PUBLICATION STORE SUBSCRIBE

African Capital cities sign declaration of intent focused on sustainability

Caption: Ideas were formulated and set in motion at this year’s annual City of Tshwane Sustainability Week, which took place from 23 to 25 June 2015. The three day conference was hosted at the CSIR International Convention Centre. The Sustainable Infrsatructure Seminar, was one of the three new seminars introduced in 2015 (top, left picture). The inaugural African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum and (top, right picture) opened the conference and set the tone for the eleven stimulating seminars. Sustainability Week 2015 boasted 128 gripping speakers, 33 exhibition stands (bottom, left picture) and three networking events that added up to make this year’s event the most successful yet. The Green Home Fair at Brooklyn Mall ended the event in style on 27 and 28 July 2015 (bottom, right picture).

The African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum brought together 39 African capital city mayors and dignitaries from Angola, Benin, Comoros, DRC, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritanie, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, São Tomé, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The mayors and dignitaries congregated to sign a declaration of intent that is the first of its kind on the continent. The declaration’s focus is to elevate the social, economic and environmental imperatives African cities need to adopt in order to develop society and the economy without adverse impacts on the environment.

Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the African Union Commission, emphasized that future cities must be authentic African cities focusing on the sustainability of the continent’s greatest resource, its people.
The mayors made a commitment to convene every year to assess progress and find collaborative ways to consolidate their vision for urban sustainability. These include green building methods; waste management; reduction of poverty; transport efficiency; technology; and making the best use of human resources to help facilitate the changes.

Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, the Secretary General of the United Cities and Local Governments in Africa, explained that the future of Africa depends on effectively managing integration and migration; sustainability and resilience; economic growth and job creation. Elong Mbassi emphasized that all of these contribute towards making Africa sustainable and self-sufficient. He added, “One of the daunting and demanding issues of global development is whether cities are an engine of growth, and whether this growth is sustainable and resilient.”
Mbassi also pointed out that, “Cities should resist the temptation to copy the unsustainable consumption pace of natural resources as other cities of the developed world”. As Africa is the continent with one of the youngest populations, the sustainability of its economic, social and environmental resources should be a pressing matter on the agenda of the continent’s leaders.

Sustainability Week highlighted that the core indicators of a country’s sustainable success are energy and water management, waste management and manufacturing ventures. Another indicator is identifying where partnership opportunities are that can ensure funding for projects that will benefit a wide variety of people. These issues were at the centre of the dynamic week of seminars, networking events and exhibition. The interactive exhibition space connected non-government organisations with local government representatives, product innovators and technical solution providers.

Following the three day conference, the Youth and Green Economy event took place on 27 June 2015 at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). The Green Home Fair hosted from 27 to 28 June 2015 at Brooklyn Mall marked the end of the eventful week. Lively discussions took place where 27 exhibitors offered the public a chance to be ‘green’ and environmentally conscious at home. Energy from the sun, home food gardening and general tips on becoming more energy efficient and resourceful at home made for practical engagement with residents.
Delegates had the opportunity to interact with colleagues and potential business connections. This promised for real time response between presenters and the audience enabling greater interaction on key topics such separation at source to reduce landfill, methods available to treat waste water and save water by better use of it in agriculture.

Green building architects and developers congregated to discuss innovation in building methods and responsible tourism was also on the agenda – a topic that is much on the minds of South Africans who are feeling the results of the recent drop in tourism.

“Communication is the key to helping all stakeholders understand what the sustainability issues are and where the solutions will come from. The conference’s aim of ‘putting ideas into motion’ has activated the new wave of thinking around sustainability from a city perspective. The event provided unprecedented opportunities to collaborate and find solutions as the city sets its goals to secure a sustainable development path,” said Gordon Brown, Director at alive2green, organiser of Sustainability Week.

This was the second year that alive2green and the CSIR International Convention Centre opened its doors to Sustainability Week (23 – 25 June 2015) hosted by the City of Tshwane. The conference was attended by 1474 delegates with foot traffic of over 2000 deleagtes over the three conference days, showing significant growth and interest in matters relating to the sustainable development of society.

Sustainability Week’s sponsors and partners include: City of Tshwane, BASF, Nedbank Group, Lafarge, Builders, NCPC, UNIDO, AECOM, NRF, Participate Technologies, Backsberg, REDISA, SANEDI, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), Brooklyn Mall, The Star, Pretoria News, NRF SAASTA.

For more information on Sustainability Week and to review any of the presentations, visit www.sustainabilityweek.co.za. For information on next year’s Sustainability Week, please contact Gordon Brown at gordon.brown@alive2green.com. For City of Tshwane enquiries, please contact Dorah Nteo at DorahN@Tshwane.gov.za.

###
Media Contact:
Reputation Matters
Winet Fourie
Email: winet@reputationmatters.co.za
Mobile: 081 412 5680

Note to Editors
African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum: The declaration commits to advancing sustainability solutions within the African continent through ground-breaking initiatives based on acknowledgement of the current global challenges that threaten growth and development in our cities, especially those related to climate change, global economic slowdown, trade facilitation, connectivity, land degradation caused by mining activities and water shortages.
Capital cities and their leaders have a unique role to play in enabling the solutions to these problems to be implemented because leadership taken at a local level can fast track solutions to address energy security, waste management, food security and job creation within the green economy.

