Environmental resilience a critical concern for major Asian cities

By : Nata Kesuma | Tuesday, December 05 2023 - 21:32 IWST

Environmental resilience a critical concern for major Asian cities
Environmental resilience a critical concern for major Asian cities

INDUSTRY.co.id - Tokio Marine Group and Economist Impact announced the launch of The Resilient Cities Index 2023, a major new study into the most prominent risks faced by global cities. The index was devised by Economist Impact and sponsored by Tokio Marine Group, delving into 25 global cities' ability to evade, withstand, and recover from a spectrum of shocks and long-term stresses.

By 2050, over two-thirds of the global population will reside in cities. Rapid urbanisation is making this threat more urgent than ever as cities are facing evolving threats to the urban centres. The purpose of this research is to help measure the resilience of societies and cities, identify the gaps and challenges, and give insights into the opportunities and the way forward.

The Index finds that cities in the Asia and Pacific region are more vulnerable to climate change due to their geography and particular exposure to natural catastrophes and increasingly extreme weather events. In developing countries, this is often compounded by weak institutional infrastructure, and a considerable portion of the population having lower incomes. Asian cities perform comparatively well in disaster management, with Hong Kong, New Delhi, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo scoring high for culture of readiness. The report finds that a culture of preparedness is critical to success in disaster resilience.

Some Asian cities also performed well in the critical infrastructure pillar of the index, but there are some weak points that require strategic focus. The cities with the highest scores were Dubai, Shanghai and Singapore. These capital-rich market locations have greater opportunities to develop new infrastructure, compared with European cities constrained by decades- or centuries-old systems. Within this pillar, digital infrastructure and transportation were a drag on cities' resilience.

However, Asian cities lack resilience in other aspects within the Index's environmental pillar, which also ranks resilience related to flooding, heat stress, air pollution and decarbonisation. Among emerging Asian cities, Bangkok, Dhaka and Jakarta are poorly equipped to respond to flooding, while New Delhi and Jakarta are particularly exposed to heat risk, reflecting the challenge these cities face amid increasingly volatile weather that is driven by climate change.

Max Hirai, CEO, Tokio Marine Asia said: "The findings of the Resilient Cities Index demonstrate the need for Asia to take environmental changes more seriously if it is to mitigate existing and emerging risks facing its most global cities and their inhabitants. Extreme weather events, from typhoons and wildfires to flooding and heatwaves, are becoming more frequent and their effects more devastating. Aware that disaster mitigation is a critical social issue, Tokio Marine Group has been working towards creating a comprehensive disaster prevention and mitigation activities.

We have seen, firsthand, the vital role which insurance can play in driving market maturation in emerging economies and how, by increasing insurance penetration and providing social safety net, we can support businesses and communities back on their feet, furnished with the means and expertise to rise stronger."

Pavlos Spyropoulos, Regional Managing Director - Asia Pacific, Tokio Marine Kiln, added: "Responding to the increased vulnerability to natural catastrophes that cities in Asia are facing will require the public and private sectors to collaborate on building resilience. 

Specialist insurers have the skills and expertise to help quantify and provide solutions to mitigate against complex risks. This includes, for example, supporting the development of digital infrastructure by providing cyber insurance, and creating new products to protect and build more resilient supply chains."

The establishment of Tokio Marine Resilience will promote comprehensive disaster prevention and mitigation solutions through planning, developing and providing new services. Through this business, Tokio Marine Group will contribute to building a society that is resilient against natural disasters. 

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