Experts from selected member States of Eastern and Southern Africa gathered in Lusaka, Zambia from June 27-28, 2019 in a capacity development workshop to deliberate on the Harmonised Implementation, Monitoring and Reporting Framework of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) for Africa.
The meeting was aimed at familiarizing member States in the two sub-regions with the Framework and share ongoing good practices experiences.
The regional Framework for the New Urban Agenda was developed under the auspices of the Sub-Committee on Urban Development and Human Settlements of the AU Specialised Technical Committee (STC) No. 8 on Public Service, Local Government, Urban Development and Decentralisation, with ECA as the technical lead supported by United Nations Programme for Human Settlements (UN-Habitat).
The meeting was organised by the African Union Commission (AUC) and backstopped by the Economic Commission for (ECA) and United Nations Programme for Human Settlements (UN Habitat).
It brought together over 20 experts working on urbanisation and related issues. The participants stated that urbanisation is a mega trend for Africa’s growth and transformation and is reshaping the social, economic, demographic and environmental profile of the continent.
The experts stressed that Africa’s transformation can only be achieved when the rapid urban transition is harnessed for job creation and economic diversification with visible impacts in people’s welfare.
In this regard, they called for a need to plan, design, manage and finance urbanisation if Africa is to reap full benefits of growth, job creation, poverty and inequality reduction.
Guided by six priority areas and seven means of implementation, the regional Framework for the New Urban Agenda serves as a regional guide, adaptable to member States’ needs and contexts at the sub-regional, national and subnational levels.
It allows for coherence and harmonised implementation of human settlements along the urban-rural continuum, aligned with regional priorities of Africa, and in synergy with multiple global and regional agreements and frameworks.
Addressing participants drawn from select member States and UN agencies, Thokozile Ruzvidzo, Director of the Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division at the ECA, noted that “Africa’s New Urban Agenda priorities are multi-sectoral in nature and require a strategic cross-sectoral policy implementation approach anchored in national development planning as the multi-dimensional implications of urban development call for strengthened capacity to deal with the complex and inter-sectoral nature of inclusive and sustainable urban development”.
Speaking at the same meeting, Mr. Tobias Chomba, Director of Human Resource Administration at the Ministry of Local Government in the Republic of Zambia observed that “never have urbanisation and sustainable development become more relevant an issue of discussion than now.
The high rate of urbanisation presents both opportunities and challenges”. He also stated that “while urbanization has historically been a driver for socio-economic growth and transformation owing to opportunities arising from agglomeration economies, the current model of uncontrolled rapid urbanization is occurring amidst slow structural transformation, and has negative economic, social and environmental externalities that threaten sustainable development”.
Experts reiterated the economic importance of cities as places of production, investments and business opportunities rather than places of mere consumption.
They stressed a need forstrategic partnerships to leverage each other’s comparative advantage in the implementation of the regional framework for the New Urban Agenda.