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Join us as we explore the RISE Africa themes over the next few months through the RISE Africa Roadmap of online engagements, shared resources, webinars and video provocations. Together, we will build momentum for the RISE Africa Summit in May 2021.
“As we enter the Decade of Action for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, we must increase our efforts to localise the goals and make them relevant for local government and urban stakeholders. Our efforts in Africa will contribute to ensuring that Africa urbanises sustainably, an absolute requirement for achieving global sustainability.

~ Kobie Brand, Regional Director: ICLEI Africa

“Our question is how we fund and support research which can address complex systems – this requires many researchers to bring their expertise together – so we embrace collaboration as a vital requirement to promoting service delivery and sustainability.”

~ Dr Andrew Kaniki, Executive Director: Knowledge Advancement and Support (KAS), National Research Foundation (NRF)


What happened last month? 

Localising the SDGs in African Cities

Agenda 2030, ratified by all UN member states in 2015, sets out a ground-breaking global framework of 17 transformational Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to tackle our social, economic and environmental challenges. The 17 goals, along with their associated 169 targets and 230 indicators, are the global blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all people and the planet by 2030.
The SDGs, as with many UN processes, focus on National engagement, commitment and reporting. However, localisation of the global sustainability agenda is increasingly recognized as critical to its success. If the SDGs do not find a home in local government planning and development processes, we are unlikely to achieve them by 2030. It is in and around cities where the interconnections between the different elements of sustainability find expression, especially in a world where our collective future is increasingly urban.
"Strengthening awareness is key: we need to create a narrative that sustainable development is everybody’s objective.”

~ Mr Puvendra Akkiah, eThekwini Municipality

Multi-level governance and leadership are needed for the SDGs to land and enable dialogue and partnerships across different actors and spheres of government.”

~ Natasha Primo, City of Cape Town

Multi-level collaboration is critical to the implementation of the SDGs. From our work in Kisumu, we realised that there is much data that has been collected by National Bureaus, but is not utilised by the city. Co-production in research can strengthen these multi-level relationships.

~ Michael Oloko - Deputy Director, Scientific Research at Mistra Urban Futures’ Kisumu Local Interaction Platform

Africa, home to the fastest growing and most rapidly urbanising population on earth, is where this battle for global sustainability will be won. The world has a vital need to ensure that Africa urbanises sustainably, and avoids lock-in to unsustainable infrastructures, livelihoods, and behaviours. The current population is projected to double in size by 2050, with over 80% of this growth occurring in cities. Africa is also home to high rates of poverty, unemployment, and water-, energy- and food-insecurity, unequal levels of service provision, and an increasing infrastructure gap. These challenges, exacerbated by the global climate and biodiversity crises, increase the vulnerability of our continent’s population in the coming decades. However, Africa is a land of exceptional opportunity, and if we embrace urbanisation, cities will drive innovative solutions that will put the continent on a path towards transformative action for sustainable development.

Our ability to achieve the SDGs by 2030 will depend on the extent to which the global goals are matched with ambitious action at the local level. Local governments have a critical role to play in achieving each of the global goals, especially SDG 11 which is dedicated to building sustainable cities. Given their mandate for service delivery and many of the cross-cutting SDG themes, and given that they are the closest level of government to the communities whose lives the SDGs seek to transform, local governments are the key stakeholders in achieving the SDG principle: leaving no one behind.

Even though the need to transition to sustainability has gained significant traction and some progress has been made globally in recent years, few countries are on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Furthermore, despite growing recognition of the critical role of local governments in achieving the SDGs, there is insufficient uptake and support available to date. Much work has been done to localise the SDGs in the South African context and many key lessons have emerged as a result. Thus, through the Roadmap to RISE Africa in 2021, ICLEI Africa seeks to explore the SDG localisation landscape on the continent, and further add to these lessons and practices. Two SDG-dedicated virtual events have already draw out some key learnings from African cities that could be applied to inspire localisation of the SDGs across the African continent:
  •  Localising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Lessons from South Africa, hosted in partnership with Urban LEDs, shared experiences from South African cities’ localisation efforts - see recording here
  • Voices of African Cities in the Localisation of the SDGs, presented in partnership the South African National Research Foundation, shared experiences from Kisumu, Accra, Antananarivo and Kampala, and launched the Future Earth Regional Office for Southern Africa, which will provide further support to achieving the SDGs in Africa - see recording here
Further events through 2020 and 2021 will expand on these lessons. Five tips for localising the SDGs in cities and towns are to:
The global COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the societal inequalities and challenges that the SDGs themselves have sought to address. It has reinforced that achieving the SDGs is critical to accelerating a sustainability transition, and that this must begin at the local level in and around our cities. SDG localisation will remain a core theme of RISE Africa as, through a whole-of-society approach, we look to a future of African cities that are inclusive, productive, resilient, vibrant and environmentally restorative.
“Accra did the innovative thing of embedding SDG targets into its medium-term development framework: to pursue integrated infrastructure development, optimise new and existing resources, and embracing informality's contribution to urban resilience.

