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Global Platform for Sustainable Cities launched in Singapore

SINGAPORE, March 9 (Xinhua) — Global Platform for Sustainable Cities (GPSC), funded by part of a Global Environment Facility (GEF) initiative, was launched on Wednesday when city leaders around the world met in Singapore.

The initiative by GEF is expected to mobilize up to 1.5 billion U.S. dollars over the next five years for urban sustainability programs in 11 developing countries, including Brazil, Cote D’Ivoire, China, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Senegal, South Africa, and Vietnam, according to a joint release by World Bank and GEF.

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Coordinated by World Bank and supported by multilateral development banks, UN organizations, think tanks and various city networks, GPSC is a knowledge sharing program that will provide access to cutting-edge tools and promote an integrated approach to sustainable urban planning and financing.

GPSC will work with a core group of 23 cities, but it will reach many more by sharing of data, experiences, ideas, and solutions to urban challenges, and by linking the knowledge to finance that will influence investment flows toward building cities’ long-term urban sustainability.

The program is designed to help mayors and other municipal leaders take more informed decisions in the day-to-day management of their cities, including improving access to clean water, energy, and transport, as well as efforts to mitigate climate change. It also supports cities in pursuing evidence-based approaches to urban planning, including geospatial data, and establishing urban sustainability indicators.

“Linking knowledge to finance is critical to directing investment flows to quality and sustainability. We see this platform as a great opportunity to connect cities not only to cutting-edge knowledge, but also to development banks and financial institutions,” said Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, Senior Director of the World Bank’s Social, Urban, Rural, and Resilience Global Practice.

GPSC launch event was held during Singapore Urban Week, which lasts from Monday to Friday. The program is the foundation of “Sustainable Cities Integrated Approach Pilot”, a wider GEF sustainable cities initiative which is expected to create a strong network of cities that will act as global ambassadors for urban sustainability planning, with tangible benefits at both the local and global levels.

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Source: shanghaidaily


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Recovering energy from waste can power Africa

Production of electricity from waste has the potential of providing up to 83.8 TeraWatt hours (TWh), which is about 20% of the electricity needed in Africa by 2025. This is according to a study co-authored by the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC). However, this requires stringent waste management policies to be put in place, and today Africa lacks the adequate infrastructure needed to install these environmentally friendly methods.

Like some other parts of the world, most of the waste in Africa is burned without tapping the potential of gases (which usually end in pollution) or dumped in landfills without protecting groundwater. Many of the developed countries that have a high percentage of waste to energy recovery, have strict emissions laws that regulate waste handling.

Waste in Africa, according to JRC, can be used to produce energy in two ways. The first is using Waste-to-energy (WTE) incineration plants where the trash is burnt to produce steam that turns turbines. The report notes that these are few in this part of the world because of the high initial costs of establishment. Strict measures are needed to ensure the plants do not pollute the environment via toxic by-products.

Although most of Africa buries or dumps waste that when decomposing releases methane and carbon dioxide gases naturally. These gases can be captured for heat or burnt in gas turbines, internal combustion engines, and steam boilers to produce electricity. This is the second method.

Waste energy recovery could act as one stone killing two birds because it provides power, and at the same time helps deal with the increasing waste problem in Africa. The continent is expecting  incredible growth in population and urbanization, which is to be accompanied with production of more waste. The reports points out that energy recovery from waste could help alleviate energy poverty in countries such as Central African Republic, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Sierra Leone, Rwandaand Somalia, which have poor access to electricity and low electricity consumption per capita.

The potential could be much higher since the 20% figure is based on urban waste calculations alone according to the report. Most of waste around the world is concentrated around urban centers.

A few projects already underway

Just recently, Cleanleap wrote about Africa’s first and largest Anaerobic Digester (AD) which will generate 2.4 MW of installed power that will be channeled to Kenya’s national electricity grid. It first converts biomass waste (organic waste being sourced from nearby farms) to biogas and then the biogas is burned to produce electricity and heat. In addition to using 50,000 tones of organic crop waste each year, it will produce 35,000 tones of nitrogen-rich matter as a by-product natural fertilizer. The first phase of the project is now complete.

My colleague also recently wrote about an Ethiopia’s 50-year-old towering mountain of waste Koshe being converted into power. Koshe Waste-to-Energy facility will generate 50 megawatts of clean energy by burning 350,000 tones of waste annually. It will help deal with the waste menace. Construction of the factory started last year and was to complete in 18 months.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are also partnering to see the first Omni Processor factory pilot project thatconverts sewage into drinking water and power. The first factory will be based in Senegal and, although it is fronted as a project to mainly reinvent the toilet, it will produce 150W of power and the success of the pilot project would prove that the solution can be duplicated all over developing countries. It involves boiling of sludge to high temperatures to produce steam, which is then used to run steam engines. Construction of the factory begun last year.

These are just but a few of the thousands, but yet insufficient, projects being pursued to produce power from waste.

The issue of power shortages cannot be re-emphasized and introduction of off-grid solutions is seen as helpful towards increasing power access. In short, in addition to bringing a revolution to how we generate power so much needed in Africa, waste-to-energy projects will also help deal with sanitation problem in developing countries, one of the largest problems facing many of these nations and which is still responsible for many health problems.

Source: cleanleap


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New road rules for South Africa by end of the year?

THE national Department of Transport is hoping to reduce road deaths with new legislation that includes slower speed limits and an end to carrying children in an open bakkie.

Long queues and understaffed vehicle-licensing centres frustrate thousands of drivers in South Africa – but now the national Transport Department could anger drivers further by compelling them to take a practical test when renewing a driving licence.

