Resilience in Greater Accra requires long term commitment – World Bank Report

Accra, Resilience in Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) in combating natural hazards such as perennial floods and sea erosion requires long term commitment and planning, a Word Bank report has indicated.

The report dubbed: CityStrength Diagnostic: Enhancing Urban Resilience in Greater Accra Metropolitan Area, said the GAMA was well positioned to enhance resilience at all metropolitan levels.

It said leading ministries and 16 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) were committed to addressing the many hazards that could set back development gains.

Following the June 15, 2015 floods, which affected Accra and surrounding areas, the Government and the World Bank jointly implemented the CityStrength methodology to under GAMA’s exposure to risks, level of resilience and performance of urban system.

The report was jointly launched on Tuesday in Accra, by Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation; and a Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Akwasi Adjei Boateng.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng said the report provided a concrete and detailed forward-looking strategy that might guide and inform policy and budget decisions and thus eventually leading to a thriving, inclusive and more resilient GAMA.

He commended the World Bank for coming out with the report.

According to the report GAMA is one of the fastest-growing city regions in West Africa, and is facing new opportunities and challenges.

It said GAMA was home to 4.6 million Ghanaians, accounting for 16.3 per cent of Ghana’s 2016 total population.

It said GAMA’s response to acute shocks, the report noted, had been primarily reactive.

It said whenever a shock occurred, agencies such as the National Disaster Management Organisation and individual MMDAs responded with emergency and relief services.

However, an absence of efforts at prevention and early warning makes the region constantly susceptible to a wide range of shocks and stresses, it said.

Mr Adjei Boateng said the government would start the implementation of the report mentioning the recommendation for the establishment of the GAMA as a Joint Development Planning Area (JDPA) and the formation of a Joint Development Planning Board (JDPB).

The recommendations of the CityStrength Diagnostic, a World Bank tool, cut across infrastructure needs as well as institutional interventions and behavioural change.

The CityStrength Diagnostic brought together stakeholders at the national, regional and local levels, including government officials, development institutions and civil society, said Asmita Tiwari, Task Team Leader, CityStrength Diagnostic.

Through a series of consultations, workshops and data analysis, the process led to the identification of main vulnerabilities affecting the GAMA followed by the prioritisation of follow-up actions and cross-sectorial recommendations to enhance resilience in GAMA.

The Diagnostic found that flooding, fire, cholera, outbreaks and coastal erosion were the main shocks that residents were exposed to, while ongoing stresses on the city region include poor sanitation, rapid urban growth, proliferation of informal settlements, excessive unemployment and land and chieftaincy conflicts.

The report also called for the need to integrate Urban Flood and Coastal Zone Management.

To enhance resilience in vulnerable communities, the report emphasises the need to identify vulnerable settlements, so investment can be focused in the most exposed places.

Improving resilience in the Greater Accra Region directly relates to World Bank’s twin goals of reducing poverty and enhancing prosperity, said Mr Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Flooding affects vulnerable communities, often residing in low-lying areas, without appropriate access to urban services and infrastructure, he added.

The report calls for the need to Improve Disaster Preparedness and Response to multi-hazards, through a good understanding of the risk facing the GAMA, including future climate change impacts such as increased frequency and intensity of rain fall and sea level rise.

Mr Ivo Imparato, Programme Leader for Sustainable Development, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, World Bank, said the Bank was committed to assisting the government in ensuring a resilient and thriving Accra.

The Regional Minister, Mr Ishmael Ashitey said the Regional Co-ordinating Council was committed and ready to provide the necessary leadership, requisite advisory services, capacity building support and technical baxckups to MMDAs towards the realisation of the laudable initiative.

Among the dignitaries, who witnessed the report launch were the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Samule Atta Akyea; the Inner City and Zongo Development Minister, Mr Boniface Abubakar Siddique; the Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr Mohhammed Adjei Sowah, and the Tema Metropolitan Assembly Chief Executive, Mr Felix Mensah Annang-La.

Source: Ghana News Agency