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Project summary

The project focuses on three cities, three countries, and one common challenge. Its goal is to identify strategies that can improve transboundary cooperation at a city level to enable cost-effective and inclusive climate-resilient development among three riparian cities sharing borders within the Parana basin. These cities are Ciudad del Este (Paraguay), Foz de Iguaçu (Brazil) and Puerto Iguazú (Argentina). The project specifically aims to assess the vulnerabilities of the region, identify cost-effective and co-beneficial climate-resilient solutions, as well as to explore implementation pathways and financing options.

The project is funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano (FFLA), under their joint initiative for Climate Resilient Cities in Latin America.


Around 40% of the population in the planet, and nearly 30% in South America, live in transboundary basins. Moreover, many of these people live in urban areas within those basins. However, transboundary aspects are seldom addressed in national climate change adaptation plans. This is a worrisome matter since, among other issues, rapid urban growth can intensify the adverse effects of climate change in river basins. Studies at a national level indicate that governance, management and strong cooperation is needed to achieve adaptation in transboundary basins. There is, however, a lack of understanding about these transboundary issues at a city scale.

The challenge is of special significance to small and medium cities. Given their size, growth and level of development, these cities can be in many cases lesser ‘equipped’ than large urban centres to face climate impacts and can show greater vulnerabilities (e.g. lack of infrastructure and finance). Nonetheless, due to their stage of development, they are also in a position to avoid infrastructure and technological lock-in by undertaking clean and climate-resilient investments.

In the case of neighbouring cities, climate change vulnerabilities can be shared among them, making this a common challenge. Improving city-to-city cooperation in these cases is of paramount importance, as efforts and resources can be pooled, delivering more efficient outcomes.

Project Goals and Activities

The overarching goal of the project is to identify strategies that can improve city-to-city cooperation, enabling more cost-effective, efficient, co-beneficial and inclusive climate-resilient solutions to common climate impacts.

The project seeks to:

  • Assess the socio-economic vulnerabilities of the three cities.
  • Identify the differences/gaps in local adaptation policies/strategies and institutional settings.
  • Identify potential climate-resilient solutions that are cost-effective and that can deliver co-benefits.
  • Explore implementation pathways and financing options to materialise the collaborative solutions.

Case Study Area

The project focuses on three small and medium-sized cities sharing borders at the confluence of the Parana and Iguazu rivers, forming the so-called tri-border zone.