The Global Director (Strategy/Operations) and Regional Director (Africa), Resilient Cities Network, Dr. Dana Omranhas advocated the strengthening of technical capacity and financial autonomy of the local governments in Africa.
She stated this on Tuesday, August 23, 2022 during the Opening Ceremony of the 3rd Annual Urbanization and Habitable Cities Conference.
The 2-day Conference hosted by the Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development, University of Lagos in collaboration with its international partners, was held at Radisson Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos State.
According to Dr. Omran, it is necessary to strengthen local governments in order to build and bolster resilience in Africa.
She explained that urban resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems to survive, adapt and grow regardless of chronic stresses and acute shocks such as climate change, poverty, economic inequality among others.
She noted that other measures which cities could put in place to build resilience include integrating nature in long-term spatial planning and service delivery to combat recurringclimate shock; and ensuring that planning efforts to build safer and equitable cities are centred around people.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics and Research, University of Lagos, Professor Bola Oboh who represented Vice-Chancellor, Professor Oluwatoyin T. Ogundipe, FAS at the event, expressed delight at the theme of the Conference,describing it as appropriate especially in view of the current state of Africa.
Her words, “in UNILAG, resilience is embedded in the administrative structure and carefully crafted programmes aimed at providing critical workforce to fill the manpower gapin the nation’s labour space”.
In his address, the Director of the Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development who is also the Director of the University’s Research and Innovation Office, Professor Timothy Nubi highlighted the Centre’s history, aims and objectives, programmes as well as achievements. He pointed out that the Centre is currently the hub for the African Research Network for Urbanisation and Habitable Cities, a network of 10 African universities with support of researchers drawn from universities in the United Kingdom.
While delivering her welcome address, the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Professor M. M. Omirinrevealed that the Conference would feature parallel sessions and presentation of twenty five (25) papers out of the fifty six(56) submitted by sixty two (62) authors across various fields of study including Physical Planning, Geography, Music, Quantity Surveying, Building, Engineering, Finance among others.
The 10 African Universities under the African Research Network for Urbanisation and Habitable Cities are the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife; Federal University of Technology, Minna; University of Cape Town, South Africa; University of Zambia; University of Nairobi; Uganda Matyrs University; American International University of West Africa, The Gambia; University of Ghana, and the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre at the Ngala University.