In a groundbreaking initiative announced during the ‘Global South's Climate Response: Local Governments' Resilience and Ambition in the Face of the Climate Crisis’ session at COP28 in Dubai, three African cities have taken the forefront in a new urban resilience project. Cape Coast in Ghana, Lusaka in Zambia, and Port Louis in Mauritius are set to be the focal points of the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 4Africa project, a collaborative effort led by ICLEI Africa and supported by the Lloyd's Register Foundation 'World Risk Poll into action' funding call.
The 2021 World Risk Poll results underscore the urgent need for such initiatives. Africa, as revealed by the large-scale demographic analysis of people’s ability to handle crises holds the lowest Resilience Index scores globally. Alarmingly, less than a third of families in Central and West Africa feel adequately prepared to confront the escalating frequency of climate-related disasters.
The DRR 4Africa project aims to address these vulnerabilities head-on by implementing inclusive, participatory workshops with local stakeholders. Simultaneously, a meticulous assessment of existing risks from climate-induced hazards will be conducted, consolidating findings into bespoke solution packages designed to enhance resilience on a local level.
Lucy Lavriotte, Project Manager of DRR4Africa and Senior Specialist at ICLEI Africa, says: “Rapidly urbanising African cities are being hit hard by climate change, and poor communities, especially women, are disproportionately affected. The World Risk Poll data enables DRR4Africa to map out which cities have reported the highest levels of vulnerability to climate-induced hazards and produce effective interventions which improve safety for those communities at risk.”
The selection of Cape Coast, Lusaka, and Port Louis is strategic, considering their diverse characteristics in economic development, population size, ecosystem, climate, and climate hazards. These cities offer a geographical spread that ensures a comprehensive representation of African contexts, providing a unique opportunity to scale up the project and share invaluable insights across the continent.
Cape Coast, a West African coastal city rich in natural resources, faces threats such as sea-level rise, coastal erosion, extreme weather events, saltwater intrusion and loss of biodiversity.
Lusaka is a densely populated city in Zambia, grapples with water scarcity, drought and the Urban Heat Effect, all exacerbated by climate change.
Port Louis, Mauritius, situated in an East African island state, confronts challenges like cyclones, sea-level rise and coral bleaching, impacting its tourism-dependent economy.
As these cities embark on this transformative journey, the DRR 4Africa project not only promises resilience-building at the local level but also envisions a blueprint for other urban areas facing the imminent challenges of climate change. The collaboration between ICLEI Africa, the Lloyd's Register Foundation, and the committed leadership of these African cities heralds a new era in the pursuit of climate resilience, setting an inspiring example for the global community at COP28.
To find out more about ICLEI Africa and the DRR 4Africa project, please visit their website. For more information on the World Risk Poll into action funding call, please visit the World Risk Poll website.