Alena Kozlayova (Slovakia) 1; Michal Schvalb (Slovakia) 1; Andrej Steiner (Slovakia) 1
1 - Carpathian Development Institute
It is broadly known that cities are most at risk of climate change, but at the same time, they are significant producers of greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, the urban climate policies and their implementation of many cities (not only in Slovakia) are still in their infancy.
Cities are the policy level closest to the people. They may thus be best suited to mobilize institutions’ and people’s support for the type of economic and societal transformation needed for inclusive climate adaptation policies, as well as to achieve large emission reductions. Furthermore, the city level allows for tailored and specific actions that are based on local expertise.
While there is a significant potential for local climate responses, and various modes that can be instrumental in realizing them, addressing the local climate issues seems to be far from being realized to a wider scale. The number of cities engaged in comprehensive climate policies, comprising both mitigation and adaptation, is still very limited and achievements are not meeting the challenge ahead as it should be.
This paper concentrates on main findings accumulated by authors from ongoing and past research and practical work in the field of urban governance and development of urban climate policies in Slovakia but also in other countries of the Central and Eastern Europe.
The research is focused in general mainly on legal, policy, and institutional frameworks on national and local level, the perception of the topic by local authorities and broad public, availability of needed knowledge and data. The interconnections and interactions among these factors define the level of readiness of city to deal with climate change.
Illustrated on concrete practical examples from Slovak cites, the paper is pointing out ways how to improve the understanding of urban climate governance design and implementation. It provides an overview of reasons, why cities take or do not take the necessary steps in fighting climate change. This approach can, on the one hand, be instrumental for urban authorities, and possibly help them to overcome certain barriers or make better use of their drivers and, on the other hand, it may provide synopsis of tools (e.g. adaptive planning, tailored organization charts, informed decision making, benchmarking, multi-level and multi-sector cooperation) targeting the urban climate potential responses in order to change way of thinking and consequently the way of acting to tackle locally this global threat.