KAMPALA – The cities and urban centers of Uganda have been warned to change the way they grow and instead plan for sustainable resilient cities in regards to management of urban climatic hazards.
The call was made by the Minister of State for Urban Development Obiga Kania during the commemoration of World Cities Day under the theme “Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience”.
World Cities Day celebrated annually on 31st October.
During a media briefing on Friday, Kania pointed out climate change as one of the key emerging issues that cities must contend with, noting that the cities’ impacts due to climate change is a frontline challenge for them today.
“Cities and other urban areas like municipalities and town councils are both drivers and victims of climate change. As cites expand, they engulf environmental and ecological systems like floodplains, forests, and wetlands that naturally exist,” he noted.
According to the minister, urbanization together with other interlinked forces, will always create demand for space and resources which are all finite. And as a result contribute to natural and man-made disasters such as land degradation, deteriorating air and water quality, poor solid waste management, inadequate greenery for residents, flooding and fire which have potentially serious consequences on human health, livelihoods and urban assets.
The risks are anticipated to be even higher in unplanned areas where inadequate infrastructure leaves the urban poor and other vulnerable groups in informal settlements exposed to environmental hazards.
“If focus and action is not taken, regional cities will be affected by climatic changes and emergencies whose cost due impacts of climate change can expand remarkably each year,” warned Hon. Obiga.
He, therefore, recommended prompt planning for sustainable resilient cities and human settlement development, and collective efforts by all; urban residents, the political resilience to communities; and capturing the attention of key actors involved in the development processes of the new cities in Uganda, to institute and practice resilience from the grass roots.
Minister further urged the cities to strive at tackling how climate and non- climate drivers of change together in order to build resilience.