African city tackles climate change
Porto Novo, the coastal capital in the West African country of Benin has been fingered as one African city that could potentially deal with climate change in original ways. Tackling climate change is a priority in developing countries, especially for African countries which are expected to be hit by the impacts of climate change harder. However, there is a serious lack of funding in areas concerning climate change, and it is often overlooked by governments.
Mentioned alongside Rouen in France and Da Nang in Vietnam, Porto Novo is a city working to integrate climate change into urbanization and development plans. All three cities are prone to flooding and are using urban development to combat these issues. While Da Nang has plans to widen flood plains and allow more space for lakes, Porto Novo has the Green City initiative.
Porto Novo has a growing population but not enough infrastructure to back this growth. Majority of the city’s population lives in poorly structured settlements that face the brunt of damage when it floods. Despite Porto Novo’s large geographical space, only a small part of it is developed, leaving a chance for future urbanization to be climate friendly. The Green City initiative started in 2014 and suggests sustainable development principles that employ simple techniques. Three development plans are suggested for Porto Novo, including a promenade between land and water to protect wetlands and recycling plastic waste. Should this be implemented fully, Porto Novo could be a leading example to the development of other green cities.
Another way Porto Novo has stepped towards being climate conscious is the introduction of a locally produced solar powered cooker, Mivo. Invented by Romuald Djivoessoun, who developed a prototype over a decade ago after seeing blacksmiths burning coconut shells in the forge to melt iron. The Mivo is marketed through Djivoessoun’s charity Autre Vie. It runs on coconut husks instead of the widely-used charcoal or wood, thus preventing deforestation.
How else can African cities develop climate change adaptation? Share your thoughts in a comment below or on Twitter @rafeeeeta