Tackling climate risks in urban regions: relevance, approaches and solutions


Dr. Shen Xiaomeng (with Dominic Sett), UNU-EHS

Climate risks in urban regions are exacerbating as two global megatrends – climate change and urbanisation – are interacting with each other. Citizens are hence threatened by increasing extreme events, which manifest themselves in increasing impacts. This is often due to lack of access to services and protection, the extension of which cannot keep up with the speed of urban growth.

The presentation highlights two projects of UNU-EHS, which showcase how the described risk trends can be addressed to ensure future well-being. First, the project FloodAdapt Vietnam will be presented, which identifies drivers and risks of flooding, and develops adaptation options for mid-sized cities in central Vietnam. Second, the ZURES project will be introduced, which examined heat stress vulnerability and potential adaptation options for the City of Bonn in Germany. These examples will provide an introduction to the broad UNU-EHS research agenda.

Lastly, the presentation draws a link between UNU-EHS research and global efforts to achieving international policy agendas, such as the SDGs or the Sendai Framework. Additional examples will be provided to elaborate on how science can both translate into policy and be informed by policy.

About the speaker
Dr. Shen Xiaomeng is the Director of the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and concurrently the Vice-Rector of UNU in Europe. As the chief academic and administrative officer she leads the institute’s research agenda and links the research of UNU to key policy processes.

Dr. Shen has more than 15 years of experience in developing and managing large-scale multilateral science cooperation projects, especially between Europe and Asia/Oceania. She is an internationally renowned expert in the field of social vulnerability, environmentally induced migration issues and water–related disaster and risk research from cultural perspectives.

Dr. Shen holds a BA degree from the Beijing Foreign Studies University, a MA degree from the University of Bonn, and a PhD degree from the University of Bonn/UNU-EHS.

Dominic Sett is a junior researcher at UNU-EHS. As Project Associate in the VARMAP and MCII section, he is currently supporting the development of a strategy to achieve Adaptive Social Protection in Indonesia.

Mr. Sett has worked on various aspects of climate change adaptation, including water scarcity adaptation, vulnerability assessment, social protection and climate mainstreaming. His main research focus is on assessing adaptation options from multiple perspectives, with a particular interest in urban areas in Southern Africa and Southeast Asia.

Mr. Sett earned a BSc degree from the University of Bonn, and holds a Joint MSc degree from UNU-EHS and the University of Bonn.


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