A Climate Leadership Academy on Urban Adaptation: From Risk Barriers to Results

A training and peer-learning opportunity for officials from Southeast Asian nations focusing on managing the social, political, environmental, and financial risks of urban infrastructure, sponsored through a CityLinks pilot partnership between U.S. cities and ASEAN member states.

ICMA, CityLinks, Institute for Sustainable Communities and USAID logos.

Dates: August 13-15, 2013

Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

Apply to participate: Application

Overview of the opportunity

The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) invite teams of three to five senior officials and/or key decision-makers or stakeholders from up to 10 second tier (populations between 1 and 4 million) and third tier (populations less than 1 million) cities and metropolitan regions to participate in a regional Climate Leadership Academy (CLA) on Urban Climate Adaptation—a unique training and peer-learning opportunity, focused on improving, expanding, and accelerating your cities’ efforts to better assess, prioritize, and manage the local risks of climate change. Only teams from ASEAN member states (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) are eligible to apply. Most costs for participants will be covered.

ASEAN cities are some of the most vulnerable to climate change. With more than 50 percent of the approximately 600 million people of ASEAN now living in cities, new climate-related risks, including extreme precipitation, heat events, and sea-level rise, are forcing more adaptive approaches to urban development. As a result, city practitioners across Southeast Asia are designing and building more resilient, ecologically integrated urban infrastructure, engaging their populations in inclusive decision-making, and collaborating across jurisdictions. These activities are generating innovations and investment opportunities that are shaping the future of growth throughout the region.

This workshop is part of ICMA’s USAID-funded CityLinks program, which enables municipal officials in developing and decentralizing countries to draw on the resources of their U.S. counterparts to find sustainable solutions tailored to the real needs of their cities. The workshop will be co-facilitated by ICMA and ISC.

Who Should Come?

Each city-led team should consist of:

  1. A team leader, either a departmental level director or another senior city official with leadership responsibility for climate change adaptation
  2. Up to four other key stakeholders who are—or will need to be—deeply engaged in the local/regional climate adaptation strategy and/or infrastructure decisions. At least one team member should be a representative from your national government.

Teams should be composed of individuals with decision-making authority in programs that are directly related to the climate adaptation challenges faced by your community. These may include managers with responsibilities for public works and infrastructure, water supply, utilities, public health, emergency response, ports, natural resource management, or land use planning.

In addition, as appropriate for the local context, the team may wish to include a senior representative of a key regional and/or national partner, such as a regional or state planning agency, nongovernmental organization, university, private-sector organization, foundation, or advocacy group.

The idea is for team leaders to assemble partners from across departments and agencies with whom they can both share this unique training and peer-learning opportunity, and continue collaboration for building climate resilience and adapting to climate change after they return home. Team composition choices should be driven by the nature of the adaptation challenges your community faces.

While this academy is geared toward serving community teams that have some experience in developing local adaptation strategies, it is also open to communities that have yet to begin formalizing an adaptation strategy but have identified adaptation as a key priority for their city.

The final team selection will be determined by national representatives from the ASEAN Working Group on Environmentally Sustainable Cities.

Why Participate?

The Climate Leadership Academy will help you and your team advance and improve climate change adaptation efforts by providing you the best available information, expertise, and thinking in the field, and by offering opportunities to learn from your peers across the region. Cities that take systematic approaches to adapt to a changed global climate will be best positioned to inform and benefit from national efforts and investment opportunities, and will ultimately be able to better protect their residents and local economies from climate disruption.

The Leadership Academy will provide training support to help participants:

  • Understand local and regional risk barriers to adopting new, resilient urban infrastructure;
  • Learn new tools and strategies for addressing risk barriers, including law, policy agreements, regulations, and financing options;
  • Understand the technology tools such as spatial data analysis to support urban adaption; 
  • Learn from, network, and collaborate with peer cities facing similar challenges, as well as international experts;
  • Share local best practices with regional counterparts;
  • Appreciate the importance of designing urban infrastructure in the face of resource constraints, climate change, and new challenges associated with urban growth.

The CityLinks team will finalize the scope and design of this CLA by consulting with the selected cities. ISC staff will contact participants to learn what specific challenges they are facing and to determine the types of training and peer-learning opportunities they most need and want.

Highlights of the Workshop

Highlights of this CLA will include:

  1. A diverse mix of 10 city-led teams of practitioners from throughout Southeast Asia;
  2. Plenty of time for networking, learning, and strategizing within and across those teams;
  3. A "Resource Team" consisting of leading international experts and practitioners;
  4. One or more inspiring keynote presentations;
  5. A resource guide synthesizing the best available information, ideas and "promising practices";
  6. A blend of interactive panel discussions and small-group working sessions focused on key challenges, including but not limited to the following:
  • Prioritizing risks and setting priorities for action; 
  • Making the case for climate adaptation and communicating climate risks (e.g., cost-benefit analysis, communication strategies, etc.);
  • Developing and implementing climate adaptation plans, strategies, and actions; 
  • Integrating climate adaptation and mitigation strategies and activities;
  • Financing climate adaptation;
  • Collaborating with key partners at the local/regional, state, and national levels; linking national and subnational climate adaptation plans;
  • Monitoring, evaluation, and adjustment of risk management strategies.

By leaving daily responsibilities behind and working with your team for three days, you will have the chance to cement new relationships and return home with shared understandings that can inform your future efforts. Unlike other events where individuals attend in isolation, the Climate Leadership Academy creates powerful team learning opportunities, which resonate long after participants return home.

The CityLinks Pilot Partnership 

After the Climate Leadership Academy, CityLinks will select up to four cities to participate in a CityLinks Pilot Partnership to gain more exposure to innovative approaches, good governance tools, and appropriate technologies to enhance their ability to adapt to climate change impacts. The program will match selected cities with counterparts in the United States to enhance peer learning and technical exchange.

Where and When—And Who Pays?


This workshop will take place in Jakarta, Indonesia, beginning on August 13 and ending after noon on August 15. 

Most costs are covered. CityLinks will arrange and cover the flight costs and hotel stay of the three to five team members for the workshop dates and will provide breakfast, lunch, and snacks to participants throughout the course of the program. A stipend will be provided to cover dinner, local transportation, and incidentals. Expenses for any additional days and nights must be covered by the participant.

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