Extent of Resilience to Climate Change in cities of Rwanda


Today, 54% of the world’s population lives in cities, a proportion that is expected to increase to 66% by 2050 (UN, 2014). These cities are constantly facing different impacts of climate change that not only cause significant economic losses but also pose challenges to urban living: 8 of the 10 most populous cities are vulnerable to earthquakes, and 6 of the 10 are at risk from floods, storm surges and tsunamis. In this context, Rwanda has initiated innovation and urban resilience project aiming at developing six green secondary cities with ambition of helping the country to achieve its sustainable development growth through energy efficiency and green Job creation, this paper aims to provide extent of resilience to climate change in secondary cities of Rwanda
The researcher employed two steps mixed methods approach namely:

  1. Literature review with selection of specific indicator,
  2. selected indicators were evaluated using secondary data.

This thorough process resulted in indicating the level of resilience to climate change of the city under this study.


Key notes: climate change, resilience, secondary cities 

Literature review 

Six cities have been identified in this East African nation to become green: Huye (south), Muhanga (central south), Nyagatare (northeast), Rubavu (northwest), Musanze (sorth) and Rusizi (southwest).
With the urban population growing at 4.5 percent a year, more than double the global average, Rwandan officials are now emphasizing the need to develop secondary cities as poles of growth as the country has set a target to achieve a 35 percent urban population by 2034.
While the initiative appears to be a strategic tool for the National Strategy for Climate Change and Low Carbon Development that was adopted by the country in 2011, experts suggest that it is also important for local administrative entities to understand the mechanisms of green urbanization and secondary city development. (Twahirwa, 2020)
This concept of climate resilience is key to preparing cities for the impacts of gradual climate change and associated extreme climate events. Increasing populations within urban ecosystems are putting heavier demands on the supporting biophysical and socioeconomic systems (UN, 2014; UN-Habitat, 2011), and their activities are influencing natural systems, serving as forces for environmental change at local, regional, national, and global scales (IPCC, 2014). Climate change represents yet another source of vulnerability for both our natural and human systems.
urban climate resilience is a city’s ability to reduce exposure and sensitivity to, and recover and learn from gradual climatic changes or extreme climate events. This ability comes from a city’s risk reduction and response capacity, and includes retaining or improving physical, social, institutional, environmental, and governance structures within a city. The components of urban climate resilience reflected in the conceptual framework include three measures of vulnerability (exposure, sensitivity, and response capacity), as well as the process of initiating responsive action, learning from mistakes or ineffective responses, and building risk reduction capacity (reducing exposure and sensitivity, and increasing response capacity). (Julie Blue, 2017)