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What: Cities are experiencing climate induced impacts and other disasters. Global, regional and city-specific vulnerability assessments have been conducted generating sufficient information for response from cities to the impacts of climate change. Current knowledge also recognizes that adaptation and climate mitigation will have to be complementary if resilience in cities is to be achieved. Therefore solutions-oriented research and knowledge is needed to better equip city governments to address climate change impacts through adaptation planning, mitigation of Greenhouse Gases and leveraging co-benefits where appropriate. This Hub focuses on climate change and disaster risk reduction and aims at bridging the knowledge and practice gaps in adaptation and mitigation of climate change and disaster risk reduction.  The Hub provides a platform for co-generation and co-delivery of knowledge for research uptake. The Hub builds on a multiplicity of methodological and analytical frameworks that enhance co-generation of knowledge among academics, students, communities and researchers in the various global regions.  It focuses on knowledge management initiatives that are envisaged to enable transformation of knowledge into practice, tools, frameworks and utilizing multiple strategies for dissemination.

Some of the research initiatives and networks to which the Hub links include Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) http://uccrn.org/, CLUVA http://www.cluva.eu/ , IRDR www.idrinternational.org/ , that have generated knowledge that improves our understanding of climate induced disasters and vulnerabilities in urban areas as well as issues of justice and equity. The knowledge and tools developed are yet to be fully tested to get an understanding of how cities can effectively respond to climate change and work towards reducing disaster risk including climate induced risk. Disaster reduction is important due to increasing risks of global economic perturbations, natural hazards, political unrest, health risks adding a layer to climate change risks in cities. Knowledge on disaster shows that a disaster occurring in one place can have knock-on effects elsewhere, and cities have become places where vulnerability has been exacerbated due to accumulated or development created risk, particularly in Africa, South East Asia and other regions.  The Hub is housed at Makerere University’s Department of Geography Geoinformatics and Climatic Sciences.  The Hub is providing knowledge, disseminating and contributing towards developing capacity on climate change issues affecting cities through enhancing existing training and educational modules and developing new ones in addition to tailoring training and educational programmes to the needs of decision makers and other knowledge users.

Why: The Hub is located at Makerere but operates as a global hub through the linkages of initiatives, networks and its members. The Hub activities include research and demonstrable action to bridge research-policy and practice gaps in the various regions.  The Hub provides tools, information and approaches to respond to the climate change challenges. The hub continues to enable urban actors to utilize emerging wisdom and knowledge in order to make a useful contribution to practices and policies that improve the lives of urban dwellers while addressing urban risks and hazards. Recognizing the existence of various research and capacity development initiatives, the hub through its membership which is global provides a knowledge-sharing platform on the thematic issues.

Who: The hub is comprised of members from diverse disciplines and institutions spread out globally with a broad range of expertise.  This team brings to action inter-disciplinary skills to conduct research and co-generation of knowledge on various topics related to climate change and disasters risk reduction. Members are drawn from disciplines including Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, Architecture, Business Management, Disaster Risk Management and Social Sciences. The various institutions and individuals that make up the Hub memberships include; Georgia Tech has training and research programs on urban planning and interests in advancing research as well as capacity building for international urban professionals; The French Research Institute for Development which has several research clusters in various countries including Laos and Senegal. The School of Urban and Regional Planning of the University of Philippines is envisaged to bring to the hub, research expertise to expand the research drive in South East Asia in view of conducting complementary research between Africa and Asia. The School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management (University of Queensland, Australia). Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) and one of the International Center of Excellence of IRDR at RADAR (Periperi U), University of Twente, Faculty of Geoinformation and Earth Observation, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Cairo University, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, University of Ghana, Bond University, Universidad Nacional de Colombia – Sede Medellín, University of Nairobi, Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) Erasmus University, Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), IUCN-World Environmental Hubs initiative, Cities and Climate Change Initiative-UN-Habitat, Development Planning Unit at University College London.

How: The hub has evolved around existing initiatives of co-design and co-generation of knowledge. A phased development approach is described on how the Hub has evolved and continues to expand.  Phase 1: We received and utilized a seed grant from UN-Habitat, the initial activities of the hub included in-depth research on Integrated Flood Management and Strategy Development in Kampala. This research was co-designed and co-generated with the municipal authorities as well as community members. A series of workshops were conducted climaxed with the final national workshop in December 2013. The Hub continues to play a catalytic role in the region and globally. For example the Hub organized a networking event at the WUF 7 in Medellin where hub members composed a panel that discussed lessons from flood risk reduction and the implication of climate change.

The Hub is also linked to existing regionally focused research initiatives such as CLUVA and African Center for Cities, the Urban Risk and Knowledge research initiative (ARK) and the Research Alliance for Disaster and Risk Reduction (RADAR) an IRDR ICoE of Partners Enhancing Resilience to People Exposed to Risks (PeriPeri U) at Stellenbosch University. Phase 2: In this phase the Hub has organized research dissemination workshops, published outputs in form of journal articles, policy briefs on emerging knowledge. Phase 3: For continuity and sustainability of the hub, training modules, curricula and training events will be organized including workshops, writeshops and faculty exchanges. Training of future urban professionals at MSc, PhD, continuous professional development and on-demand training and or refresher courses will be conducted leveraging the co-generated knowledge from earlier phases. Researchers, practitioners and policy makers affiliated to the Hub will also at this stage foster professional collaboration of academic institutions with UN-Habitat or other partner institutions on relevant projects.

See the full concept note here