Metropolitan Recife advances the coordination of intermunicipal actions for disaster and climate resilience with UNDRR and ICLEI

Source(s): United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction – Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean
Región metropolitana de Recife elabora acciones intermunicipales de resiliencia a desastres con UNDRR e ICLEI

Since Recife was awarded the title of Resilience Hub in February 2022, the city has been acting as a reference for other cities in Brazil, formulating a strong Local Climate Action Plan and advancing their sustainable urban development. After the tremendous impacts of the heavy rainfall in May 2022, Recife has been working to accelerate the implementation of resilient recovery actions. The municipality partnered with UNDRR and ICLEI, co-leaders of the MCR2030 initiative in the Americas and Caribbean, to accompany and support the process.

As a part of this partnership, ICLEI and UNDRR convoked the municipalities that were most affected by the last rainfall – Recife, Camaragibe, Jaboatão dos Guararapes, and Olinda – for a technical workshop on resilient disaster recovery from December 5 to 7, 2022.  

The 4 cities all applied UNDRR’s Quick Risk Estimation Tool and Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities, to cross-analyse risk exposure and vulnerability, as well as resilience capacities in the metropolitan area. The workshop was joined by representatives from the Executive Secretariat for Civil Defence of the four municipalities, as well as Recife’s Secretariat for Planning, Management and Digital Transformation;  Secretariat for Social Development and Human Rights; Executive Secretariat for Urban Policy and Permits; Executive Secretariat for Health Surveillance; Secretariat for Environment and Sustainability; and Secretariat for Infrastructure and Urban Services.  

“The work currently being done with UNDRR in post-disaster Recife is extremely important for ICLEI. Firstly, because disasters are increasingly challenging for Latin-American cities. No matter how prepared you think your city is, it needs to enhance its resilience capacities to face new risk scenarios. Investment in preparedness and mitigation will be fundamental for the disaster resilience of our communities.”

Keila Ferreira, Resilience and Low-Carbon Coordinator, ICLEI Brazil

With the technical guidance of Keila Ferreira, Resilience and Low-Carbon Coordinator at ICLEI Brazil, and Clément Da Cruz, MCR2030 Junior Officer at UNDRR, Recife, Camaragibe, Jaboatão dos Guararapes, and Olinda first assessed their common challenges in risk exposure and vulnerability. They mainly prioritized the mitigation of and adaptation to shared hazards such as mass movements and landslides, structural collapses, bacteriological and viral diseases, and heavy rains.  

Then, the four cities collaboratively identified key actions to enhance their disaster resilience capacities as a metropolitan area. First, they agreed to consolidate governance arrangements at the metropolitan level for solidarity and intermunicipal risk management. Based on their respective disaster resilience capacity assessment, the four municipalities were able to pinpoint at ways to complement one’s gaps with another’s strengths in risk management. Data management, ecosystem preservation, community empowerment, and the enforcement of land use policies emerged as common priorities for the metropolitan area.  

The four cities also highlighted the implementation of low-cost, community-based technological innovations for risk monitoring and early-warning as a priority, with special concerns to using a simplified and impact-based language for communities to better understand and react to alerts.

“The biggest lesson we learnt during the last disaster was the need to restructure Recife and its metropolitan area, mainly in the measures of prevention, mitigation, preparedness and recovery. So, this MCR2030 workshop is happening at a strategic moment for Greater Recife. It constitutes the first step towards an intermunicipal risk management.”

Giselle Vieira, Director of Social Assistance, Executive Secretariat of Civil Defence of Recife

Next goal for Metropolitan Recife is the development of a Metropolitan Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience. ICLEI and UNDRR will keep supporting the four municipalities along the way.  

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