World’s major cities lack resilience to future risks, finds Tokio Marine study

Cities across the world lack the infrastructure and environmental policies to withstand the worsening impacts of climate change and other future risks, according to a study by Tokio Marine Group and Economist Impact. Publishing its Resilient Cities Index, which scores 25 cities by their ability to predict, defend, adapt to and recover from a range of environmental, economic, social and climate changes stresses, New York ranks as the most resilient city, followed by Los Angeles, London, Singapore and Paris.

The report says rapid urbanisation has made the threat to cities’ resilience more urgent. It calls for more investment and innovation to address the most persistent challenges to cities’ resilience.

Lagos is the lowest scoring city, followed by Dhaka, Cairo, Jakarta and New Delhi.

Tokio Marine says London, although scoring highly globally, will be at the greatest threat from more extreme flooding and failure to keep pace with technology in the future. In particular, it warns of weak defences against flooding, which could become more common as climate change intensifies.

“While London is one of the most resilient cities in the world, the capital is disproportionately exposed to flood and cybersecurity risks,” the study says.

London is highlighted in the report for weak defences to cyberattacks, which could be intensified by London’s “poor readiness” for AI.

“London’s lack of cybersecurity and AI preparedness is also a growing concern, fuelled by weak coordination and capacity gaps,” the study says, with London ranked 11th out of 25 cities for its digital infrastructure.

“These factors, paired with weak internet quality in London, are key areas which may threaten the city’s ability to attract talent and capital, as well as to support existing businesses and livelihoods. It will also impede London’s ability to grow its economy,” the report warns.

Brad Irick, executive officer of Tokio Marine Group and CEO of Tokio Marine Kiln, says: “The world is facing unprecedented challenges. Extreme weather events, from hurricanes and wildfires to flooding and heatwaves, are becoming more frequent and their effects more devastating. Our cities are exposed to all these risks and more. Lives and livelihoods depend on our ability to understand and mitigate the evolving threats to our urban centres. Emerging risks created by our dependence on technology and changing demographics are broadening the threats that must be managed.”

Irick says more needs to be done to address London’s resilience.

“Insurance can and should facilitate innovation. It has a responsibility to support the technological leaps forward that will be essential to mitigate the greatest challenges which society faces. We believe this index will help to advance thinking on the topic of resilience while facilitating a constructive dialogue on what we can do to create a better tomorrow for all,” he said.

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