AS THE country is busy with preparations to host the 15th BRICS Summit on home soil from 22 to 24 August, eThekwini Municipality successfully hosted BRICS buildup events. This included the BRICS Urbanisation Forum that was led by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).
The forum saw over 600 delegates gathering at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre to discuss key urban development issues and share insights on how cities can become more resilient in the face of global challenges. What was significant about this forum was that it firmly cast the spotlight on various aspects of urban resilience and discussed ways to advance and strengthen it in the face of challenges. Among the challenges facing it are climate change, rapid urbanisation, social vulnerabilities, and natural disasters.
Delegates also had a rare opportunity to discuss the role of effective governance and policy frameworks in advancing urban resilience and the localisation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in strengthening national priorities towards sustainable development and building urban resilience in the face of the myriad of shocks, stresses, and risks cities face. And while the BRICS Urbanisation Forum progressed well at the Durban ICC, I am happy to report that we have arrived safely in Russia where I will be representing eThekwini Municipality in the Russia- Africa Second Summit.
We kicked off this forum with a discussion around the challenges of interparty cooperation aimed at strengthening international security amid geopolitical instability. We are working towards building a world-class City, where eThekwini will be the most livable City in Africa. It is important that we shape the narrative in relation to the old geopolitical reality that has been shattered, and the new one that is yet to take shape where threats to global security are on the rise. These threats span from military conflicts to food shortages, energy crises, uncontrolled migration flows, and the actions of criminal terrorist groups.
It is very important for African leaders to understand the extent of these threats, their implementation, the resulting consequences, and the strategies to counter them while promoting constructive global development. This will help arm them to earn their rightful space in the advent of geopolitics. These discussions are very important as they will assist in achieving Africa’s food sovereignty. This is important as it is well known that Africa is one of the most vulnerable regions in the world in terms of food security. This is despite agriculture employing more than 60 percent of its labour force and contributing to about a third of the continent’s GDP. We look forward to our country hosting the 15th BRICS Summit later this year and we have no doubt that the deliberations will be for the advancement of the African content and its people.