Speech by Deputy Minister Andries Nel at the High-level International Forum on Sustainable Urban Development in People’s Republic of China

Posted on Posted in DCoG Deputy Minister Andries Nel

Speech by Mr Andries Nel, MP, Deputy Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (responsible for Provincial and Local Government) at the High-level International Forum on Sustainable Urban Development held in Chengdu Municipality, Sichuan Province, People’s Republic of China on 21 July 2017

Programme Director,

Esteemed panelists,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This high-level forum takes place 3 days after International Nelson Mandela Day.

President Nelson Mandela was born on 18 July 1918. Every year people across the world commemorate this day by performing 67 minutes of community service in memory of the 67 years that Nelson Mandela sacrificed struggling against injustice and oppression.

 

When receiving the Freedom of the City of Cape Town on 27 November 1997 Nelson Mandela said:

 

“We need such creativity to develop the City’s economy, to create jobs and resources for reconstruction and development.

 

To succeed in this we must harness all the energies and resources of our people. Your determination to build a partnership for development between government and the private sector is encouraging.

 

So too are the plans to integrate your booming informal business sector into the City’s mainstream economy. Not only will this boost growth, but it will create real openings for those who were previously excluded from the world of business.

 

Like all our cities, and in some ways even more than others, Cape Town bears the scars of our past in its still largely separated residential areas, and the great disparity in the conditions and opportunities they offer.”

 

We recall these words as we discuss how to implement the New Urban Agenda and make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

 

Significantly, we do so under the theme: “Sustainable Urban Development under the Belt and Road Initiative.”

 

Significantly, because ninety percent of the two-and-a-half billion people that will join the world’s urban population by 2050 will be in Asia and Africa.

 

Most of the fastest growing cities with a population of less than 1 million are also located in Asia and Africa.

 

Ensuring that these most rapidly developing cities in the world develop sustainably, is of vital importance to our planet.

 

The development of a globalising world underscores the inextricably intertwined nature of human destiny.

 

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development represents a universal, transformative and integrated development plan.

 

The successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction are mutually dependent and reinforcing.

 

Their implementation requires of us to strengthen collaboration in international organizations and multilateral mechanisms.

 

We must advance democracy and the rule of law in international relations and an equitable and just international order, so as to build a harmonious world of durable peace and common prosperity.

 

We must safeguard and develop an open world economy and the establishment of a fair, just, inclusive and orderly international financial system.

 

We must strengthen the centripetal forces of multilateralism and collaboration against the centrifugal forces of unilateralism and narrow nationalism.

 

We must be committed to treating each other as equals and enhancing solidarity and mutual trust.

 

The Johannesburg Summit of the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was held in December 2015 under the theme: “China-Africa Progressing Together: Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development.”

 

The forum committed itself actively to explore the linkages between China’s initiatives of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road – the Belt and Road Initiative – and Africa’s economic integration and sustainable development agenda, and seek more opportunities to promote common development and realize our common dreams.

 

This was an important decision that impacts directly on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the creation of a more spatially just, inclusive and sustainable world.

 

Regrettably, despite much progress too many of Africa’s cities are still highly spatially fragmented due to colonial planning systems, and in South Africa, apartheid planning policies.

 

To deal with these challenges South Africa adopted an Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) in April 2016.

 

Sixty-three percent of South Africans already live in urban areas. This will rise to seventy-one percent by 2030. By 2050 eight in ten South Africans will live in urban areas.

 

The IUDF marks a New Deal for South African cities and towns.

 

It sets out the policy framework for transforming and restructuring South Africa’s urban spaces, guided by the vision of creating “liveable, safe, resource-efficient cities and towns that are socially integrated, economically inclusive and globally competitive, where residents actively participate in urban life.”

 

Its strategic goals are spatial integration, inclusion and access, growth, and governance.

 

 

It has nine policy levers, which are premised on the understanding that (1) integrated urban planning forms the basis for achieving integrated urban development, which follows a specific sequence of urban policy actions: (2) integrated transport that informs (3) targeted investments into integrated human settlements, underpinned by (4) integrated infrastructure network systems and (5) efficient land governance, which all together can trigger (6) economic diversification and inclusion, and (7) empowered communities; all of the above will demand effective (8) governance and (9) financial reform to enable and sustain these policy actions.

 

It seeks to reap the urban dividend through coordinated investments in people, places and the economy.

 

It aims to strengthen rural-urban linkages, promote urban resilience, create safe urban spaces and ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable groups are addressed.

 

It recognises that the country has different types of cities and towns, hence, integrated urban development must be implemented in locally relevant ways that also promote sustainable rural development and strengthen rural-urban linkages.

 

For this to happen the country must:

 

  • Clarify and relentlessly pursue a national vision for spatial development.
  • Sharpen the instruments for achieving this vision,
  • Build the required capabilities in the state and among citizens, including the capacity for integrated, people centered planning and implementation.

 

Realising this vision calls for leadership and strong political will to ensure a highly coordinated, systematic, collaborative and people centered approach by the various levels of government, by labour, business, and citizens.

 

We believe that when these actors – globally and locally – are driven by the same vision and agenda, inclusive, integrated and sustainable urban development can be achieved.

 

We thank the China Centre for Urban Development, UN Habitat and the Mayor of Chengdu for showing the leadership and political will to contribute to this vitally important endeavour by bringing us together.