UN official hails mayor

Johannesburg Mayor, Parks Tau, along with Global Environment Fund (GEF) chief executive officer Naoko Ishii.


Those were the words of Global Environment Fund (GEF) chief executive officer Naoko Ishii, who is also Japan’s former deputy vice minister of finance. Ishii alongside Johannesburg Mayor, Parks Tau, officially announced a multi-million rand investment into the City’s spatial redesign programme – the Corridors of Freedom – by the GEF, which is a financial mechanism for both the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. GEF pledged more than R120-million into the advancement of the Corridors of Freedom.

She also said, “I am here to help the mayor with his ambitious wonderful vision towards Joburg 2040 Growth and Development Strategy, it’s a tangible plan from the mayor we want to support him in realising his vision.”

Meanwhile Tau described the investment as a partnership and a vote of confidence in the City’s programme that is set to contribute towards greenhouse gas emission reductions in Johannesburg through an integrated urban planning approach using several pilot projects. The Johannesburg and GEF partnership will also result in a pilot process being launched in the City whereby aggregated data on resource efficiency will be used to make informed decisions on the metropolitan municipality’s infrastructure investments.

The GEF investment partnership comes after the Corridors of Freedom, which is a programme designed to reverse apartheid spatial injustices to create equal and sustainable access to opportunities for all the people of Johannesburg, begins to take shape.

The expanding Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit system, the award-winning Fleurhof development in the south west of Johannesburg, and the launch of a new green fleet of Metrobuses are just some of the programme’s flagship examples. Tau said, “These pilot projects include ensuring sustainability, integration, and accessibility in the development and implementation of the City’s physical plans, among others. The partnership projects will also see to the improvement of urban food security in the City by increasing the efficiency of food flows and improve peri-urban agriculture techniques.”

He added that the City has through the Joburg Growth and Development Strategy 2040 (GDS2040) committed to provide a resilient, livable, sustainable urban environment – underpinned by infrastructure that is supportive of a low-carbon economy. “This is exactly what the Corridors of Freedom seeks to achieve,” Tau said.

Aphiwe Boyce
Metro Reporter

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