In September 2015 the implementation of the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be adopted by the United National General Assembly and these will have to be consolidated into the approach that African leaders take towards developing their cities.

Press Release – 16 July 2015


Follow Alive2Green on Social Media
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle +

Green Capital: The City of Tshwane’s Green Economy Strategic Framework

GBJ 10 (2014)

By Alistair Schorn

As South Africa’s capital city, the City of Tshwane has recognised and embraced its responsibility to play a leading role in the transition of the county’s major cities and metropolitan areas to low-carbon, climate- resilient and resource-efficient models of development. This is clearly demonstrated in the development of the City’s Green Economy Strategic Framework, and its alignment with the City of Tshwane Vision 2055.

As with any initiative at the level of local government this framework was developed in alignment with the national economic development context. In this regard, the South African government has for a number of years recognised the green economy as a significant catalyst for employment creation, and socially equitable and environmentally responsible economic development. More specifically, the South African Department of Environmental Affairs states that the green economy refers in particular to two interlinked developmental outcomes for the South African economy, namely:

  • Growth in economic activity (leading investment, employment and competitiveness) in identified green industry sectors;
  • An overall shift in economic activity towards cleaner industries and sectors that have a low environmental impact compared to their socio-economic impact.

In line with these imperatives, the government has implemented a number of policy measures which aim to promote a transition to a green economy. These include the National Strategy for Sustainable Development, the Industrial Policy Action Plan, the New Growth Path, the Green Economy Accord and most recently, the National Development Plan that was released in 2012.

In the context of these national policy measures, strategies and plans, the implementation of South Africa’s green economy transition has been to the level of a significant degree decentralised to provincial and local government level. As a result, the City of Tshwane has identified a requirement to develop a city-specific Green Economy Strategic Framework, which reinforces national policy and provincial policy in this area.

What is a green economy and how can we get there?

In developing the Green Economy Strategic Framework for Tshwane, the City’s government has adopted the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) definition of a green economy, namely “one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities”

From the City’s perspective, therefore, the essence of a green economy lies in the following:

  • Improved human well-being;
  • Improved social equity;
  • Reduced environmental risks and ecological scarcities.

It is therefore imperative that a green economy transition can de-couple economic development from resource consumption and environmental impacts, and enable inclusive growth through a more equal distribution of wealth and access to ecological goods and services such as clean air and water.

It should also enable improved human health and well-being, through enhancing the quality and quantity of these goods and services, as well as the quantity and quality of public infrastructure and services such as transportation, education and civil services.

If implemented effectively, a green economy can offer a new economic path to sustainable development, in which the spheres of technology, economy, society and ecology are embedded in each other and are underpinned by systems of good governance.

Sustainable development and the green economy (adapted from the National Strategy for Sustainable Development).

This understanding of a green economy provides the broader context for the development of the City of Tshwane’s Strategic Framework.

The successful implementation of this Framework, and the resulting transition to a green economy, will require that the City makes best use of its inherent competitive advantages, to develop a highly appropriate, resource-efficient, low-carbon and inclusive programme.

The City of Tshwane

Tshwane is of course located in the north of Gauteng, and comprises over one-third of the province’s area. It has a population of 2, 92 million and a population density of 4 634 people per km2.

Tshwane exhibits a diversity of land uses, including residential (rural and urban), agricultural, natural open, industrial and commercial. Much of Tshwane is currently urbanised, although significant potential exists for agricultural production in less urbanised regions. Over the past several decades, Tshwane has experienced rapid economic growth and development, resulting in significant urban sprawl, which presents a growing challenge in terms of basic services, infrastructure and housing.

One of the objectives of the Strategic Framework is of new and existing projects and programmes to be included in the City of Tshwane’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP) in the next planning cycle. The IDP for 2011–2016 has made significant improvements in livelihoods by addressing service backlogs and poverty through improving the availability and universal accessibility of essential public services (such as housing, water, sanitation, education and health care). The next IDP will therefore need to continue with service delivery roll-out, while at the same time focusing on the development of integrated solutions that reduce resource consumption and the generation of pollution and waste, while opening up new opportunities for green jobs and green economic growth.

The Strategic Framework will help to inform the City of Tshwane’s medium to long-term green economy objectives. It also forms part of the Tshwane 2055 initiative, which is a long-term strategy for improving the quality of living across the metropolitan area, revitalising the city, boosting economic development and attracting investment. It aims to articulate the City of Tshwane’s vision, game-changing interventions, indicators and outcomes.

In this regard, Tshwane 2055 has the following six identified outcomes:

  • A resilient and resource-efficient city;
  • A growing economy that is inclusive, diversified and competitive;
  • Quality infrastructure development that supports liveable communities;
  • An equitable city that supports happiness, social cohesion, safety and healthy citizens;
  • An African capital city that promotes excellence and innovative governance solutions;
  • An activist citizenry that is engaging, aware of their rights and present themselves as partners in tackling societal challenges.

