Chapter 26: Foreign aid to foster greener cities: what do we know?
For more than a decade, global warming and climate change have challenged the United Nations and the international community. Indeed, scientists have noticed changes in the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) and aerosols, in the percentage of covered land area (in particular owing to urbanization) and solar radiation. The two main responses to climate change are (1) mitigation of climate change and (2) adapting to these changes. In order to support these two solutions, the United Nations initiated a global agreement on climate change. Around the world, many measures have been undertaken to encourage changes in energy consumption habits and especially changes in the relationship with the environment. In the developed countries, there has been a redefinition of life’s standards. One can hear about concepts such as sustainable development, green industry, eco-tourism and green cities. In the developing world, however, countries face a more difficult challenge related to those concepts. Indeed, they must address issues of economic development that sometimes clash with ecological principles. Urbanization is among those issues. According to the United Nations, by 2050 the number of people living in urban areas is expected to reach 6.4 billion out of a total population of 9.2 billion (United Nations, 2008). Most of this urban growth will occur in the developing regions of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Because cities in a global economy are centres of consumption, their ecological footprints extend far beyond their geographical boundaries.
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