Draft regulations intended to curb road carnage include slower speed limits, the banning of carrying children in a bakkie load bay and restricting the use of heavy vehicles.

In April, it was reported that national Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters had proposed restrictions on goods vehicles on public roads. Now it seems the minister is making good on her promise to restrict the use of commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) exceeding 9 000kg.

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The propose these changes to legislation:

• Drivers to be re-evaluated when renewing a licence.

• No more than five people to be carried in a bakkie load bed.

• Children not to be transported in a bakkie load bed.

• Speed limits to be reduced from 60km/h to 40km/h in urban areas, from 100km/h to 80km/h in rural areas and from 120km/h to 100km/h on freeways running through a residential area.

• Goods vehicles above 9 000kg GVM to be banned from public roads during peak travelling times.

Transport department spokesman Ishmael Mnisi said that the proposed legislation would have to be presented to his party’s cabinet, be discussed in Parliament and include public input.

He said the department hoped to implement the proposed regulations by the end of 2015.

Source: news24


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Architects take on challenge of social enablement

With over 64% of South Africa’s population living in cities, architects and designers have a major role to play in building and enabling the human environment. Daniel van der Merwe (above), President of the Gauteng Institute for Architecture (Gifa) mentions that in order to improve the quality of life of the majority of South Africans, more quality collective spaces are needed to live, work and play in – a key focus at this year’s thought-provoking Architecture ZA 2015 (AZA2015) event set to take place in Johannesburg from 24 to 26 September 2015.
South African cities are experiencing a growing influx of people which has a massive impact on the quality of urban life. According to the Worldbank*, South Africa’s urban population for 2013 was a staggering 64%. Never before in the history of mankind have so many people relocated to cities on such a scale, mentions Daniel van der Merwe.
“The prediction is that in the next 10 to 15 years more than 70% of the population will be living in urban environments in search of better employment opportunities to support their families. The quality of the urban environment is becoming more urgent than ever before. Quality collective spaces for private and public use is paramount for social enablement and architects and designers’ role in creating these environments are ever more essential,” says van der Merwe.
These pressing issues will be raised at the much anticipated Architecture ZA 2015 (AZA2015) event, set to take place in the heart of Johannesburg – The Sheds @ 1 Fox in Newtown.
“Environments need to be created to provide better lives for all, especially in an unequal society where the majority of the nation is poor. It comes down to empowerment where spaces should build on the dignity of a nation. The challenge for creating these environments is how quality spaces can be created that are cost effective and allow South Africans to take ownership of and enjoy their surroundings with dignity. The solution to this issue is not just green buildings, but rather sustainable human environments,” says van der Merwe.
He also highlights the importance of cross-disciplinary collaborations to enhance the future of South Africa’s cities and to make it more meaningful. “These endeavours should not be actioned in silos as there are a multitude of disciplines involved in creating workable living conditions. It should also be cost-effective where collaborative thinking is vital. Engineers, Government, architects and designers are just some of the fraternities that should make a collective stand,” continues van der Merwe.
Architecture is also a facilitator in the development of an economy in that it creates the habitat for productive and meaningful lives. The discipline unlocks potential to create important hierarchies of public and private interaction where environments are multi-functional and flexible. “Gone are the days where buildings are just for living, playing or working. These spaces become dead zones when not in use – it should serve as a collective space, which we are seeing more and more of in the bigger urban settings,” addresses van der Merwe.
Apart from architects and designers’ role in economic development, it is also a powerful tool for social enablement. Van der Merwe elaborates that architecture, more than ever, has to enable the poor which is the majority of the people. “If architecture fails in that obligation, we will fail society. We need to create a more equal community through architectural intervention or we will face an uncertain future,” explains van der Merwe.
It is refreshing to see the optimism of South Africa’s built landscape. There are numerous long-term urban development frameworks in place to create high density urban environments, where currently it is low density. “We as architects and built environment practitioners have the opportunity to create more workable, multiple-use cities with the use of regeneration which will also assist in job creation,” concludes van der Merwe.
AZA2015 will focus on all these exciting issues where it will bring local and international experts together to share experiences and best practice. The event is not just a conference where ideas will be shared; there will be master classes, workshops and multitude of public events. It is an opportunity for other disciplines to share in the future of South Africa’s cities and be part of the regeneration of major urban life, right in the heart of Johannesburg.
AZA2015 is proudly sponsored by PPC Ltd. For more information about AZA2015, visit http://architectureza.org/. AZA2015 is also on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/architectureza).
* http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.URB.TOTL.IN.ZS

Source: SA Building Review


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African mayors invited to attend Sustainability Forum

The executive mayor of the City of Tshwane, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, has extended an invitation to the mayors of African capital cities to attend the African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum to engage in the opportunity to champion urban sustainability in respective countries.

The Forum, which will take place from 23-25 June 2015 during Sustainability Week, will explore various opportunities to address the sustainability imperative arising from the current and numerous challenges African cities face on a daily basis.

“Sustainable development and the green economy are key policy foundations for the City of Tshwane and a means to stimulate economic growth,” said Ramokgopa during his address to the heads of African Missions. “The City of Tshwane’s Vision 2055 is to become a low carbon, resource efficient and climate resilient city,” he added.

Sustainability goals

Some of the city’s sustainability goals are energy security, green buildings, energy efficiency which includes investment in electric vehicles and solar water heaters in low-income households, food security and sustainable public transport services. Other exciting items are free wi-fi services throughout the city and waste separation at source.

Ramokgopa highlighted the efforts of the city within collaborative national and international structures and emphasised that the African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum is an important new strategic component of these endeavours.

Sustainability Week takes place at the CSIR International Conference Centre in Pretoria from 23-28 June 2015.

Source: Bizcommunity


 

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