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Fostering Urban Resilience through Preparedness Activities: Lessons from Southern Africa

Towards a better understanding of how Disaster Risk Management, Social Protection, and Local Authorities can work together to prepare for and respond to shocks in urban areas of the Region.

Arianna Francioni



Monday, June 27, 2022


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Multifunction Hall Room 4
United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)
Equitable urban futures
NE 4


In the New Urban Agenda (NUA), leaders from around the world recognize the crucial role of cities in enhancing food security and nutrition systems and have committed to enhance social protection safety nets for informal and migrant workers, such as the urban poor.

COVID-19 has drawn attention to the vulnerabilities and the limited support that is currently delivered to urban residents by the emerging social protection systems in Southern Africa.

The Southern African region is highly exposed to the effects of extreme climate events, which, combined with pre-existing stressors, such as high levels of poverty, unemployment, and absence of strong local governance results in high vulnerability levels, that have been furtherly compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This event will promote exchange and better understanding of how Disaster Risk Management, Social Protection and Urban Authorities could work together to prepare for and respond to different kinds of shocks in urban areas of the Region.

The 1.5-hour event will be structured around:

  1. Introduction and setting the scene by Moderator ( WFP - 5 min)
  2. Key-Note Address by the President of the Session (AU - 10 min)
  3. Presentations by Delegates (WFP / UN-Habitat / Govt. of Zimbabwe / Govt. of Lesotho - 20 min)
  4. Panel discussion and Q&A (50 min)
  5. Closing Reflections (5 min)

The event will be introduced by a keynote address delivered by the African Union (AU) on the relevance of Local Governments in providing solutions to build long-lasting urban resilience.

WFP will set the scene by introducing the project “Fostering Resilience through Preparedness Activities in Urban Areas of Southern Africa”.

The following panel discussion and a Q&A, chaired by WFP, will be focused on sharing examples and challenges related to data and collaborative evidence-building (the WHAT), the role of local authorities and other non-state actors (the WHO), and the coordinated multi-sectoral approaches to urban management needed to prepare for, respond to, and build back better from shocks in urban contexts (the HOW).


The networking event contributes to the WUF11 objective of suggesting how cities can be better prepared to address a wide range of shocks. The overall aim of the event is to raise awareness and promote dialogue on how various urban contexts could implement preparedness and response to shocks could be implemented. The event’s goal is to find out how better disaster risk management coordination and social protection systems can respond to shocks and provide emergency assistance in urban areas.

The event will focus on the WHAT, WHO, and HOW of addressing urban preparedness for shocks. To achieve this goal, below are some of the critical areas of the event: 

  1. Highlight opportunities and challenges for collaborative evidence-building that effectively captures the realities of vulnerabilities and essential needs of urban dwellers (the WHAT) and ensure this evidence leads to better and innovative solutions 
  2. Highlight the role of local authorities, municipalities, and other influential state and non-state actors in managing and responding to urban shocks (the WHO)
  3. Enhance knowledge on capitalising on the humanitarian and development nexus; adaptive urban planning and risk management approaches; shock-responsive social protection systems; and innovative solutions to promote livelihood and asset creation (the HOW).

Session speakers

Ms. Isis Nunez Ferrera
Head of Urban Programming
WFP Headquarters
Mr. Issaka Abdou Garba
Coordinator, Secretariat of African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Public Service, Local Government, Urban Development and Decentralization (AUC)
African Union
Ms Arianna Francioni
Regional Urban Preparedness Project Coordinator
World Food Programme
Mr. Setlaba Phalatsi
National Information System for Social Assistance Manager
Ministry of Social Development Lesotho
Ms. Fruzsina Straus
Urban Resilience and DRR Regional Focal Point
Mr. Tafadzwa Muguti
Permanent Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Harare Metropolitan Province
Office of the President and Cabinet