufficiently made due to tight budgets.
However, experts are warning city planners that failure to invest in disaster-proof new urban infrastructure will have to pay a higher price in the future and are calling for investment in resilient measures that are vital for a safe and prosperous future for cities.