Sao Paulo, Brazil, is to host the IV C 40 Large Cities Climate Summit from May 31 through June 2, 2011. Hence , mayors of mega cities across the globe would gather in Sao Paulo at the end of May 2011. In fact, it would be a tremendous experience for participating cities. Sao Paulo would be a rendezvous for the mayors of the C40 cities during the stated period. The dignitaries would converge on Sao Paulo to discuss the hot issue, “Climate Change and Cities. Actually, the issue is heating up in the international scenarios. A kind of carnival atmosphere would await the delegations in the metropolis.
Sao Paulo is Brazil’s economic-vein and Latin America’s most important financial centre. The grand event is an initiative that has been associated with effective actions regarding climate change. The C40 Summit has coined the theme ‘Climate Change and Cities; Mitigation, Adaptation and Challenges”. Delegates from the C40 cities would attend the conference.
The Honorable Gilberto Kassab is the Mayor of the city of Sao Paulo. He warmly invited the Mayor of Addis, Honorable KumaDemeksa, to take part in the forthcoming Sao Paulo Climate Summit. I had a brief time with AlmazMekonnen, Director of Public and International Relations Directorate with the Mayor’s Office of the City Government of Addis Ababa. She told me that Sao Paulo has extended invitation to the Mayor of Addis to attend the IV C40 Climate Summit. Almaz said that Addis Ababa is waving the flag for the Sao Paulo Climate Summit: preparing itself to ensure its invaluable participation in the event. As the political capital of Africa, Addis is moving vigorously to live up to Africa’s expectations.
The C40 is a group of the world’s largest cities committed to battling against climate change. These cities have established a global strategic partnership vital to tackle climate change. Almaz underscored that the Summit conference in Sao Paulo is instrumental in sharing rich experiences among participating cities on imaginative approach to fight climate change. The Director also said that it would be gratifying to attend such a mega event to learn more from the experiences of other cities in tackling the effects of climate change. The summit would offer city governments a comprehensive path to develop high-level climate change strategy.
True, cities are suffering terribly from the effects of climate change. Hence, the C40 cities are banging the drum for strategic partnership among the group to tackle effectively climate change. Therefore, it is vital that cities develop an integrated climate action plan. In fact, the upcoming Sao Paulo summit could be a venue to display best practices of cities on local resilience action plan to tackle climate change. Participating cities would share experiences among themselves about the actions taken and gears utilized to address climate change.
Almaz says Addis Ababa is a member of the C40 mega cities that have established partnerships to address climate change. Indeed, these mega cities are determined to tackle the issues of climate change within their respective urban settings. She stressed that ‘Cities and climate change’ has become a very hot agenda across the globe. The global climate change has been severely affecting the nations of the world. Carbon emissions of the giant industries in developed countries among other factors have greatly contributed to the global warming. Thus, it becomes imperative that the C40 mega cities adopt climate plan of action that fits to their respective scenarios.
True, global climate change is badly affecting Africa. Thus, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and the climate initiative have joined with the carbon disclosure project to set up a standardized greenhouse gas reporting system, CDP cities. The CDP is indispensable to realize the target the Group has set for the C40 mega cities. Member cities are expected to meet the set targets individually or as a Group. The environmental reporting responsibilities would enable member cities to measure, track and compare both their greenhouse gas emission and their efforts to curtail it.
Participating Mayors from different regions will seize the opportunity to share information on their respective experiences in dealing with global warming. The summit in Sao Paulo would provide member cities an excellent opportunity to exploring and exchanging fresh ideas and organizing system. The forum is vital to creating fresh partnerships among mayors of mega cities and governments to battling against climate change.
Almaz disclosed that Addis Ababa has identified and reported to the conference organizers its key areas of interest for the breakout sessions during the summit. It has identified interests in the proposed topic areas. Hence, the city is preparing to participate in the summit breakout session either as an observer or as a presenter. With an observer status, Addis would be interested in learning more about the given topic. As a presenter, Addis would display the best practice underway in the city. Hence, the Director disclosed that the Addis delegation to the Sao Paulo summit would give a presentation on city’s experience in urban forestry practice and sustainable new construction activities.
The city government has bulldozed old houses in some of the slum areas in the metropolis. It has also relocated residents into new condominium buildings. The new condominium sights have green corridor areas. The city renewal projects and the condominium sights are changing the image of the metropolis.
Forestry activities in metropolitan Addis are encouraging. Urban greening is vital to raising environmental quality, creating economic opportunities as well as promoting aesthetic value. Urban forest development would greatly contribute to the conservation of the biodiversity resources of the nation. It could also contribute its share to eco-tourism development of the country.
No doubt, the forest blanket in and around Addis is functioning as the lung of the city. Moreover, the urban forest is playing a vital role in shielding the city against torrents gushing from the Neighborhood Mountains. Hence, the forestation drive in the city would make life more comfortable to the residents. In fact, the existing city master plan reserved about 22,000 ha for green area. Moreover, the city government is determined to enhance the environmental protection activities. Documents also indicate that the city government has allocated 709 hectares for botanical garden development.
The delegation would reflect that the city has a dogged determination to tackle climate change. Similarly, the city government would be interested in learning more about urban flood management, city riverbanks development, integrated solid waste management, wastewater management, mass transport, climate positive development, etc., from other C40 member cities. The Sao Paulo Summit would create excellent opportunity to highlight best city practices and to boost up cooperation among the C40 members. The Sao Paulo climate summit would be a venue to provide a tremendous opportunity for the exchange of innovative ideas on transportation, energy, land use and solid waste management, etc.
The city government of Addis is inspired by the strong leadership position taken by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in Africa on climate change issues. In fact, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is in the forefront in the battle against the effects of climate change. He has articulated properly the position of Africa concerning climate issues. He has earned a good reputation for voicing Africa’s position on the effects of climate change. The Premier and members of his entourage represented Africa at the Copenhagen World Climate Change Summit and other similar conferences. He has made invaluable contributions to make the African voice heard in these international forums. The Premier is a staunch advocate for a safe and healthy environment. Moreover, the leadership of Addis follows the footsteps of the Premier in battling against the effects of climate change. It vigorously participates in international city forums concerning climate change.
Addis Environmental Protection bureau has been making efforts to enhance the afforestation drive in and around the city. The bureau strongly believes that lack of awareness of the issues on the table could also affect the environment and eco-system. Therefore, it is vital to take actions that help heighten public awareness of the devastating effects of climate change on cities. The Bureau hinges on different gears to address the effects of climate change within the urban environment.
Thus, it is imperative that the city government speeds up its afforestation drive around the city. It is also important to develop tree planting and nurturing culture among the city residents. It is also encouraging to see visiting dignitaries planting indigenous trees on selected sites side by side their official business in the country. Since the Ethiopian Millennium celebration, city residents have planted a large number of indigenous trees around the city. Hence, it is imperative to maintain the increasing tree-planting tempo around the metropolis. In addition, concerned parties have to encourage environmental- friendly projects. Above all, concerned institutions have to make concerted efforts to raise public awareness of the effects of climate change. True, citizens play a matchless role in protecting the environment.
Addis hopes that it would capitalize on the Sao Paulo Climate Summit. It would gain rich experiences from participating cities about green corridors, urban river development, river buffer rehabilitation, waste management issues, etc. In fact, taking part in international conferences is not an end by itself. It is vital to bring back home new methodologies useful to addressing the effects of climate change. Hence, the Addis delegates to the Sao Paulo Summit would return home imbued with fresh ideas vital to tackling climate change and scaling up experiences gained from the summit.
Written by: WORKU ABATE
The Ethiopian Herald