June 2018

#MFGIndaba: Manufacturing key to growing SA economy

#MFGIndaba: Manufacturing key to growing SA economyWith its multiple effect, manufacturing is the one sector in the economy that has the potential to create the jobs the country needs so desperately. But the industry is under threat and has declined.
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SVA International takes street art indoors

SVA International takes street art indoorsInjecting a dose of creativity into its corporate workspace, architectural firm SVA International has taken street art indoors, disrupting the traditional boundaries between urban art and design.
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Foster + Partners reveals stepped residential tower for Toronto

Foster + Partners reveals stepped residential tower for TorontoFoster + Partners has revealed its new 41-storey residential tower for Toronto - stepped back from its from facade, the design prevents "shadow falling on the adjacent park and school yard".
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Malawian school children with disability struggle to access drinking water and toilets

Schools, according to policy, must have at least one latrine or toilet for boys and girls that cater for pupils with disabilities. Flickr

The image of a primary school child leaving their wheelchair outside a pit latrine and crawling across an unclean floor to perform basic bodily functions is stark.

These and similar stories emerged from a study we conducted in a Malawian town. And they suggest that while the southern African nation is being hailed for its efforts to get more children in the classroom, more work is needed to ensure their experiences on school grounds – and especially in bathroom facilities – are positive and safe.

In developing countries fewer than 5% of children that have disabilities attend school. In Malawi, UNICEF estimates that 2.4% of the young people have a disability.

In our study we assessed the water and sanitation facilities at primary schools in a rural town in Malawi to see how disability friendly they were. We were keen to understand how well schools had translated Malawi’s policies on access to water, sanitation and hygiene into practice.

Our data showed that no school had facilities that fully met the needs of students with disabilities – not even private schools which is often thought to provide better services.

Cameroon's Anglophone crisis threatens national unity. The time for change is now

Cameroon's President Paul Biya has been in charge for nearly 40 years. His people want change. REUTERS/LINTAO ZHANG

Cameroon’s governance and security problems have historically attracted little outside attention. But this seems likely to change, for two reasons. The first is the growing political crisis in the Central African nation’s English-speaking region. The second is a presidential election scheduled for October 2018.

Roughly 20% of the country’s population of 24.6 million people are Anglophone. The majority are Francophone. The unfair domination of French-speaking politicians in government has long been the source of conflict.

The trouble with making LGBTIAQ people live on heterosexuals' terms

Homosexuals are expected to conform to ideas of what's "normal" or "right", like getting married. Dewald Kirsten/Shutterstock

Heteronormativity has become a familiar word in debates around gender and sexuality. It’s a concept developed by social theorist Michael Warner in 1991, and refers to the heterosexual experience being positioned as the only “normal” way to be or live.

When that happens, it renders any experience that doesn’t fit that mould as “other”. This othering can take the form of social and economic exclusion, violence – often state sanctioned – imprisonment and even death. It enforces the gender binary and its accompanying gender stereotypes. In this way it not only hurts those who aren’t heterosexual. It also harms those who are by limiting the options available to them. For instance, heterosexual men are expected to perform their gender in a particular way, being strong and muscly, emotions in check, and unlikely to explore a greater range of emotions that may be deemed too feminine lest they be thought of as “not a real man”.

How African cities' residents are creating climate change solutions

People who live in cities understand their climate contexts sometimes better than scientists. RETUERS/AARON UFUMELI

It’s difficult as an individual, a group or a nation to know how to act when faced with climate change problems. As with other global environmental problems, these challenges are economically, environmentally and socially complex. They come with ethical issues and generate disagreement between different groups of people.

This complexity is particularly apparent in cities where many different groups of people with diverse cultures and perspectives live. And cities, of course, are hot spots for the problems related to climate change.

But the good news is that cities also have the potential to produce solutions to climate change problems because they contain dense networks, technologies and groups of people with diverse perspectives. This was a key message which emerged from the first ever Cities Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change meeting, held in Canada recently.

Science alone can’t provide all the answers or solutions for cities grappling with changing climates and extreme weather. Cities’ social, cultural, economic and historical differences should be considered when planning any climate-related response. And it’s residents, citizens and local authorities who have that context.

New massive Amorepacific HQ completed in Seoul

New massive Amorepacific HQ completed in SeoulDavid Chipperfield Architects has completed the Amorepacific headquarters in the centre of Seoul. The permeable building is situated at a site which has been occupied by the company since 1956.
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Why smart transportation is a game changer for Africa

Why smart transportation is a game changer for Africa
© Teoh Chin Leong via [[www.123rf.com 123RF]]</span>Smart cities may seem like a futuristic concept, but their benefits are rapidly becoming evident around the world. Africa is no exception, with many of the approaches and technologies which combine to form a smart city being applied from Cape Town through to Cairo.
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OBS: a global website on culture, cities and SDGs

OBS: a global website on culture, cities and SDGs

The OBS is a unique practical website in the world, it includes more than 120 good practices available in the 3 official languages of UCLG (English, French and Spanish), that describe cultural projects, programmes and policies implemented by cities and local governments from across the world.

