KISUMU, Kenya, May 19 (Xinhua) -- There is a need to speed up the transition to a green and resilient future for African cities that promise shared prosperity, inclusivity and better health outcomes for inhabitants, campaigners said Thursday at the 9th Africities summit underway in Kenya's western city of Kisumu.
According to the campaigners, Africa's primary and intermediary cities have grown rapidly, promoting the need to convert them into hubs for green innovations in the light of growing pollution and greenhouse gas emission.
"There is a need for African cities to dialogue on mechanisms that could enhance their resilience in line with the Sustainable Development Goals," said Charles Mwangi, the acting executive director of Nairobi-based Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), stressing the need for the continent to prioritize low carbon development pathways in the rapidly growing cities and boost the resilience of communities in the face of climate emergencies like floods and disease outbreaks.
Mwangi called upon Africa's municipal authorities to promote sound waste management, adopt green mobility, shift away from fossil fuel consumption in their quest for carbon neutrality.
He said the 9th edition of Africities summit taking place from May 17 to 21 provides an opportunity for policymakers, investors and scholars to explore initiatives that can enhance the greening of the continent's cities and towns.
Mwangi added that the five-day summit will create a platform for developing a new green agenda for African cities ahead of the 27th session of the Conference of Parties (COP27) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change slated for November in Egypt.
Mohamed Nbou, the director of the Climate Change Department at the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa, noted that climate change was a threat to the realization of 2030 universal goals in the continent's metropolises amid extreme weather events that had worsened poverty, diseases and inequality.
Nbou called for investments in solid mitigation and adaptation plans to lessen the impacts of smog, sea-level rise and severe storms on the health and livelihoods of the urban population in Africa.
According to Nbou, greening African cities could unleash new jobs for the youth besides improving their ecological health and attractiveness to investors.
More than 4,000 delegates including former heads of state and government, ministers, city mayors, entrepreneurs and innovators are attending the Africities summit that is expected to adopt a new roadmap for renewing the continent's urban centers.