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Building leadership for LAC cities in a changing climate

As a result of climate change, population growth, and rapid unplanned urbanization, cities in developing countries are both the main trigger of climate change and the appropriate space for the implementation of solutions. Currently, medium-sized cities face various types of disturbances associated with climate change. These range from natural disasters to social instability, all of which occur in a complex context of uncertainty and conflict. In the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region, the authorities in affected cities lack reliable information and tools to deal effectively with climate change and its social consequences. The current higher education system does not offer any professional or technical degree course to meet this demand.

This 48-month leadership program aims to develop multiple technical capacities among young leaders in the region, particularly women. It is one of three leadership programs implemented by IDRC’s Climate Change Program in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. It consists of a postgraduate diploma that combines a theoretical training module with practical exercises to consolidate acquired knowledge in the field. It focuses on providing young leaders with practical knowledge of climate risk and urban management, accompanied by participatory planning and negotiation skills. This will enable them to advise local public and private stakeholders on the effective development of climate-resilient, transformative policies in medium-sized cities.

Among the main expected results of the program are an open-access digital knowledge platform accessible on the internet, and a minimum of 75 graduates (65 % of them women) trained in climate change, risk and disaster management, governance, and conflict prevention. A minimum of 10 case studies and five technical papers will be produced and disseminated among local policymakers to help them achieve consensus-based solutions for socio-environmental conflicts caused by climate change. Five city plans will be prepared to inform local authorities, and a partnership agreement will be struck with regional and international city networks for the scaling up of results.

The outcomes of the program will also represent a contribution to the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement, the 2016 New Urban Agenda, and Goal 11 of the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. The program will be administered by the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in Ecuador, in collaboration with a number of associated Latin American academic partners.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
48 months
IDRC Officer
Walter Ubal
Total Funding
CA$ 991,500.00
South America
Climate-Resilient Food Systems
Climate-Resilient Food Systems
Climate Change
Institution Country
Costa Rica
Project Leader
Andrea Carrion Hurtado
Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales/Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences



Building leadership for LAC cities in a changing climate