Cape Town, 1 March -- Over the years, Africa has continued to face recurrent and severe effects of climate change like droughts and floods, resulting in crop failures and famine. Worse still, rapid urbanization has introduced new risks, such as failed infrastructure, a proliferation of informal settlements and population growth. By 2030, experts say Africa’s population will become 50 per cent more urban. When combined with the impacts of climate change and extreme poverty, Africa’s risks will continue to rise if radical actions are not taken.
At the Local Climate Solutions for Africa Congress, running from 27 February to 3 March 2011, a gathering of high-level speakers met on Monday to discuss urban sustainability. The Congress is coordinated by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the city of Cape Town, and UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) among other partners. The five day Congress will focus, among other things, on local action for climate adaptation and resilience in the context of Africa’s cities. The Congress will serve as preparation for Africa’s local and sub-national authorities and their partners for participation in the South African-hosted climate change summit, 2012.
Present during the opening ceremony were, Deputy Head, UNISDR Africa, Youcef Ait-Chellouche, the ICLEI Secretary General Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, the Mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato; Mayor of Harare, Muchadeyi Masunda; Mayor of Saint-Louis, Cheikh Mamadou Abiboulaye Dieye; Mayor of Durban, Obed Mlaba and the Ambassador of the European Union, Roeland van de Geer.
As part of the congress, delegates also discussed the UNISDR-coordinated world disaster reduction campaign “Making Cities Resilient - My city is getting ready!” The municipality of Entebbe, Uganda joined over 595 local governments globally who have signed up to achieve resilient and sustainable urban communities. The campaign provides the opportunity for cities to network, learn from each other and improve the awareness on urban disaster risk and solutions.
The Congress will also serve as preparation for Africa’s local and sub-national authorities and their partners for participation in the South African-hosted Climate Change Summit in 2012.
For more information about Making Cities Resilient Campaign and the congress:
Please visit www.unisdr.org/africa and http://locs4africa.iclei.org/