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15th World Conference of Historical Cities

The 15th world conference of Historical Cities will be held in Bad Ischl, Austria on 7th to 9 June 2016.

 

The main theme of the conference is: “Smart, innovative, creative historical cities of the futures”.  Hundreds of representatives from historical cities and sites of all continents are expected.

Mayor of Bad Ischl, Mr. Hannes Hiede invite African mayors to be part of the event.  Some African cities are part of the 108 cities member of the League of Historical Cities: Accra (Ghana), Cape Town (South Africa), Alexandria (Egypt), Algiers (Algeria), Fez (Morocco), Tunis (Tunisia) Giza (Egypt), Luxor (Egypt).

Sub themes of the conference are:

-Development of tourism to promote city identity

-Creating livable smart historical cities

-Engaging citizens including young people to plan the future

During the event, the traditional Youth Forum will take place to bring together equally interested young people from different cultures to talk on their approach to the historical heritage.

Dr. Eva Nowotny, Ambassador of the Austrian UNESCO Commission will be the keynote speaker.

For registration and news about the world conference, you can visit the official website here.

It should be noted that: the purpose of the League is to contribute to the realization of eternal world peace so desired for the future of mankind by all people everywhere; an organization which will deepen mutual understanding by transcending national boundaries and building on the common foundation of historical cities to strengthen affiliations between cities. The League also aims to contribute to the further development of each historical city.

30th Anniversary of the registration of the City of Marrakesh on the World Heritage

The secretary General represented UCLG-A at the 30th anniversary of the registration of the City of Marrakesh on the World Heritage of UNESCO from 18 to 20 December 2015.

 

The ceremony was attended by Mr. Mohamed Larbi Belcaid, Mayor of the City of Marrakesh, Mr Ahmed Toufiq, Minister of Islamic Affairs and of the Habous, Mr. Mohamed Amine Sbihi, Minister of Culture, Mr Mohamed El Wafa, Minister of General Affairs and Governance, Mr Michael Millward, Representative of UNESCO in Morocco, Mr Mohamed Younes, Representative of ISESCO, the Consulate of France in Marrakesh, Eric Jerard.

 

On 19 December 2015  in the morning, the meeting received a paper on the Challenges of Safeguarding Heritage by Mr Abdelaziz Touri, former Head of the World Heritage Committee, UNESCO. He pointed out that Morocco was one of the founder of UNESCO. He highlighted the statement by King Mohamed VI at the 53th meeting of UNESCO in 2013, on the importance of Heritage for development.  He concluded by insisting on the need for the Network of Moroccan World Heritage Cities put in place on 18 December 2015 to keep close contact with the Center of the World Heritage of UNESCO. The first meeting of the Network will take place in Rabat in 2016. ICOMOS Maroc offered to host the new Network for free.

 

Then followed a paper on Safeguarding Heritage in the Marrakesh Medina by Mr Abdellatif Nahli, permanent secretary, Ministry of Urban Development and Housing.

 

Mr Xavier Salmon, General Heritage Curator, the Louvre Muséum, France, then made a presentation on the Beauty of Marrashki Heritage, followed by a presentation by Mr Azzouz Boujmid, director, inspectorate of historical monuments, on the state of Heritage upgrading operations of the Marrakshi Medina implemented by the Ministry of Culture.

 

Ingeneer Toufik Bahjaoui from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and the Habous presented a report on the restoration of religious Heritage in the City of Marrakech followed by a presentation by Architect Rachid Elhouda on “A critical reflexion on Heritage Safeguarding in the City of Marrakech”.

The meeting finally received a presentation by Hon Rui Moreira, Mayor of Porto, Portugal, on The experience of Heritage Safeguarding in a Portuguese City.

 

In the afternoon of 19 December, the meeting addressed the topic of oral and intangible Heritage, in particular around storrytellers of the Jamal Ifna Open Space. The meeting received testimony by the Spanish Writer, Juan Goytisolo, who was at the origin of the adoption of the oral and intangible Heritage by UNESCO.

