C40 Cities Conference highlights vital role of African cities in tackling climate change

Members of the CAI Africa Regional Academy. Picture: Zarina Moolla/C40 Cities

Members of the CAI Africa Regional Academy. Picture: Zarina Moolla/C40 Cities

Published Jul 20, 2023


In a momentous event, the CAI Africa Regional Academy's opening ceremony marked a new era of climate action for African cities.

The academy, hosted in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania was funded by UK-AID and supported by the British government, gathered leaders, policymakers, and delegates from various cities across the continent to address the urgent challenge of climate change and accelerate climate action implementation.

Hastings Chikoko, regional director for Africa at C40 Cities, expressed deep gratitude to all attendees commending the progress made by African cities in their response to climate change over the years.

“From a time when climate change was not universally recognised, today's African cities are actively engaged in implementing climate action plans, recognising the relevance and urgency of addressing climate change,” Chikoko said.

Africa, with its rich cultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes, also faces immense vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlighted the continent's vulnerability, emphasising the critical need for swift action to avoid irreversible and catastrophic consequences.

Chikoko stressed the importance of inclusivity in climate action, ensuring that no segment of society, including informal settlements and businesses, is left behind.

He acknowledged Dar es Salaam City Council's commitment to inclusive climate action, setting an example for other cities to follow.

The UKAID funded Climate Action Implementation program aims to provide technical assistance to African cities, accelerating implementation in ways that create jobs, improve development, and ensure inclusivity.

The program focuses on various opportunities, such as investing in renewable energy infrastructure, sustainable urban planning and design, and effective waste management, among others.

Collaboration among governments, businesses, and communities is deemed crucial for unlocking accelerated climate action implementation across sectors. Public-private partnerships, supported by an enabling policy and regulatory framework, can drive the scaling up of sustainable technologies and practices.

Chikoko emphasised the significance of knowledge sharing and peer-to-peer learning among African cities. Platforms like C40 Cities play a vital role in facilitating partnerships and exchanging best practices, enabling cities to overcome common challenges and accelerate their climate action efforts.

Addressing the workshop participants, Chikoko urged critical thinking and learning from one another, emphasising the importance of taking actionable measures back to their respective cities.

He highlighted that the pursuit of climate action is not merely to save the planet but to safeguard the people and economies that depend on it. By transcending borders, politics, and differences, African cities can work together to create a sustainable future for generations to come.

With the CAI Africa Regional Academy underway, hopes are high that this united effort will pave the way for a resilient and prosperous future where African cities flourish, and the planet thrives. As delegates delve into workshops and discussions, the stage is set for transformational change that will leave a lasting impact on the continent and the world.