Africités/Africities 5: special session - 2010-2011 world campaign on building disaster resilient cities, addressing urban risk

Type: Meeting or Conference

Organizer(s): United Cities and Local Governments - Africa

Date: 16-20 Dec 2009

Location: Marrakesh (Morocco)

Venue: Palais des Congrès de Marrakech


  • Description

  • In the framework of the Africités/Africities 5, Marrakesh, Morocco 16–20 December 2009

    The theme of the summit is: "African Regional and Local Governments’ Response to the Global Crisis: Promotion of Sustainable Local Development and Employment."

    A special session will be convened by UNISDR on the "2010-2011 World Campaign on building disaster resilient cities, addressing urban risk" on 18 December 2009.


    Risks to climate related and other disasters are increasing rapidly, causing wide spread damage in urban areas during flash floods, coastal floods or landslides, killing hundreds of urban dwellers, and affecting the livelihoods of thousands/millions . Many cities in Africa have been drastically aware of these increasing problems over the last years, in West Africa, the Horn of Africa, and recently in the landslide disaster in Cairo. Earthquakes have damaged cities in Algeria and Morocco (damaged cities) during the last years.

    A large and growing proportion of Africa’s population now lives in urban centres, more than 350 million people, which represent around two fifths of Africa’s population. A very small proportion live in ‘mega-cities’ (only Cairo has more than 10 million inhabitants). Most live in relatively small urban centres. The growing urban population in Africa has already begun to reshape the geography of disaster risk and scope for reducing that risk- each nation have different characteristics to its cities or urban centres.

    “Key characteristics of most African cities (by D. Satterthwaite):

    • high proportion of the population living in poor quality and overcrowded housing in informal
    • settlements and working in the informal economy
    • many informal settlements on hazardous sites (e.g. at risk from floods, landslides, earthquakes, fires, etc.)
    • risk-levels much increased by the lack of infrastructure and services in many residential areas
    • local governments that are ineffective in taking the measures that can reduce risks”

    Globally, these trends are linked to unplanned urban development, ecosystems decline and failing infrastructure, such as insufficient storm drainage and failing building stocks and lack of proper local governance set-ups to deal with disaster risk.

    Local government officials are faced with the threat of disasters on a day-to-day basis and need new policies and tools to effectively deal with them. Risks are exacerbated by disease, industrial accidents, and the impacts of climate change that are aggravating the vulnerability conditions of urban dwellers.

    United Nations, with United Cities for Local Governments and partners, is launching a Global Campaign to build disaster resilient cities – as part of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction

    The goals of the campaign are to foster new partnerships between local communities, local and national authorities, and different expert groups to:
    • Know more: increase awareness about urban risk and how to apply disaster risk reduction measures, also to address climate change adaptation. Learn from local communities and cities that have done good
    • Invest smarter: raise political awareness among decision makers both nationally and locally, and by private sector, to invest in development that actually do not increase risk levels
    • Build safer: promote use of risk assessments, building standards and access to safe land to protect people and critical infrastructure such as safer schools, hospitals and sound drainage systems

    Objectives of the Special Session during Africities, 18 December:

    -  Present the World Campaign and partnership to Mayors and local authorities in Africa, and discuss how to best apply it to African cities.
    -  Discuss what the role is for Local Governments to reduce risk in their cities, and what are the opportunities and barriers. Learn from some lessons
    -  Seek commitment from partners to promote the Campaign in Africa, next steps.

    Draft Agenda (16:00 -19:00)

    Coffee will be available

    16:00 – 17:00 World Campaign- setting the stage

    Presentation of the scope and objectives of the World Campaign for disaster resilient cities.
    Helena Molin Valdés, Deputy Director, UNISDR

    Building and Alliance of local governments to reduce disaster risk- how to get involved.
    Rev. Ebukalin Sam L'Kwisk, District Chairman, Bukuedea District Local Government, Uganda

    Questions and answers

    17:00 – 18:00 Role of local governments to reduce risk – examples, what works and what are the challenges. A panel discussion of three-four Mayors covering different angles according to their views and experience
    Mr Adam Kimbisa, Mayor of Dar es Salam, Tanzania
    Mr Tariq Kabbage, Mayor of Agadir, Morocco,
    Mr. Cheikh Dieye, Mayor of Saint Louis, Sénégal.

    Discussion, questions and answers

    18:00- 19:00 Commitments and wrap-up on next steps

    Two local government representatives will introduce their ideas (tbd), followed by a moderated discussion on how to take next steps to develop a partnership in Africa to address urban risk and the Campaign- identify “champions.” Rev. Ebukalin Sam L'Kwisk, District Chairman, Helena Molin Valdés, UNISDR

    Mr. Mohamed Boussraoui, UCLG secretariat

  • How to register

  • Please register online here