Asia is currently the most populous continent in the world, and according to UN estimates, this population is expected to increase to 4.9 billion by 2030. The UN World Urbanization Prospects report projects that by 2030, 7 of the world’s top 10 mega-cities will be in Asia, with an estimated combined population of 212 million inhabitants.
Asia is also highly vulnerable to natural disasters. South-East Asia, and East Asia in particular are often exposed to earthquakes, volcanoes, typhoons, floods, storm surges and tsunamis. Natural disasters therefore pose a significant risk to the population, and it is increasingly pertinent to consider the impact of natural disasters on future populations, especially the frequency and intensity of regional weather events due to climate change.
To facilitate dialogue amongst experts in climate change, urban resilience and food and water security, a two-day Singapore Centre for Urban Resilience (SeCURE) International Preparatory Workshop was held on September 12 and 13, 2019.
Organised by the National University of Singapore (NUS), in collaboration with Deltares, and supported by the National Research Foundation of Singapore (NRF), the event was attended by over 70 participants from Singapore government agencies, International organisations, industry and academia. The purpose of the workshop was to understand the opportunities, challenges and knowledge gaps in urban resilience practice in Singapore and Asia.
In his welcome remarks, Professor Chen Tsuhan, NUS Deputy President for Research and Technology, spoke about the challenges of rapid and unplanned urbanisation in Asia, which need to be tackled at the systemic level to enhance resilience.
Professor Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large at Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who was the Guest of Honour at the workshop, spoke about the importance of applied problem-based research. SeCURE he said, is focussed on “global warming and climate change and the consequences which flow from it, such as, prolonged drought, torrential rain, sea level rise”.
Findings from the preparatory workshop will be submitted to the National Research Foundation of Singapore for further discussions.
The Singapore Centre for Urban Resilience (SeCURE) aims to solve climate change-induced urban resilience challenges for Singapore and other Southeast Asian cities. SeCURE will focus on research and integration of resilient systems, the development of methods and tools, and the delivery of services that enable a quantitative optimisation of urban resilience measures and strategies to help cities become more resilient.