Urban Natural Assets for Africa (UNA AFRICA) Update

UNA Africa is designed to improve human well-being and contribute to poverty alleviation and building resilience of the urban poor, through building local government capacity to enhance local implementation of the Aichi Biodiversity targets. The project is being implemented under the global Urban Biosphere Initiative (URBIS – www.urbis.org)
There are 4 sub-Saharan African cities participating in UNA Africa: Lilongwe (Malawi), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Cape Town (South Africa) and Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). The project is divided up into 3 components or phases: 1.) A scoping workshop in each city to outline and define the priority agendas around natural assets in the region in order to inform the desired type of capacity building to be provided at subsequent workshops; 2.) A tailor-made capacity building workshop in each city, providing information and resources tailored for each city’s needs and based on the outcomes of the first workshop; and 3.) The development of a mobile application to provide support and information to increase understanding of the contribution of biodiversity and ecosystem services towards alleviating poverty and improving human well-being.

So far workshops have been held in two of the four engaged cities: Lilongwe, Malawi, on 16 – 17 December 2014 (workshop report HERE) and more recently Dar es Salaam 11-12 February 2015 as part of the first phase of the project.

The most recent workshop in Dar es Salaam was organised and facilitated by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, with the support of project partners SANBI, the African Center for Cities, the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC), with substantial input and support from Kinondoni City Council. The event brought together some of the primary role-players involved in conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services in Dar es Salaam. The core partners used this workshop to outline and define the priority agendas around natural assets in the region in order to inform the desired type of capacity building to be provided at subsequent workshops. The objectives of the Phase 1 workshops are to increase understanding of the value, economic and social benefits, and sustainable management of natural assets and green infrastructure in the region. In addition, the workshops aim to identify priority regional agendas for the sustainable use and management of natural assets. Dar es Salaam’s consultation brought together government departments, researchers, local NGOs, fisherman and civil society representatives in order to strengthen working relationships. With these stakeholders, the workshop identified the capacity constraints for managing biodiversity, as well as the accessibility of biodiversity information for effective decision making, and therefore the biodiversity tools and results-oriented-training that would be needed to achieve these objectives.

Drawing from this preliminary workshop, the topic/topics for training and the workshop date will be confirmed in collaboration with the City Councils involved, over the next few weeks. ICLEI and project partners, together with all relevant city stakeholders and NGOs currently working in Dar es Salaam will work closely to take both their work, and the outcomes of the workshop, forward, through contribution of knowledge into the training and application development and capacity building phase. ICLEI greatly looks forward to continuing to roll out UNA Africa and to working closely with our participating cities. Look out for the Dar es Salaam workshop report to be published soon. For more information contact UNA Africa’s project manager: georgina.avlonitis@iclei.org.

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