On the invitation of Bennedict Bennet, President of SWALGA (Swaziland Local Government Association), UCLG, UNISDR and CADRI organised on 5 and 6 october a seminar on disaster risk reduction and urban risk in Mbabane, Swaziland. Cities from Swaziland (Mbabane, Manzini, Matsapha, Ezulwini, etc.) took part to this seminar, as well as other African cities (Durban, Harare, Lilongwe, Maputo, Port Louis, Victoria, Windhoeck).
The Minister for Housing and Urban Development of Swaziland opened the seminar recalling the efforts of its country to face the different natural disasters, particularly in the framework of the national platform for risk reduction. She recalled the government’s will to integrate local authorities in the risk reduction strategy and in the poverty reduction strategy.
UCLG recalled its involvement since 2008 and the topic of resilience through concrete awareness campaign and information actions towards its members. UCLG will also carry the topic of resilience in view of the Rio +20.
In the plenary session, the UNDP Deputy Resilience Representative stressed out the problems of informal housing, urbanisation and the lack of infrastructure that are growing together with the risks and natural disasters impacts. The UNISDR coordinator in Africa paid tribute to the local governments efforts in the local strategies that are being set up in the field of disaster risk reduction and urban risk. Around 850 cities across the world have joined the Resilient Cities Campaign thanks to the support of the local governments associations and UCLG.
The participants have asked UNISDR and CADRI to continue supporting the cities participating and UCLG / UCLA in order to create the conditions to maintain the dynamics of exchange and city-to-city cooperation that have been initiated in Mbabane.
The local authorities have addressed the following recommendations:
1. Ensuring that the national structure does work with local government on DRR issues
2. National government should decentralize DRR functions and related funding should also be directd to local government
3. Local authorities, through national governments, having access to UN funds for DRR prevention and preparedness activities for local authorities (Decentralization of DRR funding ) at sub regional level
4. Have a SADC approach to DRR (sub-regional strategy and guidelines for DRR for local authorities)
5. Participants will send a statement related to the 10 essentials which will serve as a basis for city to city learning and for follow up actions