By Gabriel Olawale
Concerned by the negative impact of climate change, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, experts have called on the Lagos State government to partner with communities in order to build a resilient and sustainable city in the face of global warming challenges.
According to experts comprising economists, environmentalists and season administrators, building sustainability and resilience of communities is a task that must be undertaken by everyone as provision of basic resources and resilience against environmental threats must be prioritized for different groups of urban inhabitants especially women and youths. This, they said, is a crucial and potent force for addressing sustainable growth, urban development and prosperity in any city.
They spoke at the 1st Annual sustainable cities dialogue in commemoration of the coronation of Oba Abdulwasiu Omogbolahan Lawal (Abisogun II) as the 15th Oniru of Iru-Land, calling on the state government to collaborate with the Kingdom of Iruland and other communities to develop a sustainable city.
Speaking on the theme of the virtual conference entitled: “Building sustainable and resilient communities in the new normal” , the Executive Director of LSE Cities and Associate Professorial Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Dr. Philipp Rode, said that Lagos’ population could also serve as potential if the state could harness the opportunities offered by the growing population. He said there was a need for cities to adopt 21st century green city models, which are compact, connected and clean.
Speaking on the means to attaining a sustainable city, the Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello described the conference’s theme as apt and coming at a no better time than the time the whole world is experiencing the impact of climate change and slowly recovering from the global pandemic Covid-19. He said there was a need for Oniru kingdom to engage the service of researchers with a view to discovering hidden potentials of the kingdom.
On her part, Chief Executive Officer, Contact Consulting, Mrs. Foluso Olaniyan, said that a quick win that will fast track the development of Iruland is for the Kingdom to set up Iru Infrastructure Development Funds among firms and other stakeholders in Iruland to ensure the provision and protection of infrastructure for within their location. According to her, Iru kingdom can build a smart city through information and technological development, adding the urban planning of the kingdom can be backed by the technology while the ICT could be used to drive development in kingdom.
On the means to upgrade slum communities, Erelu Kuti IV of Lagos, (Dr) Abiola Dosumu canvassed the need for the state government to work with traditional institutions and local communities to improve the living conditions of the people. She added Iru kingdom could also explore water transportation potentials within and outside the kingdom.
Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Princess Adejoke Adefulire said with the bold steps taken by Oba Lawal, the Iru Kingdom is on the right track as far as resilient city projects are concerned. She added that the only way to achieve sustainable development goals is through collaborations with relevant partners and authorities.
Other participants at the virtual dialogue on sustainable cities included: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Oniru of Iruland, Oba AbduWasiu Gbolahan Lawal;President of Dangote Group; Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Associate Professor of Urban Planning, University of Lagos, Dr. Taibat Lawanson; Chairman, ChapelHill Denham Group, Mr. Olawale Edun; Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Princess Adejoke Orelope Adefulire among others.