Author: Grey Mashoko

Why Governments in Developing Countries Do Not Learn the Basics of Hydro-Meteorological Disaster Risk Reduction?

The climate is changing and the impacts are unprecedented in different parts of the world and more devastating in Africa. Therefore, it is urgent and critical to anticipate, plan for and reduce disaster risk in order to more effectively protect persons, communities and countries, their livelihoods, socioeconomic assets and ecosystems, and thus strengthen their resilience. In doing this, the governments should be guided by the Sendai Framework for Action (2015-2030), which took precedence from the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005-2015) and the Yokohama Strategy in 1994. Essentially, the Sendai Framework for Action builds on the understanding of reducing the impacts of potential hazards by taking action before the occurrence of the hazardous events. It reflects on the need by governments to value the development progress already made and to mainstream current development activities into hydro-meteorological disaster risk reduction. In this regard, it might be prudent to address climate change as one of the drivers of disaster risk, while respecting the mandate of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which presents an opportunity to reduce disaster risk in a meaningful and coherent manner throughout the interrelated intergovernmental processes. The current hydro-meteorological hazardous events have resulted in the destruction of livelihoods in rural settings, infrastructure (e.g. houses, bridges, schools, clinics and roads) and spread of water-related diseases. This stalls development at all levels and makes the attainment of the...

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Building Sustainable Urban Places Should be the New Urban Planning Agenda

The building of sustainable urban places has been catered for by the Sustainable Cities Programme under the auspices of the UN Habitat after the Earth Summit in 1992. It came into recognition because of urbanisation and that current cities are leaving behind a huge ecological footprint hence the need for new planning agenda. But we are still way off the sustainable cities mark. The goal for sustainable cities is to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. It reflects growing recognition that human development depends on how well urbanisation is managed. This new agenda is to address the issues that could not be addressed by the traditional master planning approach, which mainly concentrated on infrastructure and their physical appearance of cities leaving behind, the crucial elements of reducing the ecological footprint of urban activities. Therefore, if there is a continuance in the traditional master planning to address current urban problems, it is not only inappropriate but it will exacerbate these problems which include growth of slums, improper disposal of waste, inadequate housing and increase in urban poverty. These are complex, rapidly changing and dynamic problems which needs to be addressed by a new urban planning approach especially in the 21st century. The current city planning approaches are resulting in increased and intensified urban environmental problems and socio-spatial marginalisation. This was mainly because this approach to planning...

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