The eThekwini Municipality, through it’s GO!Durban integrated public transport network, will be observing World Cities Day at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday, October 31 together with a number of national and local stakeholders.
The gathering will be attended by representatives from the Department of Human Settlements, Urban October, South African Local Government Association, UN Habitat, National Department of Human Settlements and SA Cities Network, as well as from NGO’s, community organisations and the private sector.
The 31st October was declared World Cities Day by the United Nations in 2013, in an endeavour to encourage the international community’s interest in global urbanization – its issues, challenges and the opportunities that it holds in terms of contributing to sustainable urban development around the world.
Then in 2016, the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Qito, Ecuador, opened discussions on urban challenges and issues, concluding with the adoption of the New Urban Agenda (NUA). This is an action blueprint aimed at making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. This Agenda will guide collective efforts around urbanization for the next 20 years, and lay the “groundwork for policies and approaches that will extend, and impact, far into the future and sets a global standard for sustainable urban development. It will help us rethink how we plan, manage and live in cities. The New Urban Agenda is a roadmap for building cities that can serve as engines of prosperity and centres of cultural and social well-being while protecting the environment. The Agenda also provides guidance for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and provides the underpinning for actions to address climate change.”
The World Cities Day observation in Durban, provides a springboard for the draft Implementation Framework to be shared with South Africa’s urban and human settlements role-players and stakeholders, creating a platform for discussion and inputs.
This year the theme for World Cities Day is “Innovative Governance, Open Cities” – with the eThekwini Municipality adopting a theme of “Better City, Better Life – Connected Cities for the People”. This is in line with the development of the improved public transport network, GO!Durban, within the City – heralding a new connected City where citizens will have reasonable access to safe, efficient and affordable public transport. This in turns drives home the City’s vision to be Africa’s most caring and liveable City by 2030.
“Going forward to address the requirements of the NUA, South Africa is to create an Implementation Framework that ensures urbanization challenges and opportunities are tackled collectively,” says eThekwini Municipal Mayor, Cllr Zandile Gumede. “We look forward to gathering with our peers to see how we will take a collective approach, recognizing that the development of our urban spaces within a context of human settlements is linked to the economic and social development of the country as a whole.”
“It is for this reason that GO!Durban, our well-planned new public transport network, forms the backbone of the City’s plans to create a “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” environment for our citizens in line with the New Urban Agenda. The vision is that public transport will network and connect people and places that have been historically disconnected as well as unlock areas for economic growth and development, and at the same time creating spaces and environments that are clean, safe and inviting for all.”
In the New Urban Agenda, leaders have committed to provide basic services for all citizens; ensure that all citizens have access to equal opportunities and face no discrimination; promote measures that support cleaner cities; strengthen resilience in cities to reduce the risk and the impact of disasters; take action to address climate change by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions; fully respect the rights of refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons regardless of their migration status; improve connectivity and support innovative and green initiatives; promote safe, accessible and green public spaces.
The observation event takes place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Mixed Use Zone on October 31, 2017.