Dakar, Senegal, May 2, 2018 (ECA) – The fourth session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) kicked off in Dakar, Senegal, Wednesday with pre-event meetings related to the theme of the forum taking place.
The theme of is ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies’.
In one of the pre-event meetings, participants discussed ECA’s Approach in supporting the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 11 and the New Urban Agenda in Africa.
The other event was a preparatory and capacity-development workshop for major groups and other stakeholders in the Africa region; while in another seminar delegates talked about strengthening Integrated and Voluntary National Review and Reporting of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.
Speaking at the opening of the pre-event on ECA’s approach in supporting the implementation of sustainable development goal 11 and the new urban agenda, Ms. Thoko Ruzvidzo, Director, Social Development Policy Division in the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), said the expert meeting was strategically held under the ARFSD theme to showcase the work being done by the ECA in the area of urbanization.
This is in relation to one of the SDGs being addressed at the forum, namely ‘Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’.
Ms. Ruzvidzo first acknowledged ECA’s partner, UN Habitat, and thanked the Government of Senegal for making it possible for participants to meet and discuss a guidebook that was developed by the ECA to support member States in integrating urbanization in national development planning.
“At ECA we have developed a strategic approach to support member States better grasp the importance of urbanization to address Africa’s paradox where the continent is growing with minimum gains; reducing poverty and creating the millions of jobs needed by our youth,” she said.
“We believe that changes start with long term planning, which we now have at a global level, that’s the sustainable development goals; our regional Agenda 2063 and our various national visions and plans.”
Ms. Ruzvidzo shared with the experts ECA’s experiences in the countries it is working with to support the integration of urbanization in national development planning.
The countries are Uganda, Cameroon, Zambia, Morocco and Chad.
It has been quite a journey which started with resistance in some countries to them embracing the ECA’s unique approach to urbanization in Africa, she said.
“In the case of Cameroon for example, our partners have acknowledged the value added of ECA’s interventions in the urban sector, which shown the limitations of the current siloed approach that has been adopted so far. They realized that their objective to provide decent housing for all will not be attained if other sectoral policies, including industrial and trade policies, are not also connected and coordinated with the urban and social policies. Urbanization needed also to be better integrated in their national development plan,” Ms. Ruzvidzo said.
Indeed, she said, the proliferation of slums in many of our countries, is a testament that the national planning is not taking into consideration urbanization as a mega trend, which opens huge opportunity for sustainable development.
“For us, at ECA, we foresee that only the countries that have adopted national development planning processes and frameworks would be likely to achieve sustainable development including SDG 11, the New Urban Agenda and the Urban priorities of Agenda 2063,” said Ms. Ruzvidzo.
The ARFSD provides political leadership, guidance and recommendations for the follow-up and review of progress in the implementation of sustainable development commitments.
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