Tuesday 5th of July 8:20 AM

Risk-informed Urban Development during the 9th AfriCities Summit


The 9th Africities Summit took place from the 17-21 May, 2022 in Kisumu, Kenya, themed “The Role of Intermediary Cities of Africa in the Implementation of Agenda 2030 of the United Nations and the African Union Agenda 2063”. With 11.000 delegates participating, including representatives from 100 countries of which 53 were from Africa, the Summit exceeded previous records.

AfriCities is the flagship pan-African event of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) of Africa that is held every three years in one of the five regions of Africa. In the framework of the Agenda 2063 and in exchange with the African Union Commission, the Summit aims at defining appropriate shared strategies to improve the living conditions of people at the local level and contributing to the integration, peace, and unity of Africa through grassroots engagement.

To address the complex nature of risks and safeguard development gains, the Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM) and Connective Cities established a Working Group on Risk-informed Urban Development (RIUD) with a focus on Africa and hosted a session during the Summit on “Risk Informed Urban Development: Territorial governance schemes for addressing systemic risks in intermediary cities”.


The session on RIUD aimed to contribute to the coherence between the following instruments, the New Urban Agenda as well as the Sendai Framework for DRR:

  • the Agenda 2063 (Aspiration 1, Goal 7) to create environmentally sustainable climate and resilient economics an communities;
  • the SDGs to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (SDG 11, target 11.5) and to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (SDG 13),
  • the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020–2030 (4.4 Pillar 3) on strengthening urban planning and management to build climate resilient cities and (4.5 Cross-Cutting Issues) on improving disaster risk management in support of regional resilience;
  • as well as SADC’s Regional Resilience Framework 2020-2030 for building resilience in the region at national and sub-national level.

In addressing different context-specific risk governance systems, it also promoted the regional South-South cooperation partnerships on RIUD, with inputs and contributions from representatives of the City of Quelimane (MOZ), Kisumu (KE), eThekwini (SA), Bremen (GER) and the UNDP.

With the participation of the panellists and speakers, the session identified key recommendations along the recently launched publication on the "Regional Assessment on Urban Vulnerability and Resilience in Southern African Development Community Member States" for strengthening capacities for reducing urban vulnerability and building resilience in Southern Africa. A summarized version of the recommendations included:

Enhance policy, legislation, institutional and organizational setups with a stronger risk-informed development focus:

  • Risks are created by our (sectoral) development decisions and are no longer a standalone matter but are increasingly interconnected and more systemic.
  • The integration of climate change adaptation (CCA) as well as disaster risk reduction (DRR) measures are an imperative for sustainable development.
  • Invest in evidence-based and people-centred decision-making processes to ensure that risks are integrated into development decisions at all levels.
  • Identify points of entry between DRR and CCA that enables a reset within & among organization.
  • Align CCA and DRR policy into one, that considers resilience plans and enables the integration of both approaches

Invest in capacity building, knowledge, and information management:

  • Invest in data generation and availability for better communication purposes and thus, evidencing decision making processes for risk-informed urban development.
  • Share information with community leaders for disaster preparedness.
  • Raise awareness of risks (hazards, vulnerability, and exposure) amongst the population and build the necessary capacities for reducing vulnerability and exposure among the local population.

Strengthen regional and national urban planning for building resilience:

  • Be aware that cities have become the centres for human activity and material accumulation and thus are exposed to a confluence of risks.
  • Strengthen local governments as these are at the first line on disaster preparedness.
  • Ensure systems thinking that brings all relevant actors and stakeholders together.
  • Plan with the people and not for the people.

Disaster risk financing and socio-economic considerations:

  • Invest in capacity building measures on RID that level financing sources for DRR and CCA.
  • Along private or individual developmental decisions, generate options and be aware of how RIUD ensures the economic survival of cities.
  • Appreciate and weight the roles and influence of different stakeholders including the most vulnerable, also during the implementation of development projects.
  • Climate-proof all projects through adaptation measures and narratives to mainstreaming risk-informed development.

Offer and promote durable solutions:

  • Promote nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation, prevention and preparedness measures.
  • Promote locally available materials as for reducing dependencies.
  • Link RIUD to local economic development.

Strengthen multi-level, transnational and inter-city cooperation:

  • Consider that the sustained functionality of cities requires coordination beyond boundaries and a systemic view by intertwining climate change adaptation and DRR at multiple scales.
  • The working group on RIUD as well as other initiatives are relevant for ensuring that development gains towards the Agenda 2030 can be sustained.
  • Be inspired by the “Transformative Riverine Management Programme” from eThekwini as a good example of risk-informed development.
  • City-to-city partnership including also those facilitated by GIZ should entail visions of urban development and risk-informed development. Envisioning processes should be carried out jointly between city-to-city partners from the beginning of every partnership at the highest local governmental level.


The results of the session were submitted though the Africities’ reporting template to the Office of the Secretary General UCLG Africa and a first draft of the proceedings is expected to be circulated by the end of July 2022. The next Africities Summit will take place in Cairo, Egypt in 2025.