“Climate challenges”, biggest threats to cities, according to mayors

“Climate challenges” biggest threats to cities, say mayors


“Climate challenges” pose the biggest threats to cities, French-speaking mayors and elected officials said Thursday in Abidjan, calling for mutual collaboration. 

“We are all confronted with phenomena of the same nature” and “the major challenges are the climatic challenges”, declared Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, at the opening of the 42nd General Assembly of the International Association of mayors (AIMF), of which she chairs.

Ms. Hildago also announced in front of some 500 participants from 40 countries, the opening on Friday of “the COP of cities” in the Ivorian economic capital.

The COP (conference of the parties) refers to the annual meeting of States to set global climate goals. The next COP, called COP27, is scheduled for Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt in November.

“The COP of cities is a moment during which important players will come together to roll back climate change”, she said, alongside the governor of the district of Abidjan and secretary general of the AIMF, Robert Beugré Mambé.

“Cities are at the heart of the response to the climate challenge. They must be recognized and supported to match the major role they play,” said Mr. Mambé, whose town is regularly confronted with deadly floods.

At least a dozen people have died in floods in Abidjan caused by rains during the month of June.

The scenario of torrential rains, followed by devastating floods or landslides, is repeated every year in the largest Ivorian city.

Constructions in flood-prone areas, often inhabited by poor populations, are legion in this West African metropolis of nearly six million inhabitants, which is constantly growing.

In June 2018, 18 people died there in Abidjan after torrential rains. In June 2020, thirteen others had perished in a landslide.