Ruth Erlbeck

Senior Project Manager at the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ)

Challenges and opportunities for urban adaptation in the framework of green transition, green recovery and climate change after COVID 19

Date: 
July 14, 2021
 | Time: 
1-2 PM (Bangkok Time)

The „green transition“[1] is the basis for the implementation of the European Green Deal becoming the underlying concept for development worldwide.

In order to reach a „green transition“ the food, water and energy nexus taking into consideration the climate challenge (mitigation and adaptation) needs to be applied. The concept of “green recovery” aiming at a climate-friendly design of economic recovery measures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic – causing a major economic downturn worldwide – complements the „green transition“ ambitions in a perfect way. A wide range of measures contributes to „green transition“ and „green recovery“ stepping up investment into green infrastructure and the decarbonization of the energy sector in order to achieve climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The Nexus approach can be considered a tool to implement “green transformation” and “green recovery” by making use of a cross-sectoral approach to economize on the scarce and finite natural resources and make use of their synergies to secure long-term survival on the planet earth. Digitalization plays an important role in green transition & recovery, as the pandemic has strongly encouraged and increased digital approaches (new formats) regarding capacity building training, counseling, municipal services, payment systems, financing, etc. easing continuous monitoring of goals set e.g. in the International Agendas.

„City Quitters“ as a new phenomenon is causing new urban/architectural orientation with opportunities and challenges for rural-urban linkages. Digitalization and Home-Office are challenging architectural designs and redesigning creativity regarding existing building structures in urban centers and urban development planning.

Solid waste management is challenging urban services due to the growing amount of packaging waste,  discarded masks, and other PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) littering streets, the countryside, and beaches worldwide and threatening sea life. Transformation of the tourism sector, reducing mass tourism, and less negative impact on nature, coasts and natural parks requires revised architectural concepts.

Lessons learned show that innovation has progressed in times of the COVID 19 pandemic – how to maintain this momentum? Revised concepts regarding climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in connection with experiences gained from the COVID 19 pandemic are needed.

[1] Derived from the EU European Green Deal (New Directive of the EU to become the first climate-neutral bloc in the World by 2050 improving people’s well-being and make Europe more competitive.

Ruth Erlbeck is Senior Project Manager at the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), for which she has been involved in international projects for more than 30 years. From 2013 to 2019 she was the project manager of the regional “Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: The Urban Nexus Project”, where she also worked on several projects for Naga City. The Urban Nexus is an action-oriented principle that leads us to the circular economy and the implementation of international agendas. Other notable projects are the “Promotion of Low-Price Housing” in Ethiopia and the “Integrated Urban Development” program in Mongolia.

She is currently working in Cairo as a cluster coordinator for sustainable infrastructure and the environment and as a project manager for the GIZ-supported National Solid Waste Management Program (NSWMP) in Egypt.