The ACCSF Network

By 2055, growth and development in Tshwane will be driven by an economy that supports a sustainable, vibrant, liveable and prosperous city, through integrated ecological, social, economic and spatial agendas that promote human and environmental wellbeing. The city has taken a conscious decision to transition to a low carbon, resource efficient and climate resilient city, and is exploring sustainable and alternative options of providing services, thereby ensuring value for money through its ambitious sustainability drive. Global warming, climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience are further ‘new’ problems facing all our societies, which despite being among the least big culprits in the world are possibly feeling the negative impacts in the strongest way. Africa’s capital cities are stronger together. ACCSF is a powerful, growing network for the mayors of capital cities across the continent to achieve the sustainable development goals that are common to all. In the words of Solly Msimanga, executive mayor of Tshwane, it is a glowing opportunity “to establish commonalities and challenges faced by major cities

in Africa while showcasing and sharing successful initiatives towards the emergence of truly African, original and appropriate answers in addressing the sustainability imperative at the urban scale.” Key challenges threatening growth and development in African include rapid urbanisation, energy and water access and stresses, sanitation, the global economic slowdown, rising unemployment and social inequities, trade facilitation, connectivity, land and biodiversity degradation, amongst others, and on top of this the significant and growing impacts of climate change. Capital cities have a unique role in providing leadership for other local authorities within country borders. Partnerships and collaborative efforts have an important role to play in the implementation of sustainability, especially collaboration between the national, local and other levels of government to align and thus more effectively address sustainable development challenges. The increasing rate of urbanization in African cities especially calls for the proactive design and implementation of sustainable urban development solutions.

History of the ACCSF

The inaugural African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum, hosted in 2015 by the City of Tshwane, created exposure for participating African Capital Cities to deliberate on the concept of sustainability in an urban context and leadership context.

The inaugural forum was held on from 23 June 2015 at the CSIR International Convention Centre followed by a further two days of multi-lateral engagements and City tours as City of Tshwane hosted 15 African Capital Cities. A key outcome of the launch was the signing of the Tshwane Declaration – a comprehensive programme of action for African capital cities committed to a sustainable capital development. Furthermore, there was a firm undertaking by the City of Tshwane to host a further three consecutive fora.

In 2016, the forum was convened from 31 May to 2 June 2016; the main focus was on understanding the status and focus of sustainability programmes in 18 African capital cities. It revealed a diversity of initiatives, ranging from programmes to tackle HIV/AIDS to the installation of solar-powered lighting systems.

In 2017, 32 mayoral delegations attended. The forum focused on responsible leadership, exploring political leadership as a key agent in promoting the role of decentralised government in addressing sustainability challenges in Africa, and how African capital cities are leading the way. The outcome of the event was a joint resolution by the mayors as expressed in the Tshwane Declaration 2018.

ACCSF 2019

The 2018 ACCSF reaffirmed that sustainability is being mainstreamed across Africa at every level, as government and businesses are buying into the notion that sustainability has to be designed into every project and venture as a matter of course. It was also emphasised that future success relies on more efficient integration and implementation of sustainability through communication and partnerships.

Building on the discussions of the 2018 ACCSF and work that has been done by cities in the last 12 months, the theme for ACCSF 2019 is “Collective responsibility for sustainable African capital cities” and will be explored through the following topics:

  • Unlocking the potential of urban youth
  • Improving resource efficiency through sustainable infrastructure and shaping circular economies
  • Improving equity through a people-centred approach to urban development
  • Financing and governing the future

ACCSF 2019 will be held on the 24th -26th June 2019 .The ACCSF will be embedded in the implementation and localisation of Africa’s Agenda 2063, and Global Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. The forum will explore how, through collective responsibility for sustainable African capital cities, solutions can be found for supporting an integrated, prosperous, people-centred and peaceful Africa through the implementation of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The ACCSF forum properly constitutes the first day which will be the main plenary on the 24 June 2019. It is followed on the second day by the Sustainable Cities Conference during Sustainability Week, in which practical, business like solutions to the issues raised by the mayors are explored in depth, and on the third day by an array of technical seminars, in which sustainability practitioners and stakeholders are brought up to date with the latest insights and developments in their particular fields of interest and expertise.