A recent World Bank report revealed the need to invest $4.5 trillion annually in urban infrastructure, indicating that making it low-carbon and climate-resilient requires increasing investment by 9% to 27%.
The World Bank’s recommendation comes at a time when a UN forum under the theme of “Transforming Our Cities for a Better Urban Future” warned against an increase in the carbon infrastructure of cities.
The World Urban Forum, organized by UN-Habitat, stressed the need to create a better urban future, achieve sustainable development goals at the level of cities, and address the challenges of climate change.
It also emphasized the importance of raising awareness around sustainable urbanization through exchanging experiences, learning from past lessons, and increasing cooperation among relevant authorities.
Representative of UN-Habitat in the Arab World Erfan Ali said that achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, which is to maintain global warming at the safe limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius, required making the infrastructure of cities low-carbon and resilient.
“We look forward to cooperating with the Kingdom (Saudi Arabia) within the framework of this initiative (UN-Habitat) at the level of the Middle East region,” Ali told Asharq Al-Awsat.
According to Ali, UN-Habitat is working in more than 90 countries to support sustainable urban development by increasing knowledge, providing policy advice, technical support, and participatory work.
He added that technical support by UN-Habitat is being given to national and local governments and stakeholders to address urban challenges.
Ali noted that Saudi plans related to the sustainability of cities, such as the Green Riyadh Initiative, are considered some of the biggest initiatives on the national and regional levels.
He said that the Kingdom’s initiatives stand to prove the state’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions and their negative climate impact.
Moreover, the Kingdom’s initiatives increase access to green spaces in a way that boosts the sustainability of cities.