The good practices are indexed by 3 types of criteria:

  • The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN Agenda 2030.
  • The 9 Commitments of UCLG’s Culture 21 Actions.
  • 75 keywords related to all fields of culture, cultural policies and sustainable cities.

Several of these good practices served as key reference for the new publication of the Committee on culture of UCLG, “Culture in the Sustainable Development Goals: a Guide for Local Action”.

Society reaps the benefits when women enjoy better health care

AU-UN IST photo/Stuart Price

Weak political commitment, inadequate resources and persistent discrimination against women and girls: these are just some reasons that many countries still don’t openly and comprehensively address sexual and reproductive health and rights.

This is borne out by figures. Each year in developing countries, including those in Africa, more than 30 million women don’t give birth at a health facility. More than 45 million have inadequate or no antenatal care. And over 200 million women want to avoid pregnancy but don’t have access to modern contraceptive methods.

Nigeria is not ready to hold free and fair elections next year. Here's why

Members of Nigeria's All Progressives Congress party protest the 2015 elections. More trouble is likely ahead of the 2019 elections. EPA/Tife Owolabi

The 2019 presidential elections in Nigeria will be the country’s sixth since 1999, when it shifted to democracy after a long period of military rule. Most of these elections have been tarnished by acts of violence – including attacks on politicians – and vote rigging often influences the results.

In the past, election violence has been blamed on a lack of education among citizens, poverty, the long history of military rule and corruption. However, political patronage is also to blame in a country where power and state resources are often exploited for personal use by office holders. The scramble for the “national cake” by the political elite is often the real reason for many politicians’ do-or-die attitude.

Such was the case when the former president, General Olusegun Obasanjo declared in 2007 that the April elections would be a do-or-die affair for the country and his ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The election was marred by fraud and violence.

Culture in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): A Guide for Local Action

Culture in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): A Guide for Local Action

The publication "Culture in the Sustainable Development Goals: A Guide for Local Action" aims to provide practical guidance to local and regional governments, civil society organisations, private organisations, culture and development professionals, and other stakeholders interested in strengthening partnerships, policies, projects and practices around the place of culture in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The document is structured on the basis of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that make up Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015. Under each Goal, the document presents information that helps to understand why culture is relevant and how this connection can be made effective at local level, including in areas where connections may only be implicit, and offers several examples of cities or local governments which have implemented projects, programmes and policies that are directly related to the Goal area.

These examples are part of a wider database of good practices called OBS which materializes through a global website on culture, cities and SDGs.

House of cards collapses on rogue builders

House of cards collapses on rogue builders
© illustrez-vous – [[za.fotolia.com]]</span>A total of 122 criminal cases have been opened against home builders who have contravened the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act 95 of 1998 (HCPMA).
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Here are three ways that cities can adapt to changing climates

Many residents in cities in the global South have very poor and limited access to water. Sean Wilson

Cape Town’s “Day Zero” experience – the prospect of dam levels dropping dangerously low, taps running dry and water rations being distributed from public collection points – speaks powerfully to the urgency and complexity of climate change adaptation.

The recent arrival of the South African city’s winter rains mean that dam levels have begun rising again and it’s dodged the introduction of wholesale water rationing. For now.

But the drought which pushed Cape Town to the edge isn’t over yet. The threat of water rationing could still become a reality in 2019. And there will be other droughts, too, in Cape Town and beyond. Other cities that have experienced severe water scarcity include Melbourne in Australia, Los Angeles in the US, São Paulo in Brazil, Bolivia’s capital city La Paz and Maputo in Mozambique, to name but a few.

Cities in the global South are especially hard hit by droughts. This is because the resources and capabilities to expand and upgrade water infrastructures serving these cities remain scarce. Many residents in these cities have very poor and limited access to water in “normal” times. Things become even more dire in water scarce situations.

United Nations Public Service Forum

Public Service Forum 2018

The 2018 United Nations Public Service Forum will focus on the theme, 'Transforming governance to realize the Sustainable Development Goals'.

The Forum will also provide the opportunity to promote enhanced cooperation and partnerships. Its ultimate goal is to contribute to developing the capacity of governments to anticipate the various challenges posed by the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Thursday, 21 June, 2018 to Saturday, 23 June, 2018

5th Mayoral Forum on Mobility and Development

 5th Mayoral Forum on Mobility and Development

The Mayoral Forum on Human Mobility, Migration and Development (“Mayoral Forum”) is the annual City-led dialogue on migration and development, supported by local, regional and international partners.