 

On Sunday 20 December 2015 the proceedings took place at Mellah neighborhood in Hay Salam; and in the Koutoubia Open space, Marrakesh. This offered the opportunity to interact with the Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities of Marrakesh. The students of the Marrakesh National School of Architecture presented their Book on Places repository of the historical memory of the City of Marrakesh. An announcement was made on the creation on a Heritage Library in Marrakech.

Climate Summit for Local Leaders: a Decisive Contribution to COP21

Right after the end of the 7th Africities Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, the eyes of the world have turned to Paris for the COP21. Local leaders from all over of the world gathered in Paris City Hall on December 4th, 2015 for the Climate Summit for Local Leaders at the invitation of Mayor of Paris and UCLG Co-President, Anne Hidalgo.

The meeting was convened by Michael R. Bloomberg, U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, in partnership with the global networks of cities and local governments: C40, ICLEI and UCLG.

The local leaders who took part in this meeting issued a declaration that reaffirm their commitment to tackle climate change. In fact, the mayors, governors and local leaders who signed the Paris City Hall Declaration pledged to achieve ambitious goals to protect the environment and ensure a sustainable future, including to “implement participatory resilience strategies and action plans to adapt to the rising incidence of climate related hazards by 2020.”

The undersigned local leaders commit collectively to:

* Advance and exceed the expected goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement to be reached at COP21 to the full extent of their authorities;

* Produce and implement participatory resilience strategies and action plans to adapt to the rising incidence of climate related hazards by 2020;

* Deliver up to 3.7 gigatons of urban greenhouse gas emissions reductions annually by 2030—the equivalent of up to 30% of the difference between current national commitments and the 2 degree emissions reduction pathway identified by the scientific community;

* Support ambitious long-term climate goals such as a transition to 100% renewable energy in our communities, or an 80% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2050;

* Engage in partnerships among ourselves and with global organizations, national governments, the private sector, and civil society to enhance cooperation and capacity-building programs, scale-up climate change solutions, develop metrics and promote innovative finance mechanisms and investments in low-emission projects across the world.

Read the entire Paris City Hall Declaration here.

More information available at www.uclg.org

INTERVIEW: Professor Alioune Sall, President of the Foresight Group of Africities 7

“Local authorities can influence the future if they develop strategies to enhance the value of their resources”

Professor Alioune Sall, President of the foresight group that was established for the preparation of the Africities 7 summit, talks in this interview about the vision of Agenda 2063 of the African Union (AU) and the role of local authorities for achieving this Agenda. The Professor Sall is also Executive Director of the African Future Institute (Institute specialized in Foresight).

 

Vision 2063 Agenda of the African Union

“Agenda 2063 belongs to a stance towards the future.It offers a courageous analysis of the situation in Africa.This is not a simple thing because Africa is a contradictory set in which there are positive elements of trends that are changing under the influence of change germs, but a set in which we also see the persistence of a negative trend.Agenda 2063 is clear on both these negative trends and on these seeds of change that have a positive potential.Agenda 2063 is also a certain stance that is well assumed;this attitude towards the future consists in working to make what is desirable come true and in adopting a proactive attitude instead of after-the-fact attitudes that were simply aimed at helping Africa adjust to an external reality.Here we are dealing with a winning attitude of a possible future.The third positive element in Agenda 2063 is that beyond an analysis of what Africa is, the Agenda is characterized by concerns of an operational nature.

This document is an instrument to improve the planning and management of development in Africa and this is why the long-term vision with the 2063 horizon as a time horizon is going to be broken down into shorter horizons.The first section covering 10 years, this is where the commission of the African Union is standing in terms of operationalization of this vision.

There are three other elements that I deem important to consider when you want to understand the ambition of Agenda 2063.

First of all, this agenda was first developed by Africans and this feature, in my opinion, is part of a desire to reconquer intellectual sovereignty that had been somewhat lost for almost two decades.Economic policies for example have been dominated by a paradigm that was an outside one, the Structural adjustments one.

