Dubai — The City of Kigali is among three African cities that have been selected to benefit from funds aimed to build resilience to the impacts of climate change and reduce carbon emissions.
The funds, announced at 28th UN climate summit (COP28) in UAE, Dubai, are provided under the initiative dubbed ”Scaling Urban Nature Base Solutions for Climate Adaptation in Sub-Saharan Africa (SUNCASA).”
Other cities that have been selected to benefit from the funds include Dire Dawa in Ethiopia and Johannesburg in South Africa.
The climate resilience and mitigation in Rwanda’s capital will be achieved through afforestation in upstream bare lands, agroforestry, reforestation of urban degraded forests, planting urban trees and protecting vegetated buffers.
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Funding nature-based solutions will also create new jobs and protect biodiversity in urban communities.
While at COP28, Pudence Rubingisa, the Mayor of Kigali city told The New Times that the funding secured on the side of Rwanda is equivalent to $9.3 million Canadian Dollars (Rwf8.5 billion).
The project interventions are expected to ensure green space development, increased infiltration and reduce flooding.
”At COP28, the City of Kigali looks forward to increased financing for climate resilient cities,” he said.
The city needs more finance in restoring wetlands, promoting green mobility, creating parks and recreational facilities as well as improving public transportation.
Air quality monitoring for sustainable cities
Kigali’s mayor also joined other mayors from the Partnership for Healthy Cities network, united in a call for local action on air quality monitoring to improve the health of urban residents.
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Partnership for Healthy Cities is a prestigious global network of 73 cities committed to saving lives by preventing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries.
The joint mayoral statement said: ”We stand committed to breaking the destructive cycle of climate change and air pollution and its disastrous effects on public health in urban centers”
Statement by eight Partnership for Healthy Cities mayors urged local governments to take action to strengthen air quality data monitoring as world leaders convene at COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The action could help prevent noncommunicable diseases in cities.
According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is the greatest environmental threat to public health globally, claiming seven million lives annually, primarily due to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke and lung cancer.
Air pollution is the second leading cause of noncommunicable disease (NCD) deaths, after tobacco. NCDs associated with air pollution include heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), almost the entire global population (99%) breathe air that exceeds WHO guideline limits. Citizens in low- and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected–some 89% of premature deaths occur in these areas.
”Cities are bearing the brunt, so as mayors, we are in a race against time: With urban populations increasing rapidly, every year more children are growing up breathing toxic air. We cannot afford to delay putting systems in place that reliably monitor pollutants in our air–and harness this data to inform public health policy,” reads the statement.
It adds: ”The size of our populations and our proximity to the challenges mean cities hold tremendous potential to enact change. We can also lead by example. That is why, as world leaders gather at COP28, we call on cities around the world to adopt effective air monitoring programs and use data to promote public health actions that improve the lives of their citizens.”
Simone Sandholz, the Head of Urban Futures and Sustainability Transformation Programme at United Nations University – Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) said that cities are producing more than 70 per cent of emissions which play a big role in non-communicable diseases.
”By building resilience in cities, we can really trigger a process which will help all of us to live a more sustainable life,” she said.
Simon Emmanuel Kervin Stiell , the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change said: ”At the end of next week, we need COP28 to deliver a bullet train, to speed up climate action.Finance is the great enabler for climate action. The negotiations must put it front and center.”
”We’ve said we’ll double adaptation finance – now we have to deliver, including on the details, and set ourselves up to go much further. We must not lose any focus on the Global Goal for Adaptation. Eight billion people are on the frontlines. Right now only 50 countries have National Adaptation Plans,” he added.
This story was produced with assistance from MESHA and IDRC Eastern and Southern Africa Office for science journalists reporting on COP28.
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Publish date : 2023-12-07 12:09:17