For its 5th edition, the Mayoral forum will seek to articulate the GCM with LRA agendas and see what means of implementation are needed for a full and efficient involvement of LRAs in migration governance.

Sunday, 9 December, 2018

The Global Forum for Migration and Development (GFMD)

This meeting is an will an opportunitty to local leader to share their vision with national governments in a global stage conference.

Thursday, 6 December, 2018 to Friday, 7 December, 2018

Global Compact on Migration: What are the next steps for local and regional governments?

Global Compact on Migration

Few months ahead of its approval, where does the first negotiated intergovernmental agreement stand on covering all dimensions of international migration in a comprehensive manner?  How does it, integrate and respond to the needs and expectations of Local and Regional Governments in terms of migration governance and their role in this frame?

How does the GCM take into account local and regional governments?

Since the release of the first zero draft (in February 2018 and after nearly one year of informal meetings and hearings with stakeholders), 5 rounds of intergovernmental negotiations took place already, integrating modifications a few at the time.

UCLG brings local views to session on technology and sustainable development at United Nations

UCLG brings local views to session on technology and sustainable development at United Nations

Technology has transformed the world in fundamental ways, and has had an impact not only on the access to information, but also in how governments address transparency and accountability. These realities are creating a new political landscape for the future of cities, which will be analysed during the event.

Promoting transparency and open government with participatory policies is a priority for local and regional governments. With this vision in mind Juana López Pagan, Director of International Affairs of the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Regions and Coordinator of the Community of Practice on Transparency and Open Government, represented UCLG and highlighted how technology can foster good governance and citizen participation as mechanisms for the prevention and fight against corruption, and how it can contribute to achieve sustainable development.

Police strategy to reduce violent crime in South African could work. Here's how

South Africa's police commissioner, Khehla Sitole, and police minister, Bheki Cele, unveil a new plan to combat violent crimes. Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency

South Africa’s Police Minister Bheki Cele and National Commissioner Khehla Sitole recently announced a new “high density stabilisation intervention” to tackle crime. The strategy focuses on cash-in-transit heists, car hijackings, murder, house robberies, and gang and taxi violence.

It includes the deployment of desk-based police officials to the streets, particularly in “identified hotspots”, while dedicated detectives track and arrest suspects wanted for both organised and repeat violent crimes.

The strategy comes on the back of a multi-year rise in aggravated robbery, and a recent spike in robberies targeting cash-carrying armoured vans. It has already resulted in key arrests, and should thus be celebrated.

But, more than 90% of violent crimes recorded each year fall outside the categories named in the strategy.

To significantly reduce violence and harm in South Africa, the police should expand the strategy in three ways: (1) focus on murder hot spots, (2) tackle domestic violence effectively, and (3) implement targeted and evidence-based interventions.

Persecution of ethnic Amharas will harm Ethiopia’s reform agenda

Thousands of Amharas have been evicted and displaced from various ethnic regions in Ethiopia. Zaggole News

The political upheaval that Ethiopians have become accustomed to seems to be a thing of the past – for now. Many have praised the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took office in April 2018, for restoring calm to much of the country. Some have even dubbed his reform agenda a massive turn around for Ethiopia.

There has been progress on his watch. Ahmed has overseen the release of political prisoners, as was promised by former premier Hailemariam Desalegn. Most recently he lifted the state of emergency that was imposed after Desalegn unexpectedly resigned in February 2018 after five years in power.

Ahmed has also promised to privatise state owned enterprises, and declared his readiness to stabilise Ethiopia’s tumultuous relations with neighbour Eritrea.

More people in Africa need to be insured against natural disasters

People take shelter during the floods in Mozambique. Antonio Silva/EPA

Mozambique was the site of one of Africa’s most devastating natural disasters in recent times. In the year 2000 floods killed 700 people, displaced 60,000, and left more than 500,000 needing humanitarian assistance.

The disaster also inflicted economic damage totalling over US$273 million – that’s six times Mozambique’s GDP.

Unfortunately, neither the citizens nor the government had disaster insurance. This meant that the country had to seek donations and humanitarian aid to rebuild. At the time, Mozambique’s economy was already constrained by poverty and low levels of social development. So the aftermath of the floods was another blow to the economy.

Compare this to the 2010 earthquake that devastated Christchurch in New Zealand. There, over 81% of the losses were covered by disaster insurance. This ensured a quick recovery, and reduced the economic burden on both the government and the people.

Women's unpaid work must be included in GDP calculations: lessons from history

African women do a lot of unpaid work that isn't captured in GDP calculations. Rafal Cichawa/Shutterstock

It’s been nearly 80 years since British economists James Meade and Richard Stone devised a method of national income accounting that would become the global standard. Today, we call it a country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Their method was intended to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date picture of an entire national economy, by estimating the monetary value of all “economic” production that took place in a country in a given year. Like most economic statisticians of the day, Meade and Stone focused almost entirely on measuring the value of goods and services that were actually bought and sold.

