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SADC and UN-Habitat Strengthen Ties for Regional Resilience and Sustainability

His Excellency Mr. Elias M. Magosi, the Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), met with His Excellency Mr. Oumar Sylla, African Regional Director for the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), in a pivotal gathering aimed at fortifying collaboration between the two entities. 

The meeting, held in Gaborone, Botswana, followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in December 2023.

The MoU serves as a framework for cooperation between SADC and UN-Habitat, outlining joint efforts to bolster urban resilience, advance disaster risk reduction, and enhance climate change adaptation. 

Among the key areas of collaboration are resilience building, disaster risk management, climate adaptation and mitigation in urban areas, people-centered smart cities, research, knowledge exchange, monitoring and evaluation, as well as financing for development.

Highlighting the profound impact of climate change on the SADC region, H.E. Magosi stressed the urgency of addressing urban resilience and protecting vulnerable rural communities. 

He commended the Republic of Botswana for committing to host the UN-Habitat sub-regional office and called for the establishment of early warning mechanisms to effectively respond to climate change and disaster challenges.

Expressing readiness to support the region, Mr. Sylla underscored UN-Habitat’s expertise in integrating green infrastructure solutions into human settlement planning, enhancing climate-resilient infrastructure, and securing financing. 

He urged prompt action in establishing modalities for harmonizing regional standards for human settlement and strengthening anticipatory actions by Member States to address El Niño impacts.

The meeting also highlighted the significance of the SADC Digital Transformation Strategy (DTS) adopted in 2023. The DTS, a crucial tool for developing Smart Sustainable Cities (SSCs), aims to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies across various sectors within the SSC ecosystem. 

Ms. Angele Makombo N’tumba, the SADC Deputy Executive Secretary responsible for Regional Integration, and senior officials from both institutions attended the meeting, emphasizing the commitment to realizing a resilient and sustainable future for the SADC region.

Source: SADC Secretariat

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