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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Enhancing urban resilience


Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Enhancing urban resilience

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Enhancing urban resilience
Photo credit: Simon Davis | DFID

The World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) conducted a CityStrength Diagnostic in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in February 2015 at the request of the city.

A team of specialists from the World Bank Group worked with local officials, technical staff, and stakeholders to identify priorities for investment and appropriate areas for action to help build resilience in Addis Ababa.

The city currently faces potential shocks and stresses related to its unprecedented rapid urbanization including urban flooding, fire, earthquakes, water scarcity, unemployment and social vulnerability.

The Diagnostic found that enhancing resilience in Addis Ababa requires actions and investments oriented toward implementing existing plans and regulations, establishing clear and capacitated leadership on risk management topics, and investing in infrastructure that meets existing and future needs.

The following actions and investments could have a transformational impact on the resilience of the city as a collection of initiatives implemented by Addis Ababa with more effectively coordinated support from development partners.

Priority actions include:

  • Addressing unprecedented urban growth by quickly focusing on the implementation of the new Integrated Development Plan for the city

  • Establishing a disaster risk management and climate change adaptation coordination unit under the Mayor to strengthen, promote, and mainstream risk management initiatives across municipal agencies

  • Addressing localized flooding due to surface water run-off by developing a stormwater drainage master plan and supporting the Addis Ababa City Roads Authority (AACRA) in assuming its new mandate to manage drainage in the city

  • Performing an extensive study of the most vulnerable groups with special attention to existing social service programs and access to housing and inform a possible integrated strategy to address the needs of the different vulnerable groups

  • Strengthening citizen engagement efforts using disaster risk management and climate change adaptation as a point of entry

Priority investments include:

  • Addressing water scarcity by focusing on improved efficiency and protection of the existing supply system and exploration of additional water sources

  • Piloting urban densification using a transit oriented development and integrated municipal management approach

  • Better managing river catchments and related network of secondary drainage, stabilizing eroding river banks and preventing encroachment in flood-prone areas

  • Upgrading drainage on the ring road, expanding stormwater drainage systems in low-lying areas of the city, and installing water retention ponds

  • Upgrading and expanding existing electricity substations

  • Introducing an effectively targeted, productive safety net to support vulnerable groups and households impacted by shocks

There is a strong commitment from the Addis Ababa City Government to strengthen the resilience of the city. The Government of Ethiopia and the City of Addis Ababa have requested support from the World Bank and other development partners in preparing and implementing two major activities related to building resilience: a $300 million project on urban land use and transport, and a $550 million project on urban safety nets. In addition, a national-level urban-wide risk assessment is planned to better address at-risk communities, buildings and infrastructure, and promote planning and investments that contribute to resilience-building in the future.

Speaking at the recent Understanding Risk Conference in November 2015 in Ethiopia, the Mayor of Addis Ababa Deriba Kuma said that “Addis is growing fast and we have to focus on resilience to mitigate and quickly recover from the risks and disasters that threaten it, and in doing so, ensure the revitalization of the city’s development process.”

He added that “the city agrees with the recommendations made by the World Bank experts and we will search for finance in the future to implement those very important actions and investments”.

» Download: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Enhancing urban resilience (PDF, 7.44 MB)


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