But a problem quickly emerged, thanks to the experiences and observations of a 23-year-old woman named Phyllis Deane. She was hired by Meade and Stone in 1941 to apply their method in a few British colonies. In present-day Malawi and Zambia, Deane realised that it was an error to exclude unpaid household labour from GDP.

20 Reasons to Travel to Egypt this Summer

 Following the launch of Marriott International’s (www.Marriott.com) latest seasonal experiences campaign last month, Egypt presents yet again many reasons to travel as an incredible holiday destination that continues to maintain its position on the bucket list of every global traveler. Guests booking a hotel within the Marriott International portfolio in Egypt from now until September 30, 2018 will enjoy a mega 20% off, while Marriott International loyalty program members enjoy 30% off … one of the many reasons to “Wander More” and explore the magic and the mystery of this incredible land.

Egypt offers many incredible experiences that go beyond the Pyramids. From breathtaking sights of the river Nile to the magnificent and awe-inspiring monuments, from the beguiling desert to a lush delta, from beaches to a vibrant culture to a rich culinary heritage. Egypt is a country with a great wealth of history that has long been eulogized, fantasized and romanticized.

This summer, travelers will have many reasons to visit Egypt and benefit from Marriott International’s enticing offers to explore the land of hidden gems and make their stay truly special. We pick the 20 activities to look forward to while in Cairo this summer:

  1. Catch the excitement and soak in the vibe as the country comes together to cheer their national team at the world cup. An experience that a whole generation has been waiting for… and an experience that will enliven every street in the country.  

  1. After a day of sightseeing, sit back and enjoy the wonderful summer breeze at Cairo Marriott’s Garden Promenade Café set amidst palatial gardens…a magical blend of history, nature and authenticity.

How to print a building: the science behind 3D printing in construction

How to print a building: the science behind 3D printing in constructionIt's often claimed that 3D printing - known in the trade as "additive manufacturing" - will change the way we live. Most recently, a team from Eindhoven University of Technology announced plans to build the "world's first" habitable 3D printed houses. But it's one thing to build small, prototype homes in a park - it's quite another to successfully use additive manufacturing for large-scale projects in the construction sector.
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Eurasia Local Governments Congress will take place in the City of Cheboksary

Eurasia Local Governments Congress will brings together local and regional leaders of the Eurasian region with the main aim of the Congress is to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals among local authorities, to involve them in the implementation of the SDGs and to provide assistance.

This event will be a platform where local and regional leaders exchange their experience and best practices on the SDGs implementation.

Thursday, 4 October, 2018 to Sunday, 7 October, 2018

Eurasia Local Governments Congress will take place in the City of Cheboksary

Eurasia Local Governments Congress will take place in the City of Cheboksary

The high level meeting is organized by the Eurasian section of "United Cities and Local Governments" in conjunction with the Cheboksary administration and with the organizational support of the UCLG World Secretariat, UN-Habitat and the Association of Volga Region Cities.

During the plenary session “Towards Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals” participants will share their experience in implementing the SDGs in their cities and regions. In addition, delegations will present their successful urban projects at the special exhibition dedicated to the SDGs.

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, UN Under-Secretary-General, Executive Director of the UN-Habitat Program will take part in the event. It will be the first visit to Russia for a high-ranking guest.

"Eurasia Local Governments Congress is a platform where local and regional leaders exchange their experience and best practices on the SDGs implementation. We are honored that this year UN Under-Secretary-General will visit the Congress. It will raise the event to the new level and draw great attention to the problems of the SDGs implementation in Eurasia", said Rasikh Sagitov, Secretary-General of UCLG-Eurasia.

Zaha Hadid Architects completes Morpheus Hotel in Macau

Zaha Hadid Architects completes Morpheus Hotel in MacauZaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has completed the Morpheus Hotel in Macau, China. The 40-storey building features a geometric pattern that supports the lower levels of the structure, with a less densified pattern towards the upper levels.
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Why indigenous medicine could play a role in rebuilding health systems

Health systems rarely consider that patients switch between hospitals or primary health care centres and indigenous medicine for their health issues. Direct Relief/Tobin Greensweig

Conflicts do not spare health systems. From Afghanistan to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the effects that wars and state fragility have on health care provision are all too visible.

This is why revamping the systems that provide health care in post-conflict settings is a top priority for the international aid community and governments.

Such revamps are usually conceptualised using the World Health Organisation’s six building blocks. These centre on leadership and governance; health care financing; health workforce; medical products and technologies; information and research; and service delivery. The way in which the building blocks are applied, and what’s prioritised, tends to happen on a case by case basis.

But there’s often something missing from the process: an understanding of the different forms of indigenous health care or traditional medicine.