Another major feature is that there has been an effort to listen to Africans.An effort to listen both to those on the continent and those in the diaspora to understand what are their aspirations, what are their fears, and what could their contribution be.Thus the Agenda is built around seven major aspirations, the participatory nature being one of the conditions for it to have real ownership.

The 3rd feature is that this Agenda is built largely around the citizens.It is therefore an Afro-centric agenda. ”

 

Role of local authorities

“Local authorities may participate in the implementation of Agenda 2063 in many ways.First reflecting on their own evolution and evolutionary scenarios possible in the future.2063 is tomorrow, 2063 of the seeds are already in the current reality.Among those who will be there in 2063, some are already born.We must ask the question of how they can evolve in life.Embedding foresight in local government management approach is an important way to participate in building the future.The authorities should not simply wait until tomorrow comes.They could now make diagnoses that are more accurate and much richer than those established previously.The second contribution could be to make this diagnosis with the citizens themselves.Instead of having technocratic exercises made by the departments or decentralized local authorities or by consulting firms, one could imagine diagnoses made by the citizens themselves.This could be done in the languages spoken in the country, so that the information could be disseminated and better reach groups that are not reached so far by information.Many people do not speak foreign languages such as French and English.You should know that there is no good foresight without a good stock-taking exercise.The prospective analysis is conducted sometimes by some local communities but it is made on ad hoc basis.This foresight should become institutional so that it becomes something that is part of culture.This is a large-scale project that is open to local governments.Local authorities can influence the future if they develop strategies to enhance the value of their resources.”

 

African Future Institute

“We work in four directions.  First of all, we do a lot of advocacy for Africans to explain that foresight is not a luxury reserved for researchers who would get rid from the contingencies of everyday management.But it is a decision support tool. It is an instrument of power to the extent that it allows people to look the bigger picture.It is a means to ensure that decision-makers should not be victims of the tyranny of emergencies to be solved all the time.

Secondly, many African countries have launched studies on long-term prospects. All countries that have engaged in these studies are not equipped in the same way to conduct such an exercise.We help countries that wish so to develop their capacities to master the tools, methods, processes and philosophy of prospective studies.The third direction in which we are present are the publications.We have published a number of books on the future competitiveness of African economies.We published a book on alternative scenarios for Africa in 2025;we published a methodological guide on building the capacity of African professionals in the field of foresight.The fourth direction concerns the research on issues of strategic interest such as money problems and the issues of peace and security.Obviously there will be no development if instability reigns and if some parts of our territories are inaccessible.”

Africities 2015: AFRICA MAYORS’ VOICE TO COP21

African Mayors will play an active part at the COP 21 conference in Paris. The issue of climate change occupied an important place in most speeches during the opening ceremony of Africities7. In fact, United Cities and Local Government of Africa (UCLG-A) organizes this 1 December, a joint session with ICLEI.

During the Africities7 Summit, climate change will be an important issue. On this occasion, ICLEI (Local Governments For Sustainability) and UCLG-A will run a joint session this Tuesday, December 01, entitled: “SU12 New context of climate change and Africa’s Local Government preparation towards UNFCCC COP 21/CMP11 in Paris”.

Faith Chikeya, professional Officer at ICLEI, expressed some expectations of local governments at the COP21 conference in Paris: “All eyes are turned on Paris. Everyone expects an agreement to be reached. At our level, during our joint session with UCLG-A, we will be seeking to explore innovative ways in which local governments in Africa can promote the implementation of the agenda, tools and strategies needed for cities to increase their resilience and adaptation to climate change”, she said.

This session will also be looking to promote knowledge-sharing regarding sustainable access to energy and energy security through the implementation of the Durban Adaptation Charter.

In addition, the session will provide a platform for African local authorities “to share a roadmap on their preparation towards participating in the upcoming UNFCCC COP 21/CMP 11 in Paris and the expected outcomes that will strategically profile local governments as key players in the implementation of the post -2015 Agenda”, explain Mrs. Faith Chikeya.

