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Urban Planning Law for Climate Smart Cities: The Urban Law Module of the Law and Climate Change Toolkit

Urban areas account for two thirds of greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, making them major contributors to climate change. Cities are already suffering from extreme weather events, flooding, subsidence, storms, heat waves, water scarcity, droughts, and sea-level rise, among other climate change effects. Additionally, the laws, institutions, and policies governing urban planning in cities have unintended effects on their capacity to adapt to the changing climate and promote urban forms that increase GHG emissions.

To address this gap, UN-Habitat is pleased to have collaborated with the Commonwealth Secretariat, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the UNFCCC Secretariat in developing the Urban Law Module of the Law and Climate Change Toolkit – an innovative online tool designed to help countries establish legal frameworks necessary for effective domestic implementation of the Paris Agreement – to which this publication on Urban Planning Law for Climate Smart Cities is a guide on. It is hoped that this publication, together with the online version of the Toolkit, will be instrumental in fulfilling the potential of urban areas to lead the way and be truly transformative spaces for climate action.

The Module is comprised of the following five sections: governance framework for urban and climate planning; urban and territorial planning; urban planning and design for adaptation; urban planning and design for mitigation and economic and non-economic instruments for climate friendly urban planning.