Urban Planning for Sustainable Territorial Development in Africa : SBSTTA#25 side-event

The integration of Nature & People into cities
The mobilization of the SNLGs organizations has been critical for the KMGBF adoption last December. It will be instrumental in ensuring its implementation at local, regional and national levels.

In the margins of SBSTTA25 held in Nairobi, the Post 2020 Biodiversity Framework – EU Support project organized a side-event on October 18th to showcase our partners’ best practices of transformative implementation in terms of sustainable urban planning.

It was an opportunity to discuss the effective consideration of biodiversity and climate for implementing the KMGBF targets and COP 15 decisions related to urban areas and the contribution of SNLGs at various levels with a panel of specialists in urban policy development. 

Urbanization in Africa will be one of its major influences during the coming decade with considerable impacts in terms of biodiversity. The implementation of the KMGBF by African cities and other SNLGs must find synergies with their fight against climate change and their efforts on climate change adaptation.

Spatial planning and the mobilization of local actors are essential, but require considering the specific economic, social and cultural contexts of African cities and subnational governments in view of the ecological challenges and capacity building needs that they face. 

Biodiversity-inclusive urban planning and resilience, monitoring and reporting on Target 12, participatory (spatial) planning and decision-making processes, convergence between biodiversity and climate policy, and mainstreaming biodiversity in cities’ and SNLGs’ policies, were some of the main key words during the discussion.

© SBSTTA-25 Nairobi Meetings

Plurality of challenges, one common vision

The panelists from partner organizations (UN Habitat, ICEI, Expertise France, KCCA) shared their expertise and presented trends on the integration of nature and people into urban development and climate action in Africa, reported on relevant commitments and communities of practice, and showcased experiences from UN-Habitat and ICLEI.

The moderator of the event, Luc Gnacadja, Founder and President of GPS-Development, Former Minister of Environment, Habitat, Urban & Regional Development of Benin, opened the floor while drawing attention to the importance of sustainable urban planning for nature positive progress in Africa.

The panel was composed by:

  • Ingrid Coetzee from ICLEI – Africa Secretariat and Global Cities Biodiversity Center, who, in her video opening presentation, shared some case studies of African cities taking local action towards global biodiversity & climate targets;
  • Jose Chong, Leader, Global Public Space Programme at UN-Habitat, who shared his vision on the need to integrate NBS into people’s everyday lives and presented concrete initiatives of UN Habitat in South Eastern Africa and Ammar Ismail, Urban Resilience Specialist, Regional Office for Africa at UN-Habitat, who underlined the need of a participatory urban planning to build resilience;
  • Isaac Mugumbule Head of Landscaping at the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), along with Katharina Rochell, Urban resilience expert / Expertise France who both provided a practical example based on the update of Kampala’s climate change action plan. They both also insisted on the necessary integration of Nature & People into urban development & climate action in Uganda, more generally in Africa and, in general, worldwide.

More than 60 participants attended the event on site and online; proof that the subject of sustainable urban planning in Africa is one of the key issues, deserving interest and attention in view of Africa’s increasing demographics and growing urbanization.

As next steps, our project will produce a white paper showcasing approaches and pathways for sustainable urban development in African cities, accompanied by a 4-page brief to summarize its main recommendations.

Additionally and together with Regions4 and the European Committee of the Regions, our project will co-host a side event at the EU Pavilion on December 11 entitled Tackling the twin crises of climate and biodiversity loss: ambition and action from regional governments to build resilience.

This will be also the occasion to present a new publication together with Regions4 called Transformative Multi-Level Action: Subnational Solutions for Climate & Biodiversity.

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