The Metropolitan Chief Executive of Accra, Dr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, has said mayors have the tools and capacity to mobilise resources to spearhead development in their countries. He has subsequently urged his colleague mayors in other countries to use that capacity boldly, as they pursue the development agenda. The mayor, who was speaking at a two-day conference called by Pope Francis at the Vatican last week, said: “It is clear that we, as mayors, have the tools and the capacity to mobilise communities at the grass-roots level, including the poorest of the poor. Let’s use them boldly to implement the call by His Holiness.” Mayors of Africa Pope Francis invited 65 mayors from Africa, South America, the United States and Asia on Tuesday, July 21, and Wednesday July 22, to the conference on how cities could address the “interconnected emergencies” of Climate Change and Human Trafficking. Recounting his experience on dealing with natural catastrophes, the mayor of Accra called for strengthened measures to be put in place in order to mitigate the impact of similar emergencies in the future. “City authorities must ensure that early warning systems are placed to alert people about expected rains, so that appropriately covered drainage systems are constructed; and lagoons and other water bodies with channels into the sea must always be dredged,” he said.
Pope Francis expressed concern over the increasing poverty plaguing cities, brought about by climate change which has caused untold suffering to poor people. He, therefore, urged the participating mayors to sign a declaration at the end of the first day which called on the international community to intensify efforts to fight global warming ahead of the Paris Climate Talks in December and put pressure on the United Nations to consider modern slavery and human trafficking as a crime against humanity. Conference Coming soon after the 4th World Summit of Mayors and Leaders from Africa and of African descent in Accra, the conference underscored the key role of cities in meeting the great challenges of sustainable human development, including action for fast-tracking cities to reach the targets to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. The Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Dr Djibril Diallo, said: “We are here to talk about cities and climate change; let me give you a perspective through the lens of the AIDS response.” “I am proud to tell you that we have just met our goal of 15 million on treatment by 2015, which is six months ahead of the deadline of the Millennium Development
Source: Graphic Online