The Tshwane Green Economy Strategic Framework is aimed at addressing primarily the first of these objectives, namely the development of a resilient and resource-efficient city. It will also contribute to achievement of the second objective, particularly in the area of economic inclusivity.

The Tshwane Green Economy Strategic Framework

The development process for the Framework included extensive internal consultation with relevant City officials, and significant support and participation were received from local UNEP representatives. Based upon this process, the principal drivers of the green economy were identified as a response to the growing economic and environmental crises that demand a new green economic model for the following:

  • Resource efficiency: the efficient use of natural resources to reduce the generation of waste and pollutants;
  • Low-carbon development: the use of innovation and increased investment in low-carbon technologies and solutions; and
  • Inclusive growth: the creation of green jobs and the greening of service delivery to ensure more equitable and inclusive growth with a focus on the poor.

It was decided that the focus areas or themes of the Strategic Framework should be action-based and aligned with existing green economy initiatives and strategies. These themes were accordingly finalised in March 2013, and were divided into two principal categories or clusters, namely mitigation and adaptation.Within each of these themes, the status quo and challenges were described to give context and perspective. Known challenges and barriers to developing the City’s green economy were used to formulate aspirations, objectives and appropriate actions for each theme.

These were incorporated into an initial draft of the Strategic Framework that was reviewed and finalised by the City of Tshwane’s Sustainability Office.

Thematic action areas

Under each of the mitigation and adaptation clusters, the Framework identifies the following specific thematic action areas, as follows:

1. Transitioning to a low-carbon city (mitigation)

  • Pollution and waste management – reduction and effective management of waste streams, including solid waste, wastewater and air pollution;
  • Integrated water resource management – coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources;
  • Green buildings and built environment – the development of a green built environment in the City, including spatial planning and public service infrastructure, with due consideration of national initiatives in this area;
  • Sustainable transport and improved mobility – improved efficiency and sustainability in transport systems and infrastructure, and the creation of an enabling environment for green transport initiatives;
  • Sustainable energy – including initiatives, in line with various national policies and programmes in the field.

2. Building a resilient and resource-efficient city (adaptation)

  • Maintenance and provision of ecosystem goods and services – protection and enhancement of ecosystem goods and services, with due consideration of ecological limits and rates of replenishment;
  • Sustainable agriculture and food security – creation of sustainable food supply systems which maintain and enhance the ecological integrity of land and other natural resources;
  • Sustainable communities (health and social development) – promotion of a vibrant citizenry and a healthy, skilled workforce that contributes to improved wellbeing and social cohesion.

For each of these themes, a set of overall aspirations, strategic objectives and appropriate actions were developed for the Framework.

Specific mitigation actions include the following: reducing emissions from buildings; improving mobility and providing low-carbon mass transport options; reducing the generation of waste and encouraging product re-use, recycling and material recovery; promoting integrated planning and land use; improving energy efficiency and developing renewable energy supply options; and encouraging the efficient use and management of water and other natural resources.

The adaptation actions include: main- streaming environmental priorities and carrying out biodiversity assessments to inform development plans; supporting and expanding government public works programmes to incorporate payment for an ecosystem services approach, enhancing the skills and knowledge in agro-ecology, enhancing local urban and peri-urban food production for increased food security; and providing services and facilities that enable a safe and healthy environment while enhancing opportunities for improved connectivity and social cohesion and human wellbeing.

A number of specific methods of implementation were identified to promote the establishment of a green economy in the City, including the following:

  • Investing strategically in green innovation and technology;
  • Defining a new economic base for a green economy; and
  • Developing partnerships between government, business, labour and civil society.

In terms of these implementation methods, the Framework identifies the financial constraints under which the City (and in fact all municipalities) operate, as a potential inhibitor of transition to a green economy, and it acknowledges the necessity for effective public-private partnerships to overcome this obstacle.

Furthermore, the Framework refers to the possible use of municipal fiscal policy, in the form of both incentives and disincentives, as an effective method of catalysing the growth of a green economy in the city.

A final element of the Framework, included as an Appendix, outlines the City’s targets for various measures and initiatives for a green economy as derived from national and provincial targets in these areas.

These include areas such as the installation of solar water heaters, the creation of green jobs, public sector investment in green economy sectors such as renewable energy and sustainable transportation, energy efficiency targets, waste reduction targets and the implementation of appropriate sustainability standards such as those for green buildings.

The City of Tshwane’s transition to a green economy will require a fundamental change in the established economic system, from one based on increasing exploitation of natural resources to fulfil the growing demands for material consumption, to one that can ensure sustainable and equitable growth within the ecological limits of Tshwane and the region.

Achieving this shift will require effective integrated planning, robust policy signals, good governance and high levels of accountability on the part of the City’s management. It will also require investment in new skills, research in innovation and green technologies, and a new mindset for doing business.

The Green Economy Strategic Framework provides a means to achieve these objectives, by outlining the suite of strategies and actions that are required to facilitate the City’s transition to a green economy and a sustainable development path.