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Russia, Africa hold forum for sustainable urban future

By Margaret Kalekye

Russia and Africa continued to hold productive discussions to further strengthen cooperation in various fields.

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This week, the UN Association of Russia and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations held a forum for a sustainable urban future in Ethiopia and Kenya.

The two-day hybrid meeting held on June 27-28 themed, “Russia-Africa Sustainable Urban Future: Exchange of Experience and Partnerships for Common Goals”.

The forum which is part of events in the lead-up to the Russia-Africa Summit slated for July in Russia, accumulated mutual experience and discussions of urban and regional sustainable development.

Russian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Evgeny Terekhin, underscored the importance of the meeting saying ‘it is a step for expanding the cooperation and exchange of experience in the field of sustainable urban planning, which is explained by the continuous growth of the world’s population and the influx of people from rural areas to cities’.

The event was moderated by Mr. Alexey Borisov, Secretary General of the UNA-Russia, Vice-President of the WFUNA, and Head of UNESCO Chair at MGIMO-University MFA Russia.

He said the meeting was important to promote Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). and raising the social development of Russian regions and African countries.

Best urban development practices

The Forum was attended by representatives of UN agencies, the Pan-African Youth Union, other youth communities, Russian and African businesses.

Presentations and discussions of the first day were devoted to the development of urban communities and cooperation between regions and cities in Russia and Africa.

The experts shared the best urban development practices that were related to the UN SDGs.

Russia also shared success stories ranging from special economic zones in Moscow (Technopolis Moscow) to the digitization of over 400 public services that are being utilized by over 15 million people living in the capital.

Vladimir Lenev, Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Nairobi, Kenya, pledged Russia’s commitment to supporting UN Human Settlements Programme.

“Russia traditionally supports the key role of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) within the UN system, whose mandate is aimed at strengthening the national potential of the UN Member States and international cooperation in urban development,” he said.

Discussions centered on modern technologies and green financing in the context of urbanization, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic impact and climate change.

Other areas include trade, economic and humanitarian cooperation, and the prospects for strengthening partnership between Russia and Africa in the environmental, social, scientific, technical, and cultural fields.

“Cooperation between Moscow and African countries is receiving a new impulse for development. In particular, as the world is directing towards sustainable development, Moscow is open and ready for joint action in this area with our African friends and colleagues», said Tatyana Naumova, Head of Official Events and Protocol Division of the Department for External Economic and International Relations of Moscow.

The Forum was held on the eve of the II Russia-Africa Summit and Economic and Humanitarian Forum, scheduled for July 27 — 28 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Summit is the highest-profile and largest-scale event in Russian–African relations, aimed at bringing about a fundamentally new level of mutually beneficial partnership to meet the challenges of the XXI century.

The sustainable development topic will take a special place in the discussions of the sections -The New Global Economy and Cooperation in Science and Technology.

The results of the Forum will be presented at the II Russia – Africa Summit (in St. Petersburg), at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF, in New York) and at the SDG Summit 2023 (in New York).

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