Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee has been speaking in Rimini, Italy as representative of the Convenant of Mayors of South Sahara Africa (COM SSA) at a panel discussion on Sustainable Energy and Climate Change.
This year’s conference, which is been organized by the Directorate General of International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission, focuses on “Sustainable Energy and Climate Change ” and the role of capital cities in addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with emphasis on Goal Seven (Affordable and Clean Energy) and Goal Thirteen (Climate Action).
Mayor Koijee was selected to represent the 119 signatories capital under the Convenant of Mayors of South Sahara Africa after his splendid deliberation early this year at the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) roundtable conference held in Accra, Ghana from March 7-9.
He highlighted that in order to realize a universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services in Africa, ”we must envision first to expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and land-locked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programmes of support.
“African capital cities must begin to improve their infrastructures, open doors for investors, rally citizens participation in response to investors who are investing in energy, add value to our waste; making it a resource instead of garbage,” Koijee said.
He added: “We can have an affordable and reliable energy by 2030 when we put our minds to work, focus on innovation and providing the enabling space for investment around Africa.”
Climate change around the globe, he noted, has become a topical issue that need to be addressed.
The young mayor noted that the situation about climate change in Africa and around the world is causing serious threat to the survivability of our aquatic species, human lives and endangering our environments, making it unsafe for living.
He stressed that there is a need for a collective approach in addressing the situation, calling on the European Union, African Union, UN, World Bank and other international organisations to invest in helping poor African capital cities to address this global challenge.
Mayor Koijee lauded the European Union for funding the Convenant of Mayors in Sub-Sahara Africa (COM SSA) and cautioned the European Union that there is more needed to be done financially, logistically, technically to help South Saharan cities and municipalities in tackling climate change.
Mayor Koijee also highlighted three important issues that his city, Monrovia, is currently faced with.
The issues include floods, waste management and the over population of the capital.
He lamented that as a city situated near the Atlantic Ocean; it’s currently devastating for residents of the city during this time of the year where we observe on a daily basis heavy down pour of rain.
“Many residents of my city are made homeless due to the flood situation and prior to my arrival here few days ago, the situation was becoming more worsening than previous years simply due to the climate change situation,” he said.
“I will like to appeal to the European Union and other international organizations to intervene in arresting this unfortunate situation about flooding in our capital,” Mayor Koijee lamented.
The Convenant of Mayors in Sub-Sahara Africa (COM SSA), which was launched at the COP21 in Paris, seeks to increase access to sustainable energy and to implement local actions to combat climate change and its impacts on urban and peri-urban population (especially the most vulnerable).
The Convenant of Mayors in Sub-Sahara Africa, which is the regional chapter of the Global Convenant of Mayors, comprises of 119 signatory cities and municipalities in 34 countries, and is organized to strengthen the capacities of cities to develop and use urban planning and implementing tools in local actions to energy access and combat climate change, as well as adapt to its impacts.
Currently 13 cities received direct funding (Grants awarded through the EU delegations in the country) with Liberia been one of the beneficiaries.