Over the next 20 years, urban populations in Africa are expected to double while water demand is expected to quadruple. About 2.2 billion people lack access to a safely managed water supply, and over 750 million Africans lack access to improved sanitation. This often forces people to migrate to overcrowded cities for economic opportunity. Meanwhile, unmanaged land use changes degrade resources and negatively impact water availability and utilities remain severely underfunded.

City leaders face converging challenges: extending water and sanitation services for growing populations, managing watershed risks largely outside city jurisdictions, and designing cities to be climate resilient. WRI’s Urban Water Resilience Initiative, supported by the Global Commission on Adaptation, is hosting an essential discussion on how to advance urban water resilience, achieve sustainable and equitable WASH access, and provide long-term water security. Experts from WRI as well as thought leaders in Africa working on WASH, water security, and climate change will discuss the big shifts that are required to advance urban water resilience, key opportunities to elevate investments in water resilience in COVID-19 stimulus packages, and how various sectors and stakeholders can best collaborate on this critical initiative.

This webinar will explore how to raise political ambition to provide access to affordable, safe, and sustainable water and sanitation for the urban poor. As a part of WRI’s Adaptation Week, which is connected to the Global Commission on Adaptation’s Cities and Water Action Tracks, this webinar will share a vision for urban water resilience in Africa, highlight how stimulus investments could shape a green, inclusive and water resilient recovery for cities, identify job creation opportunities in the water sector, and advance collective action.


  • Chilufya Chileshe, Interim Policy Director, WaterAid
  • Ijeoma Emenanjo, Chief Water Resources Management Officer, Water Coordination and Partnerships Division, Water Development & Sanitation Department, African Development Bank
  • Jane Weru, Executive Director, Akiba Mashinani Trust
  • Eric Hubbard, Technical Advisor, Environmental Management, Freetown City Council
  • Baraka Mwau, Consulting Urban Planner and Researcher, East African Research Fund project, Kenya
  • Betsy Otto, Global Director, Water, World Resources Institute
  • Rogier van den Berg, Director, Urban Development, WRI Ross Center For Sustainable Cities, World Resources Institute

Global Commission on Adaptation Logo