African capital cities show unity and commitment to climate action at Tshwane sustainability forum

Mayors and delegates from 24 African capitals recently gathered in Tshwane for the Second African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum (ACCSF), a platform for mayors and senior city officials to discuss and spearhead sustainability in their cities. 

The annual Forum also gives participants an opportunity to evaluate progress made in realizing the Tshwane Declaration, a series of commitments and initiatives signed by city leaders at the first ACCSF in 2015 to place African cities on an upward developmental trajectory. 

“The ACCSF creates a platform for African Capital Cities to identify and deliberate on commonalities and challenges faced by major cities in Africa while showcasing and sharing successful initiatives towards the emergence of truly African, original and appropriate solutions in addressing the sustainability imperative at the urban scale,” said Executive Mayor of Tshwane Kgosientso Ramokgopa during the Forum’s opening remarks.

“Such a spirit of cooperation is rooted within the African moral and ethical adage that teaches that ‘I am because we are’ and that our destinies are inextricably linked to each other… It is these ideals of humanism, egalitarianism and solidarity that we are promoting through this initiative and it is in that context that cooperation becomes an almost inevitable feature of this Forum.”

“Sustainability leadership is not just about making commitments, developing strategies and plans,” C40’s Africa Regional Director Hastings Chikoko said to the Forum audience, which also included Mayor Parks Tau of Johannesburg. “Talk is cheap. Sustainability leadership is about translating the commitments, strategies and plans into measureable actions that make a difference.”

“Through city-to-city collaboration and benchmarking, C40 megacities in Africa have joined other cities globally in implementing sustainability activities that are of world-class quality, highly replicable and that inspire and empower other global cities to act,” said Mr. Chikoko. “In addition, 80% of the mayors of C40 megacities in Africa have also signed up to the Compact of Mayors.”

ACCSF 2016 closed on June 2 with a number of declarations:

“We, the Mayors of African Capital Cities, hereby reaffirm our commitment to advancing the Tshwane Declaration 2015 and further commit to accelerate action through:

1. We will establish a collective think tank of common initiatives that we will present at COP22 being hosted by the City of Marrakesh in December 2016

2. We undertake to measure our city’s carbon emissions and establish a baseline Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory in each city

3. We will jointly engage with development agencies and other international partners that have a focus on and interest in local government to garner support for climate resilience programmes

4. Establish clear partnerships with the private sector for investment in bankable projects

5. Convene a platform conducive for technical engagements and to develop a clear implementation programme for our cities, focusing primarily on the Sustainable Development Goals and in particular Outcome 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”