The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) in collaboration with the Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA) through PSS Urbania has organised a one-day stakeholder workshop on Climate Resilient Urban Planning for the Central Business District (CBD) of Accra to promote sustainable spatial and development planning.
The workshop is the beginning of the City's aim to develop climate risk assessments and models that would help embed flood and riverine risks and coastal erosion adaptation response to aid in risk-informed urban design into the spatial planning systems and operations of the city of Accra and its neighbouring municipalities.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Metropolitan Chief Executive of Accra, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, said the element of climate change had been missing in the discourse to find a lasting solution to the perennial flooding and tidal waves erosion along the coast hence the decision by the AMA to include such an action in Accra's first Climate Action Plan (CAP) to deliberately embark on actions to understand the extent and impact of climate change risks adding that this will aid the city in mitigating or adapting to the challenges confronting the city as related to climate change.
He said the development of climate risk assessments and models and through the workshop and other activities to be undertaken by PSS Urbania as part of this project would lead to the designing of a spatial map for the city of Accra to inform decisions in the area of urban planning.
"Urbanization is real and we are all aware that by 2050, 70% of the global population will be living in urban areas. Africa appears to be the fastest-growing urbanized area and Accra is no exception... Today because of lack of space people build everywhere, but we do not want to be overwhelmed by these developments hence the need to focus on systematic long term “sustainable solutions" he said.
He stressed the need for all stakeholders to religiously conform to the proposed solutions that this work would influence to protect lives and properties in the city.
He assured that as the Chief Executive of Accra he would focus on building the foundation and put the city on a steady path in a sustainable manner rather than engaging in short term unsustainable activities. He added that it is for that reason why every effort by the AMA was tied to a comprehensive plan.
The AMA boss also advocated for a review of developmental frameworks by Assemblies that appreciate current global and local challenges including climate change, increased migration, threats to food security and the use of nature-based solutions to guide spatial planning in the city and its environs.
Joep Verhagen, Global Lead Water for the GCA, in a remark said evidence of floods in Accra implied that climate change was real and was likely to be more frequent and severe hence the collaboration with the City of Accra to help unearth solutions.
He commended the AMA Chief Executive for his commitment to implement strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change and was hopeful he would continue to work to make a difference in Accra.
The outcomes of the workshop and engagement are expected to serve as inputs for the locally-led actions through better identification of risk hot-spots, local mechanisms as well as urban planning priorities.
The support and realization of the AMA-GCA cooperation have been facilitated by the C40 Climate Leadership Group which Mayor Adjei Sowah is a Vice Chairman for Africa.