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Urban planning and management can no longer be ‘Business as Usual’ – Thokozile Ruzvidzo

Local authorities have an important role to play in the achievement of Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and Africa’s Agenda 2063 given the continent’s rapid, unplanned and potentially catastrophic urbanization pathway.

This was said by Thokozile Ruzvidzo, Director of the Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division at the ECA during a side event themed, ‘Accelerating progress with Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063 in Africa: The local dimension’.  The session was attended by mayors and local authority leaders from around Africa.

Ms. Ruzvidzo said cities in particular should take the lead on the implementation of the SDGs.

“While urbanization inherently enables economic productivity and improvements in social outcomes, and the opportunities for this in Africa are enormous, it does so only when it is planned and managed,” she said.

Ms. Ruzvidzo said “business as usual” scenarios of urban planning and management in Africa are threatening sustainable development targets raising the need for sub-national authorities including city leaders, who are critical actors to accelerating the implementation of the two Agendas to be fully engaged in related processes.

“Urbanization is one of the mega trends that is transforming the global and African continent’s development landscapes irreversibly across the rural-urban continuum,” she, adding, while it is costly to act on planning and managing urbanization, it is costlier not to do so in the longer term.”

“Inevitably, the world is rapidly moving towards becoming an urban world, so it is imperative to consider how the urban context shapes sustainable development.”

The meeting facilitated an exchange between the UN and sub-national authorities and city leaders on the implementation, follow up and review of Agendas 2030 and 2063 in Africa.

Harare Mayor, Herbert Gomba said the meeting created an opportunity for the UN to hear first-hand from sub-national authorities and city leaders, their perspectives and initiatives with regard to Agenda 2030 and 2063.

The city leaders from Ghana, Uganda, Namibia, Zimbabwe, among others, said the meeting enabled them to interactively debate on the critical issues pertaining to the sub-national dimension of Agenda 2030 and 2063, which are easily overshadowed by various national dimensions.

“Indeed, the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development encourages member States to conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress at the national and sub-national levels, which are country-led and country-driven,” said Ms. Ruzvidzo.

She added that she was elated that some of the cities, Accra, Victoria Falls and Harare, were taking part in the Voluntary Local Reviews (VLR) at the sixth African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development.

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