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‘How to achieve development goals, resilient cities’

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire has attributed the prevalence of urban planning problems in the continent to issues of power struggles, especially capturing of ‘public goods’ for certain interest.

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According to her, following the development, national governments therefore, would need to work assiduously to provide an enabling environment through policies that work, legislation for planning and designing sustainable cities and human settlements.

She stated this at the side event organized by Nigeria at the high-level political forum on sustainable development, held at the United Nations Headquarters, New York.

Speaking on the theme; “Achieving Sustainable and Resilient Cities in Africa: Implementing SDGs 11, Orelope-Adefulire said there would be need to deploy concrete actions and measures in a range of areas such as; national urban polices, rules and regulations that promote sites and services, urban planning and design, urban basic services, slum upgrade, risk reduction and resilience, capacity development and climate resilience mitigation and adaptation.

“The transit services in turn, are overstretched, hence, the spaces that connect people to work and create a more socially inclusive civic culture needs to be supported, fostered or created by architects and planners with citizens and government. To put the resilience agenda into action, cities across regions will need to mobilize resources from public and private sectors as well as from international sources”.

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She stressed that acute and cumulative effects of disasters in Africa generate major economic and fiscal losses not only on the individual and community but also to the nation. These effects, she noted are capable of undermining hard-earned development gains, trap the most vulnerable groups in poverty, and promote inequality.

“Urban renewal will require strong government political will and coordination across all levels of government; scaling up of bottom-up approach, sensitization and advocacy to get the buy-in of the communities and other interest groups; engagement of the private sector; and technical expertise to develop a range of innovative financial instruments”, she stated.

With effective coordination and synergies built across many areas, sustainable framework, action plans and optimum engagement of stakeholders, she observed that regional efforts could be synergized to lead the progress.

“The adoption of sustainable development goal 11 and the New Urban Agenda emphasize the value of sustainable urbanization as a tool for localizing and achieving the SDGs. Cities are transformative engines in pursuit of sustainable development due to their immense social, economic and environmental potential, if they are well planned, designed and governed”.

“SDG 11 therefore must be a collective priority that requires a full mobilization of global, regional, national and sub-national urban stakeholders as well as the UN system”, she declared.

Victor Gbonegun

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