Rapidly expanding urban settlements in the developing world face severe climatic risks in light of climate change. Urban populations will increasingly be forced to cope with increased incidents of flooding, air and water pollution, heat stress and vector-borne diseases. This research, undertaken with a set of partner research institutes, examines how to manage climate-related impacts in an urban context by promoting planned and autonomous adaptation in order to by improve resilience in a changing climate. It investigates the linkages between the characteristics of pro- poor good urban governance, climate adaptation and resilience, and poverty and sustainable development concerns. The paper develops an analytical framework by combining governance literature with rapid climate resilience assessments conducted in ten Asian cities. Based on this empirical data, we argue that a number of key characteristics can be identified to assess and build urban resilience to climate change in a way that reduces the vulnerability of the citizens most at risk from climate shocks and stresses. These characteristics form the basis of a climate resilient urban governance assessment framework, and include (1) decentralisation and autonomy, (2) accountability and transparency, (3) responsiveness and flexibility, (4) participation and inclusion and (5) experience and support. This framework can help to assist in the planning, design and implementation of urban climate change resilience-building programmes in the future.
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