Nigeria, Other African Countries Meet in Tokyo to Set Development  Agenda

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By Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Tokyo   

African countries, including Nigeria today begin the Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development (TICAD) Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo.

It is jointly hosted by the Japanese Government with the United Nations, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Bank and the African Union Commission (AUC) to set agenda for African development conference expected to hold next year in Yokohoma, Japan.

At the ministerial meeting, the progress of initiatives announced in VI in Kenya, in 2016, will be reviewed and the discussions will be made towards the TICAD 7 to be held from August 28 to 30, 2019 in Yokohama, Japan.

Minister Kono Taro of Japan is also expected to hold bilateral talks with ministers from African countries at the occasion to further strengthen ties with African countries.

While side events such as business related events, jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNDP, Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO)), Japan Africa · Business · Fair 2018 (hosted by Ministry of Foreign Affairs), clean city platform (JICA, jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Africa’s acceleration of development and open innovation (JICA, World Bank) co-organised for the promotion of rice development in Africa (JICA), Co-hosted by UNDP), civil society side event (citizen network for TICAD sponsored) are scheduled to be held.

As part of the side events scheduled, the African Clean Cities Platform (ACCP) yesterday gave an overview of its activities.

ACCP is a platform created in April 2017 with the initiatives of the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlement Plan (UN-Habitat) and City of Yokohama, and currently with 62 cities in 34 countries in Africa participating, to share knowledge and promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on waste management in Africa with the aim of African countries realising clean and healthy cities.

Making a presentation yesterday, a senior staff of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Dr. Shunichi Honda, said that in spite of several efforts made by African countries to address waste management issues, economic growth and urbanisation had continued to compound the problems of waste management, adding that it was becoming more and more serious due to insufficient collection services and inappropriate disposal.

Expressing concern over illegal dumping and burning of waste results, he said that adverse effects on the environment and human health were huge, saying it could impede economic activities and cause infectious and water-borne diseases, especially in slum areas.

Accusing African countries of not giving priority to the challenges, Dr. Honda said that the policy priority of waste management was still low, adding that local governments did not have enough financial and human resources, as well as equipment and facilities, and their O&M capacity to manage the waste.

He added that the urban population in Africa, was currently about 450 million people (40% of the total population), and was increasing, nothing that it is estimated to grow threefold by 2050, with a huge challenge for African countries to sustainably bear the cost of urban sanitation, since the average income was relatively low compared to urbanisation in Asia.

To respond to these issues, during TICAD VI in Kenya on August 28, 2016, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) organised a seminar on waste management in Africa titled “Capacity Development to Achieve the SDGs on Waste Management: Toward Clean and Healthy Cities in Africa,” along with Nairobi City County (Kenya), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ).

About 180 participants from governments, including Nigeria and private sectors from nine African countries, reaffirmed the importance of appropriate waste management in African cities, shared good practices and lessons learned, while proclaiming the promotion of further cooperation, such as establishing a platform among African countries and partner organisations for more knowledge sharing and networking.

As a follow-up of TICAD VI in consideration of the resolution, MOEJ and JICA established “African Clean Cities Platform (ACCP),” and organised its Preparatory Meeting and a Knowledge-Sharing Seminar on “the Project for Promotion of Sustainable 3R Activities in Maputo” along with Maputo Municipality (Mozambique), Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development of Mozambique, the UNEP and the UN-Habitat between 25 and 27 April, 2017 in Maputo, Mozambique.

Its mission is for African countries to realise clean and healthy cities and achieve the SDGs on waste management by 2020 and provide an open platform to support African countries and cities to find their own measures and solutions for appropriate waste management and the achievement of SDGs.