Call for Innovative Solutions on Urbanization and Climate Change Challenges

31 Oct 2013

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A Pan-African congress on local climate solution for Africa has called for innovative solutions and opportunities to the challenges of rapid urbanization, and realistic responses to climate change at the local government level. A three days congress which started on Wednesday 30th October 2013 at Kunduchi Beach Hotel in Dar-es-Salaam was attended by over 500 participants aimed to provide a platform for government, business, academics and NGOs to discuss, debate and find solutions to the challenges of rapid urbanization experienced in Africa.

At the opening of the Congress, the Vice President of Tanzania, Dr. Gharib Bilal said that reducing greenhouse gas emissions must be on the agenda and promoted without sacrificing economic growth and prosperity particularly for developing countries. ''Concerted efforts should be made towards the provision of new and additional adequate and predictable financial resources to help poor countries meet challenges posed by Climate change’’' insisted Dr. Bilal.

Addressing participants on behalf of UNDP Headquarters and the United Nations in Tanzania, Alberic Kacou who was among the key speakers in the opening session said that with rapid population growth in Dar-es-Salaam, its inhabitants have become even more vulnerable and susceptible to many climate change impacts including weather generated destruction of infrastructures, outbreak of communicable diseases, and the disappearance of flora and fauna. The UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative further noted that the UN is working closely with the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania in addressing the climate change challenges in the country by integrating climate change issues in development policies, strategies and plans in order to enhance the capacity of the relevant Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Local Government Authorities (LGAs) to improve the enforcement of environment laws and regulations for the protection of the ecosystem, to encourage biodiversity and enable sustainable management of natural resources.

UNDP is currently designing a project that will focus on strengthening the climate information and early warning systems in Tanzania for climate change resilient development and adaptation to climate change. This initiative will direct impacts on cities in Tanzania as it will focus on improving the capacity of the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) and Disaster Management Department (DMD) to effectively lead emergency preparedness and response in the country.

The Congress was organized by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability – Africa, the world's leading association of cities and local governments dedicated to sustainable development in partnership with the City of Dar-es-Salaam. It was attended by leaders and technical officials from local government and their associations across Africa, technical experts and researchers, national governments, development partners, business, industry, and NGOs. The Congress is expected to provide a unique opportunity for organizations, national government, business and NGOs to engage directly with relevant African local leaders in the context of developing cities with safe, reliable and robust urban infrastructure, systems and social networks through the context of climate change resilience.

This is the second time the event is being held, the first was hosted by the City of Cape Town in 2011, where city and local government leaders from over 25 African countries attended. Already the congress has resulted in a preview of the State of African Cities 2013 report to be launched in 2013 by UN Habitat, ICLEI Africa and UCLG Africa, as well as the launch of a new urban Food-Water-Energy Nexus Project funded by GIZ in Tanzania and India.

For more information about the Local Climate Solutions for Africa Congress Series please visit www.locs4africa.org