Engineers join forces with largest global alliance for city climate leadership to accelerate the development of future-proof infrastructure
MADRID – Today at the UN Climate Change Conference COP25, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy jointly announced with the American Society of Civil Engineers a new collaboration as part of the recently launched International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure, to advance practical solutions to adapt infrastructure to a changing climate, close the resilience investment gap and break down barriers to action across the globe.
Over the next 50 years, the global population will face unprecedented challenges – from rising seas to more frequent extreme weather events – which will happen against a backdrop of significant societal changes and advances in technology. With these global trends already posing well-documented challenges, ASCE and the Global Covenant of Mayors signed an agreement to advance a coalition focused on the following actions:
- Identify, prioritize and better understand the gaps and barriers for the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of sustainable and resilient infrastructure;
- Cultivate and unlock the full potential of untapped partnerships and investments to reduce the impacts of extreme weather events, create sustainable and resilient infrastructure and enable better decision-making and outcomes and
- Identify and outline practical plans of action and resources for implementing strategies that achieve realistic short-term goals and have measurable, long-term effects.
Coalition activities in 2020 will involve recruiting additional partners that are leaders in the infrastructure resilience field; sharing knowledge and training on global best key practices; connecting city leaders with engineering leaders and professionals; leveraging tools, standards, systems and data to measure and enhance sustainability and resilience and supporting the mobilization of critical financing and technical assistance needed to address infrastructure finance gaps for improving sustainability and resilience.
“Our climate is changing before our eyes and poses a challenge to every country around the world,” said ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith. “Addressing the impacts of climate change is going to require a holistic and cross-jurisdictional approach. Civil engineers are uniquely positioned to provide the technical expertise needed to make sustainable infrastructure projects a reality around the world.”
“Climate change is a deadly threat to people living in cities – and that’s especially true of the danger it poses to infrastructure, and what happens when it fails,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, Global Covenant Co-Chair and Co-Founder. “The expertise the ASCE brings to the table is exactly what cities need to make smarter, faster decisions about how to better prepare and become more resilient in the face of this climate crisis.
Amanda Eichel, Executive Director of the Global Covenant said: “Cities across the world have clear and concrete plans to build climate change resiliency into their infrastructure projects, but the vast majority cannot move those plans forward without additional engineering behind them. This partnership will be a monumental step forward in helping cities make their visions a reality.”
Tom Lewis, ASCE’s chair for the November 2019 Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure Leadership Summit and a Sector President from global engineering firm WSP said: “Through the development and facilitation of the recent global leadership summit that led to this collaborative agreement, I am proud to have played a part in bringing the Global Covenant and ASCE together in a way that will serve currently vulnerable urban dwellers and infrastructure across the globe. There is no single organization that can tackle the scale of the climate emergency and infrastructure resilience challenges alone – which is why we need innovative alliances like this one to leverage the throw weight of existing organizations and lead the way.”
About the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM)
GCoM is the largest global alliance for city climate leadership, uniting a global coalition of over 10,000 cities and local governments. The cities and partners of GCoM share a long-term vision of supporting voluntary action to combat climate change and towards a resilient and low-emission society. GCoM serves cities and local governments by mobilizing and supporting ambitious, measurable, planned climate and energy action in their communities by working with city/regional networks, national governments and other partners to achieve our vision. Led today by Michael R. Bloomberg and European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans, the coalition comprises cities across 6 continents and 132 countries, representing over 800 million people or 10% of the global population.
About the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 150,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America’s oldest national engineering society. ASCE works to raise awareness of the need to maintain and modernize the nation’s infrastructure using sustainable and resilient practices, advocates for increasing and optimizing investment in infrastructure, and improve engineering knowledge and competency. For more information, visit www.asce.org or www.infrastructurereportcard.org and follow us on Twitter, @ASCETweets and @ASCEGovRel.