The Deputy Minister (DM) for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), honourable Andries Nel is attending the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, 13th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP 13) held in Ordos, China. In his address DM Nel emphasised the significant role played by local government in questions of addressing the challenges of land degradation, land-use management and planning.
On the margins of this important conference, DM Nel held a fruitful bilateral meeting with the Vice-Mayor of the City Government of Ordos, Madame Shie Yanje on Wednesday, 13 September 2017. The meeting looked at key programmes from both countries that will contribute toward integrated urban planning and management.
Looking at the City of Ordos, which was honoured as the best and most honoured ecological city in China, the two leaders shared ideas and case studies that can be used for the benefit of both countries.
In addition to the above mentioned areas, greening the city, waste water management, disaster risk management with more emphasis on disaster risk reduction and spatial planning and citizen participation were also some of the key issues discussed.
According to the Vice Mayor, “the ecological development of the city took about 20 years to develop, which resulted in the greening of 43% of its land area of 87 000 hectares”. The urban landscape consists of apartments and commercial buildings constructed along ecological engineering designs. The greening of the city’s environment is coordinated by its Garden Bureau that implements the city’s greening plan which is developed in line with national and provincial policies.
Ordos like South Africa also faces water scarcity and severe drought as it lies within the desert belt. In China, land and water use are highly regulated from national government down to local government. The Vice Mayor indicated that in Ordos, underground water is not used for, amongst others, industrial purposes, cleaning of roads and paving and gardening services; only recycled water is used for such activities.
“We are confident that some of our Municipalities in our country can indeed learn from the good work done in Ordos. in the same breath, the experience of our municipalities can also benefit the Ordos”, said DM Nel.
In conclusion, DM Nel and Vice Mayor Shie agreed to facilitate the establishment of collaborations between Ordos and South African municipalities in mining and arid areas.
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