Cities Fit for Climate Change

Project Description

Title: Cities Fit for Climate Change
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI)
Countries: Global: Chile, India, South Africa
Lead executing agencies: Chile: Ministerio de Vivienda y Urbanismo (MINVU); India: Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD); South Africa: Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA)
Overall term: 2015 to 2019

1_Durban_Amina Schild, GIZ


Cities are responsible for the climate-sensitive development of their urban areas. While they are major contributors to climate change, they are also particularly vulnerable to its consequences. By taking appropriate measures, cities can make a significant contribution to mitigating climate change and increase their resilience to climate-related shocks. However, existing integrated urban development instruments and strategies as well as regulations and financing options must be adapted to the new challenges posed by climate change. In addition, cities in the future must look different to today.


As stakeholders in sustainability, cities apply a new climate-proof urban development approach.

3_Santiago_Kilian Christ


Instruments for integrated, climate-sensitive urban development are to facilitate the creation of a climate-proof urban development approach. Climate-proofing means that city development strategies, urban designs, land use and master plans, and all related investments are resilient and adaptable to the current and future impacts of climate change. Furthermore, they must take climate change mitigation considerations into account.

The project supports innovative solutions for urban planning and makes cities fit for climate change. Tackling climate change needs to become an integrated and strategic element of urban development. Plans, programmes strategies and the associated investments are being made more resilient and adapted to current and future impacts of climate change.

The project supports its partner cities – Chennai (India), Santiago de Chile (Chile) and Durban (eThekwini, South Africa) – in developing their climate-sensitive strategies and their own sources of financing. 
The experiences of the partner cities shared at international conferences will help to support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process and contribute to the implementation of the ‘New Urban Agenda’, the international agreement of the Habitat III process. The project is guided by the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities. 



In South Africa, the project supported the eThekwini Municipality by developing a comprehensive Climate Resilience Implementation Plan for Spatial Planning (CRISP). The tool promotes a stronger integration between existing climate change responses and the spatial planning regime. By integrating the CRISP into the cities’ Spatial Development Framework, resilience factors are increasingly considered and budgeted for. The newly established cross-departmental steering committee support the implementation of the CRISP.

In Chile, an integrated climate-proof urban planning is realised by bringing actors from different departments and governmental levels together in the ‘Metropolitan Climate Change Platform’ (MCCP). As part of the MCCP and in cooperation with a Chilean government programme, two municipalities were supported in developing a climate-proof integrated urban development concept. The Chilean government plans to replicate this concept in other cities and to integrate it in further government programmes. 

In India, the focus was on capacity build¬ing of government stakeholders through training and awareness raising on mainstreaming climate change into urban development. The training event took place with officials of the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC). The Buckingham Canal is one of the city´s most challenging features in terms of climate-proof measures. In order to make it a climate-proof and liveable public space, an open urban design competition was conducted in 2018 in close cooperation with the GCC and local NGOs. The three winning teams elaborated concrete innovative proposals for a climate-proof development. 

In all three partner cities an International Dialogue Forum was held successfully with participants from all partner cities and other German and European cities, such as Leipzig, Malmö, Munich, Nuremberg, Frankfurt a. M., Hagen and Stuttgart. The city representatives shared their insights into climate-proof urban development and benefited from peer-to-peer exchanges. 

The Sourcebook, which is the knowledge product of the project, includes a conceptual approach derived from the project results: the Climate-Proof Urban Development Approach (ClimPUDA). Combined with examples from cities around the world, the Sourcebook and the proposed ClimPUDA contribute to an international learning and exchange platform in climate-proof urban development.


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