Stakeholders commit to making cities inclusive and resilient in Ghana

Jul 14, 2016

UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Christine Evans-Klock flanked by Brigadier General Francis Vib Sanziri (right) and Mr. Ebenezer Anuwah Armah (left). Photo credit: Bernice Gyawu, UNDP Ghana

Stakeholders of urban planning and development have renewed their commitment to making cities more inclusive and resilient in Ghana. This occurred during a two-day multi-stakeholder workshop to promote resilient activities and increase local level understanding of disaster risk in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA).

The event was organized under the auspices of the project, “Advocacy and Capacity Building for Disaster Risk Reduction and Preparedness”, implemented by the United National Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and the World Health Organization.

In his keynote address, a commissioner at the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Ebenezer Anuwah Armah said “there is a need for a strong and cohesive multi-stakeholder voice on the challenges that confront us. While awareness of the problems associated with the GAMA’s urban transformation is important, we must also look firmly towards solutions and an agenda focused implementation”.

On her part, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Christine Evans-Klock said “one of the lessons learned elsewhere is that resilient and inclusive cities is smart business. Sustainable and inclusive urban development increases returns on investments – in transportation infrastructure, in housing, in public facilities like schools and clinics. When we build resilience, we are protecting both economic investments and human life”.

The highest proportion of Ghana’s population who live in urban areas reside in the Greater Accra Region, which remains the smallest of Ghana’s ten regions. This situation results in many social and environmental challenges, including lack of adequate water and sanitation services, inadequate drainage system and flood protection mechanisms, leading to periodic disease outbreaks and a significant risk of weather and climate-related disasters.

The National Coordinator of NADMO, Brigadier General Francis Vib Sanziri, said there is a need to properly plan new communities and to rehabilitate poorly planned ones. Encouraging participants to coordinate more effectively, the NADMO chief indicated that Ghana cannot continue to lose time in building resilient urban cities since lives and property are at stake.  

The workshop, held with funding from the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) was inspired by the global campaign launched by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) to support sustainable urban development.
Participants used the occasion to reflect on their roles in disaster risk reduction in their various capacities to lead, in the long run, to greater commitment by local and national authorities to building urban resilience.

Present were representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation; the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing; Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development; the Ministry of Interior; NDPC; the Environmental Protection Agency; Ghana National Fire Service; Town and Country Planning; the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA); the security services; Academia; Civil Society organizations and other UN Agencies.

The “Making Cities Inclusive and Resilient in Ghana” workshop is related to goal 11 of the new Sustainable Development Goals, which emphasizes the importance of building commitment to inclusiveness to meet the needs and rights of all city dwellers, including their needs in urban infrastructure and planning and in disaster risk management and resilience.

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