~ Moses Quarshie, Accra Metropolitan Assembly


July winners

The RISEAfrica Annual Photography Competition has had numerous compelling submissions to this year’s theme: #hiddenflows.

July explored how #waste moves through our cities, impacts the environment, and supports livelihoods through reuse, repair and reclamation. The winners and finalists are shown here.

September’s focus is #mobility.

Submit your photos by following @futureafricancities, and using #hiddenflows and #mobility.

For more information, click here.

Kinshasa, DRC
7 ways to survive…

FINALIST - @naibishotit

Kampala, Uganda
Garbage collectors heading to the nearest waste dumping site.

FINALIST - @ainazo

Antananarivo, Madagascar
Salon de coiffure - Décharge Andralanitra - Ralalitra


RISE Africa Roadmap to 2021


Coming Up

8 September 2020 - 2pm Central African Time
Challenging African urban visions - using futures literacy to reimagine our cities

Are we locking ourselves into stale futures? Do current visions of African cities actually support our desires for sustainability? Have we spent the time to think about what could work for us, based on shared values, and generation of shared meaning?
This webinar presents ‘futuring’ as an approach by which people can become more comfortable with the possibilities of the future. It showcases different reasons and methods for imagining the future, diversifying beyond planning and the efforts which impose today’s visions on tomorrow - a form of colonizing the future. Instead, we offer approaches for re-engage with futures in more open ways.
Facilitated by:
Dr Riel Miller, Head of Foresight, UNESCO
Kwamou Eva Feukeu, Project Officer acting as Africa coordinator for Futures Literacy, UNESCO
Dr Geci Karuri-Sebina, Associate, South African Cities Network; Advisory Board, RISE Africa


Mark Your Calendars!

18 September - 18 October 2020
African Mobility Month

It’s almost time for AfricanMobilityMonth, led by ICLEI Africa and partners, from 18 September - 18 October 2020. The campaign advocates for people-centred, inclusive, safe and accessible mobility that contributes positively to urban community’s health and wellbeing. This year’s overarching theme is Re-imagining the future of urban mobility in African cities. We invite you to explore and re-imagine a post-COVID future for equitable urban mobility in African cities.
Showcase your city’s impactful urban mobility actions, initiatives and projects by sharing them with us and the broader mobility community using #AfricanMobilityMonth on Twitter and Instagram.

6 October 2020 - 2pm Central African Time
Unpacking inclusive mobility in African cities: moving from buzzwords to reality

What does an inclusive African urban mobility system look like?

The notion of inclusivity is captured in many cities’ guiding documents, mobility plans and sustainability goals. While well-intentioned, this often loosely used term remains an ideal if not institutionalised and grounded in contextually appropriate practical processes for obtainable results. It is an important concept to embed in urban mobility systems because it enables equitable access to resources and opportunities, and reframes mobility and transport as a public good. What processes do local and sub-national governments need to follow, and what steps could be taken to make inclusivity a reality in their cities?

This webinar frames a conversation around accessible, equitable, and safe mobility in African cities, and shares practices from a number of cities attempting to reframe their mobility paradigms!


3-12 November 2020
RISE Africa @ LoCS Congress

RISE Africa will be presenting innovative discussions on Nexus, SDG Localisation and Circular Development at ICLEI Africa's Local Climates Solutions for Africa Virtual Congress


RISE Africa, brought to you by ICLEI Africa, with support from our partners: 

African Centre for Cities, NRF, South African Cities network, African Circular Economy Network, Djouman, The Nature of Cities, IIED, GSB-AGC, WWF, Tores Foundation, Covenant of Mayors SSA, AU Youth Envoy


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