This year’s Sustainability Week, set for 5-7 June at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Tshwane, will cover sustainable development in Africa at various scales, from Africa’s capital cities to the people who sustainable development affects.
Africa’s capital cities heed the call
From Cairo to Kampala, from Windhoek to Ougadougou, the mayors of Africa’s capital cities are coming to call. The African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum (ACCSF), to be held on day one of Sustainability Week, will see a growing network of mayors gather to share how they are responding to the numerous challenges that are threatening growth and development in African cities. These threats include rapid urbanisation, energy and water access and stresses, sanitation, the global economic slowdown, rising unemployment and social inequities, trade facilitation, connectivity, land and biodiversity degradation, amongst others, not to mention the significant and growing impacts of climate change.
Sustainable Cities Africa
Drawing on the insights derived from the ACCSF, the second day will be about how to deal with these threats. Sustainable Cities Africa will present technical solutions to the challenges faced by cities tasked with leading pro-poor, climate-resilient social and economic transformation.
The first session, Financing the city, is about the relationship between responsible leadership and project funding. Making cities safe and sustainable means ensuring access to safe and affordable housing, and upgrading slum settlements, as well as investing in public transport, creating green public spaces, and improving urban planning and management in a way that is both participatory and inclusive. Sustainable solutions such as public transit systems and energy-efficient buildings need a strong financial model behind them to come to life.
The second session, The city of the people, recognises that the more than 200 million people who live in informal human settlements in Africa are vulnerable to poverty, food insecurity, social violence, fire, flooding and disease. For cities to be inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, these informal settlements must be upgraded in a way that enhances economic and social opportunities, so that people have access to decent housing as well as decent work.
The third session, The city of commerce, industry and science, focuses on how companies can achieve competitive advantage through balancing sustainable development goals with the highest economic, social and governance performance standards – while fostering the technological innovation that will allow Africa to join the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Sustainability Week seminars
The third day of Sustainability Week drills down into the practical and technical detail of achieving sustainable outcomes in an array of interconnected industries, including energy, water, agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, transport and waste.
This day also hosts the Green Building Council’s eagerly anticipated Green Building Conference, showcasing the latest developments in green building technique.