ACCSF is a powerful, growing network for the mayors of capital cities across the continent to achieve the sustainable development goals that are common to all.
Growing in size and influence since 2015. Read about the rapid development of this powerful forum.
This year, the focus falls firmly on the mayors themselves. Leaders of Africa’s capital cities unpack challenges and opportunities.
By 2055, growth and development in Tshwane will be driven by an economy that supports a sustainable, vibrant, liveable and prosperous city, through integrated ecological, social, economic and spatial agendas that promote human and environmental wellbeing. The city has taken a conscious decision to transition to a low carbon, resource efficient and climate resilient city, and is exploring sustainable and alternative options of providing services, thereby ensuring value for money through its ambitious sustainability drive. Global warming, climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience are further ‘new’ problems facing all our societies, which despite being among the least big culprits in the world are possibly feeling the negative impacts in the strongest way. Africa’s capital cities are stronger together. ACCSF is a powerful, growing network for the mayors of capital cities across the continent to achieve the sustainable development goals that are common to all. In the words of Solly Msimanga, executive mayor of Tshwane, it is a glowing opportunity “to establish commonalities and challenges faced by major cities
in Africa while showcasing and sharing successful initiatives towards the emergence of truly African, original and appropriate answers in addressing the sustainability imperative at the urban scale.” Key challenges threatening growth and development in African 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, and on top of this the significant and growing impacts of climate change. Capital cities have a unique role in providing leadership for other local authorities within country borders. Partnerships and collaborative efforts have an important role to play in the implementation of sustainability, especially collaboration between the national, local and other levels of government to align and thus more effectively address sustainable development challenges. The increasing rate of urbanization in African cities especially calls for the proactive design and implementation of sustainable urban development solutions.
The inaugural African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum, hosted in 2015 by the City of Tshwane, created exposure for participating African Capital Cities to deliberate on the concept of sustainability in an urban context and leadership context.
The inaugural forum was held on from 23 June 2015 at the CSIR International Convention Centre followed by a further two days of multi-lateral engagements and City tours as City of Tshwane hosted 15 African Capital Cities. A key outcome of the launch was the signing of the Tshwane Declaration – a comprehensive programme of action for African capital cities committed to a sustainable capital development. Furthermore, there was a firm undertaking by the City of Tshwane to host a further three consecutive fora.
In 2016, the forum was convened from 31 May to 2 June 2016; the main focus was on understanding the status and focus of sustainability programmes in 18 African capital cities. It revealed a diversity of initiatives, ranging from programmes to tackle HIV/AIDS to the installation of solar-powered lighting systems.
In 2017, 32 mayoral delegations attended. The forum focused on responsible leadership, exploring political leadership as a key agent in promoting the role of decentralised government in addressing sustainability challenges in Africa, and how African capital cities are leading the way. The outcome of the event was a joint resolution by the mayors as expressed in the Tshwane Declaration 2018.
This year, the focus falls firmly on the mayors themselves. For the first time, the leaders of Africa’s capital cities are taking part in focused panel discussions that unpack the challenges and opportunities posed by sustainable development imperatives. Following on from the discussions of 2017, panels are grouped according to the issues of greatest concern for the individual cities in question.
It is a rare opportunity to grasp the big picture of sustainable development in Africa as perceived by the leaders at the coal-face – the mayors of Africa’s capital cities themselves. There is no better forum for all stakeholders in African urban development to gain insight into exactly what the sustainable development needs of Africa’s capital cities are, or how to go about implementing the necessary changes, from policy to infrastructure development.