Africa is the fastest urbanizing region in the world (OECD, 2020), and its intermediary cities are projected to show the fastest rates of urbanization. In addition to development and infrastructure challenges, these cities are also faced with increasing climate risks from disasters such as flooding, heat and water stress. In collaboration with the South African Cities Network, the South African Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG), and Race to Resilience (UN High-Level Climate Champions), the Urban Water Resilience and Cities4Forests programs will host a session at the 9th Africities Summit on the untapped opportunities that nature presents for intermediary cities facing climate risks.

The session will enhance discourse on the need for harnessing nature, with a focus on water and forest resources, to strengthen the resilience of intermediary cities to climate change. Speakers will also share experiences of transformational projects implemented by WRI through its Urban Water Resilience and Cities4Forests initiatives. The session will also highlight that NBS alone cannot solve all of Africa’s urban challenges unless it is accompanied by proper planning, prioritizing the most vulnerable, funding, policy, and institutional reform.



  • Hon. Samuel Pyne, Mayor of Kumasi, Ghana
  • Sithole Mbanga, CEO, South African Cities Network (SACN)
  • Dr. Andriannah Mbandi; Deputy Lead on Open Waste Burning, UN High-Level Climate Champions
  • Wanjira Mathai, Vice President and Regional Director for Africa at WRI
  • Aklilu Fikresilassie, Director, Thriving and Resilient Cities, WRI Africa
  • Anna Oursler, Urban Mobility Coordinator for WRI Africa


  • Hellen Wanjohi-Opil, Resilient African Cities Lead, WRI Africa (seconded to the UN High Level Climate Champions team)


  • Dr. George Mwaniki, Head of Air Quality, WRI Africa


  • Room 10