In partnership with hosts the City of Ekurhuleni, ICLEI Africa convened the Local Climate Solutions for Africa (LoCS4Africa) congress from 22 to 24 March 2017. LoCS4Africa 2017 saw over 400 delegates, representing 53 cities from 40 countries gather to discuss the challenge of water for cities against the backdrop of uncertain climate and water futures. In excess of 40 Mayors and executive heads of local governments, as well as leadership from many major city networks were present, with a total of 36 sessions occurring during the congress. These interactive and workshop sessions included over 150 speakers which brought local government leadership, officials and technical experts together to grapple with real-world challenges and identify practical solutions.
A key outcome of LoCS4Africa 2017 was mayors unanimously endorsing the Ekurhuleni Declaration on Water and Sanitation for Cities on World Water Day (22 March) at the LoCS4Africa 2017 Congress, after passionate and robust engagement. The Declaration sets out collective principles, aspirations and a course of action for the future of water and sanitation governance in African cities, and lays out a roadmap for the implementation of these actions at local level across the continent. The Declaration builds on international, continental and regional policy documents such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (2015), the Paris Climate Agreement (2015), and the World Water Development Report released on March 22nd 2017 in Durban, South Africa. It paves the way for meaningful action at local government level across Africa to address the interlinked challenges of water, sanitation and climate change. In 2019, at the next LoCS4Africa congress, mayors will report back on the progress made to implement the actions set out in the Declaration. The Declaration has furthermore been endorsed by United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA) and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, who have committed to garner support for it from city leaders across Africa and to present it to the African Union and the Secretary General of the United Nations.
“The Ekurhuleni Declaration on Water and Sanitation for Cities adds timely impetus to the globally urgent issues of water and sanitation”, says Kobie Brand, Regional Director of ICLEI Africa. “Through the Declaration, African mayors and their partners have collectively committed to taking action to enhance the delivery of basic services and promote the dignity of their people by making African cities more liveable, resilient and sustainable”.
LoCS4Africa 2017 also saw the launch of the Africa-EU Innovation Alliance for Water and Climate (AfriAlliance) initiative where delegates engaged each other in in-depth discussions and conversations around water management and climate adaptation in African cities shared stories of successful water and climate adaptation initiatives.