In Mrs Chikeya’s opinion, in Paris through the advocacy process after the recognition of local governments as key players, “there must also be an active engagement and also increased empowerment of Local Governments to address the issue of climate change at the local level”.

Mrs Chikeya argues that Africa and the rest of the World expect the signing of commitments for carbon emission reductions. Developed countries “need to reduce their emission target. I am happy to say that more than twenty cities in Africa have already signed the Compact of Mayors that is a global coalition of the world’s leading mayors and city leaders committed to ambitious and transparent climate action”.

In Paris, Local Governments should take actions “because is at the local level that the impact of climate change affects most residents. Ms Kobie Brand, ICLEI Africa Regional Director, ‎ is currently on Paris attending the climate negotiations”, said Faith Chikeya.

In the COP21 pavilion, Local Governments have a platform named  Transformative Actions Programme (TAP). The goal of this platform is to try to establish a bridge between the private sector and Local governments so that they can work together. TAP is a collaborative effort between ICLEI , UCLG, C40 and some European Cities.

For the record, ICLEI is a Local governments’ and Local Authorities’ focal point for UNFCCC since 1995.  It is a leading player on the Local Government climate roadmap.

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MAYOR’S REACTIONS

“Address issues on pollution and urbanization”, Cllr Samuel Munthali president of LGAZ (Local Government Association of Zambia)

«I expect the summit go to address issue on the pollution. We are face with this challenge of urbanization. People moving to the bigger cities , this cities don’t have much resources to take up that can of development that is coming in,  and there not consideration what so ever  in terms of environmental aspect.  So it is expect that will be some guidance on the special planning for this cities. For African countries it is expected that there will be a way of train to help financially for us to attain what we want to attain as Africa. Otherwise if that is not address, I think we are hearding to a very serious problem”

“Find solution to remove old machinery in Africa”, Cllr Phiri Patrick Chisamba, Mayor for Zambia (Zambia)

“The expectation as African is if they can address: 1) Climate change:  Most of climate change which affecting Zambia and Africa throughout is some of the machinery, you know as Africans emission of gases, these are the products which are coming into our countries from develop countries. Most of the machinery imported in African countries from developed countries are out-dated and therefore causing a lot of harm to our environment. If new machinery; which is safe for our environment can be imported from Developed countries to replace the old ones, it will go a long way to save our Continents climate change. In Paris, if they can respect our decision as African leaders they implement what we want, then thing can move and change. In our city the principal climate change are the miners: because mines are the most pollution companies and if they can also address that like in Zambia we have sulphuric acid discharge in our rivers; all this can affect our climate.

Regional Seminars for Leaders on Local Governments in Africa

On January 28, 2015, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) and the European Commission (EC) signed a Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) and entered into a strategic partnership with the aim to strengthen local governments in Africa.

 

In this perspective, UCLG Africa is conducting a series of Regional Seminars across all the five regions of Africa (West, South, Central and North Africa) to which all National Associations of local governments from each of these regions are expected to attend.

Within the EC and UCLG Africa Framework Partnership Agreement strategic goals, the Regional Seminars aim to contribute to the realization of the following goals:

a) Emergence of the political voice of local authorities through fostering greater participation of African people in Africa’s development;

b) Improve the contribution of local authorities to the building of common Africa and EU agenda on conflict prevention and peace building;

c) Strengthen the capacity of the UCLG Africa Secretariat and network as the political representative of African local authorities and their support structure;

d) Contribute to the strengthening of the capacity of national and regional associations of local authorities in Africa to execute their responsibilities;

e) Improve local governments’ inputs on propositions on global governance issues in the framework of African Union and United Nations;

f) Contribute to the effective contribution of common positions of African local authorities.

These Regional Seminars represent an excellent opportunity for national associations of local governments in Africa, mayors or representatives of capital African cities to contribute to the process, initiated by UCLG Africa, of implementing its vision of “building the African unity and driving its development from the grassroots”.