Focus on local climate action in cities and urban areas, their enhanced collaboration and unity on common areas in these actions will help Africa win the war against climate change, Charles Mwangi, the Acting Executive Director, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance has said.
Speaking in Kisumu City in the sidelines of the ongoing ninth Summit of the African Cities, Mwangi said African cities and local governments must come up with common positions of ensuring that climate actions take place at local levels, particularly now that Africa is geared towards hosting the 27th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) set for Egypt.
“With the demographic nature of the African continent, which is more youthful, cities have become their choice place of abode, hence failure to localise climate action at cities and new urban centres is a lack of foresight,” said Mwangi.
According to Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of the United Cities and Local Government in Africa, mid-sized African cities are often overlooked by major international climate resilience programs.
Yet, he added these mid-sized cities are faced with tenfold challenges: not only do they experience the same problems as large cities, in particular repeated flooding, but they must also orchestrate rapid urban expansion by avoiding building in high-risk areas.
Dr Pier Roberto Remitti of the Global Covenant of Mayors of the Global Covenant of Mayors said the climate crisis has brought about other complications, namely drought, immigration, civil disturbance with cities being the preferred places where the internally displaced populations run to. “Localizing climate action will gain from inputs by local communities and that this might assure lasting solutions,” he said.
He added that cities have proved that they have the political will to fight climate change and join the fight against greenhouse gas emissions but common frameworks that will galvanise local action by cities within common parameters are needed.
A representative from Togo said the major problem facing local authorities is financing. She said a mechanism needs to be found through which local climate action may be scaled up at community levels.
Mwangi assured the African city authorities coalesced under the United Cities and Local Government in Africa (UCLG Africa) of PACJA’s continued partnership to bring on board voices of communities to help shape the narratives ahead of COP27.
Egyptian minister for Housing noted that localisation is just part of the solution from the larger Climate Action. He said many other steps including policy advocacy, financing and governance among many other steps are needed for lasting solution.
Mwangi’s views were echoed by Fredrick from France who said that while others may want to offer support to Africa, ultimately, the citizens of the continent have to define and shape their own future.