Co-learning: how-tos of greater urban environmental protection

View over a big city.Click to enlarge
A major environmental problem facing large cities in other countries: air pollution.
Source: Susanne Kambor / Umweltbundesamt

Air pollution, climate change, land sealing, waste and water management are some of the greatest environmental challenges for urban areas. To tackle these challenges, cities need sufficient funds, staff, technical innovation, political commitment, and a national framework and incentives. An UBA study examined six urban areas in six countries.

The aim of the “Urban environmental protection international” study was to determine the problems and challenges of urban environmental protection in various cities around the world and identify the strategies which they pursue. The selected cases Belo Horizonte/Brazil, Moscow/Russia, Kochi/India, Beijing/China, Cape Town/South Africa and Jakarta/Indonesia were analysed for their innovative approaches and the influence of national political priorities on urban policy making. The study identified factors of success as well as the reasons behind successful approaches.

Factors of success for urban environmental protection and sustainable urban development

The case studies determined that the biggest challenges facing urban environmental protection are air pollution, climate change and its effects, land sealing/land degradation, waste management and water management – challenges in all of the case studies worldwide. It is primarily massive financial and human resources, investments in technical capabilities as well as the political willingness of the respective authorities that improve the capacity of countries and cities to tackle urban environmental protection.

Other success factors and ways to promote sustainable urban development and capacity building (e.g. better staffing and funding in the relevant authorities) in particular are enforcement of local targets through national regulation, monetary incentives at the national level, and facilitation of local ambitions through national directives. These factors help to address the traditional challenges of urban environmental protection as well as new and emerging problems.

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 Urban environmental protection  Peer-to-Peer Learning  sustainable urban development