FAO formally launches Green Cities Initiative in Cameroon

Yaoundé – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations today held an official launch here of its Green Cities Initiative, which is already being piloted in Cameroon, with seven municipalities submitting letters of intent to join the initiative.

In remarks at the launch event, FAO Director-General QU Dongyu noted that with two thirds of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2050 – urban areas are facing major challenges.

“Municipalities are at the frontline of citizens’ expectations to improve their livelihoods and well-being, from accessing nutritious foods, adequate water, energy, and housing”, Qu said

They must also address “multiple challenges such as the impacts of the climate crisis, environment degradation, waste management and urban inequality, among others,” he added.

Enthusiastic welcome

Georges Elanga Obam, Cameroon’s Minister of Decentralization and local development described the rapid growth of the country’s urban population and the associated challenges and said Cameroon could not but enthusiastically welcome FAO’s Green Cities Initiative.

The Youndé City Mayor, Luc Messi Atangana, also expressed his appreciation for the initiative.

In Cameroon, the number of city dwellers has increased by 50 percent between 2010 and 2020, with more than 15 million urban residents now, half of them living in Yaoundé and Douala. Since March 2023, a pilot Green Cities Initiative project has been underway in the capital’s Yaoundé 4 district. Its implementation, focusing on a micro-project for training of waste collectors who visit households and collect waste for composting, the process of composting itself and promotion of urban agriculture, has attracted interest from other municipalities in Yaoundé and elsewhere.

At today’s meeting, seven more municipalities formally handed over letters of intent to Qu to join the initiative. The Director-General expressed FAO’s eagerness to support them with innovative actions on the ground with impact to be upscaled and expanded. 

Qu told the municipalities’ mayors he was confident that in partnership with FAO they could make their cities “greener, healthier, and more sustainable through among others expanding urban forestry and agriculture and creation of green jobs for the younger generation.”

Vibrant inclusive cities

FAO’s flagship Green Cities Initiative was launched globally in 2020. It envisions vibrant and inclusive cities where urban green and productive spaces catalyze climate resilience, social cohesion, and economic prosperity. It also aims at bridging the gap between urban and rural areas and between citizens and nature. The FAO GCI supports cities to develop through the availability and access to goods and services provided by urban and peri-urban forestry, agriculture as well as through the circular bioeconomy.

Building on FAO’s expertise on sustainable urban and peri urban agriculture and forestry, and urban food systems, the Green Cities Initiative supports local governments to plan, design and implement innovative green actions bringing together efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems, multifunctional green infrastructure, and natural resources management.

The Green Cities Initiative seeks to improve the livelihoods and well-being of urban and peri-urban populations in at least 100 cities (15 metropolitan, 40 intermediate and 45 small cities) around the world and aims to have 1000 cities join by 2030.

You can find out more about FAO’s Green Cities Initiative here.

Source : Fao