Urbanisation has been at the centre of discussions during the first day of the BRICS sectorial meeting held in East London in the Eastern Cape. The sectorial meetings are held under the theme: Building sustainable and inclusive cities through innovation and partnerships.

Delegates from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa assembled at the East London ICC to discuss building friendship among BRICS cities and discussing disaster management.

The meeting is aimed at tackling challenges facing the BRICS countries due to urbanisation. Poor infrastructure, human settlements, water and sanitation are some of the main challenges that Brics member countries face as it moves to urbanisation.

This is as half of the world population is counted to be around urban areas. Deputy Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Andries Nel says the meetings will help each country navigate its way through challenges brought about by urbanisation.

“Our cities must be engines of growth that stimulate our economy, that create jobs that help us to deal with poverty, unemployment and inequality. At the same time we know that our urban development and rural development are flip sides of the same coin. We’ve got to strengthen the linkages between our urban areas and our rural areas. But we also know that our world and South Africa in particular is confronted with serious challenges of climate change and drought so we want our cities and our towns to be designed and function in a ways that are environmentally friendly and sustainable.”

Brazil representative, Allesandra D’avilla Viera says urbanisation brings a lot of challenges which they hope will be addressed in the meeting.

“Our challenges are on housing and sanitation challenges and how to improve the infrastructure and how to build the necessary finance and capacity building.”

Roman Ambarov of Russia says; “Well I guess the best way is to solve them all together because these are our problems as these five countries. We could and should share our expertise to solve our problems.”

Indian representative, Khushwant Singh Sethi have emphasised good governance and creation of industries to tackle challenges faced by these countries.

“Good governance can be ensured by ensuring that all your processes are transparent and with good participation and cooperation from all stakeholders and also you ensure that the infrastructure that’s created resources is optimised.”

Chinese representative, Lin Yi says, “I think that one of the good methods is to develop industries so only by industries that people can improve their living standards and only through the industry the local government can generate more resources to relocate people or build urban areas.”

The meeting which concludes on Sunday will also look at solutions for sustainable human settlements among the BRICS countries.

Click below for more on the story: