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RELEASE: South Africa Joins WRI, Coalition for Urban Transitions in Supporting Green and Equitable Urban Recovery After COVID-19

New partnership focused on supporting national urban development planning towards low-carbon, resilient, inclusive cities


JOHANNESBURG (October 30, 2020) — The South Africa National Department for Cooperative Governance, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, and Coalition for Urban Transitions announced a new partnership to help achieve a more green and equitable recovery for cities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This global partnership is a commitment to resolving one of the biggest challenges facing us. In it, we exemplify our desire for change. We acknowledge that it’s our responsibility to act now to preserve our natural world for future generations,” said Deputy Minister Parks Tau, of South Africa’s Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs at the virtual launch event, “Investing in Cities for a Green and Equitable Future,” held today.

Part of the month-long Urban Festival 2020, the announcement brought together national government leaders, city leaders, civil society and international experts to discuss pathways toward a low carbon, resilient and inclusive recovery.

Cities have been at the frontlines of the pandemic’s impact, but they also offer the opportunity to accelerate the transition to a resilient, equitable and low carbon future. Investing in cities as part of larger economic recovery packages can help national governments create economic security and jobs while moving toward a more resilient and sustainable path.

“South Africa is a crucial partner with an opportunity to steer its cities towards more equitable, more sustainable, more resilient growth that not only helps the country recover from the current crisis but address longstanding challenges in bringing the benefits of urban economies to everyone,” said Ani Dasgupta, Global Director, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.

Other key speakers included Wanjira Mathai, Vice President and Regional Director for WRI Africa; Edgar Pieterse, South African Research Chair in Urban Policy and Director, African Center for Cities; and Hastings Chikoko, Regional Director for Africa, C40 Cities.

The partnership between South Africa, WRI and the Coalition for Urban Transitions will focus on implementation of the country’s Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) while supporting a green, resilient and inclusive recovery for its hard-hit cities.

The discussion featured findings from a new report by the Coalition for Urban Transitions, “The Economic Case for Greening the Global Recovery through Cities,” which highlights seven priority areas that national governments can invest in, including: 1) Green construction and retrofits 2) Clean mobility 3) Renewable energy 4) Active transport 5) Nature-based solutions 6) Waste and resources and 7) R&D for clean technologies.

By focusing on these priority areas, countries like South Africa could help boost urban economies, create and protect millions of jobs and put cities on a trajectory toward long-term resilience and prosperity. The coalition has identified a $24 trillion net opportunity globally by implementing low-carbon measures in cities.

This is the first formal partnership between South Africa, WRI and the Coalition for Urban Transitions. A memorandum of understanding is forthcoming.

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About WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities is the World Resources Institute’s program dedicated to shaping a future where cities work better for everyone. It helps create inclusive, resilient, low-carbon cities for people, businesses and the environment to thrive. The Center expands the transport and urban development expertise of the EMBARQ network to catalyze innovative solutions in other sectors, including air quality, buildings, energy, land use and water. It combines the research excellence of WRI with two decades of on-the-ground impact through a network of more than 350 experts working from Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Mexico and Turkey to make cities around the world better places to live. More information at www.wrirosscities.org.

About the Coalition for Urban Transitions

The Coalition for Urban Transitions is the leading global initiative helping national governments unlock the economic power of inclusive, zero-carbon cities. A special initiative of the New Climate Economy (NCE), the Coalition for Urban Transitions is jointly managed by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and World Resources Institute Ross Center. A partnership of 36 diverse stakeholders across five continents drives the Coalition, including leading urban-focused institutions and their practice leaders from major think-tanks, research institutions, city networks, international organizations, major investors, infrastructure providers, and strategic advisory companies.

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