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Building a sustainable blue economy in cities

8 speakers

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Cities are facing growing water-related risks& exacerbated by population growth& increasing urbanisation and climate change. With a projected world population of 9.7 billion by 2050& of which 55% will be living in cities& demand for water is set to rise by 55%. By 2050& over 570 low-lying coastal cities will face projected sea level rise of at least 0.5 metres& putting over 800 million people at risk. To tackle& these risks and raise the profile of water in the political agenda of various levels of government& there is the need of a systemic approach towards the blue economy& which would include a focus on cites (greatly overlooked so far) and on a variety of water sources& beyond oceans. This highlights the need for a functional city-basin approach to address linkages between urban areas (where most people live) and the surrounding environments (rural and watersheds) that sustain them. The innovation of the approach that will be discussed during the session& consists of (i)the systemic and interdisciplinary RISC framework& which seeks to empower cities to foster a blue economy that is Resilient to shocks and risks; Inclusive& by providing job opportunities and protecting the most vulnerable from water-related risks; Sustainable from an environmental point of view& preserving natural ecosystems; and Circular to tackle land and water pollution& reuse water& reduce energy consumption and create resources from waste. (ii)The scale at which solutions are envisioned: based on a city-basin approach& the session will explore actions that need to be taken at multiple scales& emphasising the role of cities and river basin organisations in managing water via integrated basin governance systems. (iii) The diversity of experiences and case studies shared from various regional contexts to identify common challenges and solutions.