||Dr. Doliwura Zakaria takes centre stage at COP28, advocates indigenous leadership in urban planning||

The Assistant Controller & Accountant General at the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs in Ghana, Dr. Doliwura Zakaria, served as a distinguished panel member at the 28th session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28 at UAE.

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Dr. Zakaria, who is also the Chairman of the AU’s Interfaith Dialogue Forum 2023, shared his thoughts on his first panel at #COP28, focusing on the theme “Urban Wisdom: Indigenous Knowledge and Governance of Future Cities”

The panel featured Dr. Rajwant Singh from the Sikh Organisation, Umesh Balal Magar representing Nepal, and Dr. Zakaria himself from Ghana.

The discussion delved into the challenges faced by indigenous communities residing in cities, scrutinizing disparities in urban life and contemplating the integration of Indigenous life with modern cities.

Pressing issues

With a growing number of indigenous people calling cities home, the panel shed light on pressing issues such as underrepresentation, limited consultation in urban planning processes, impoverishment, erosion of ancestral knowledge, and historical land acquisition.

These challenges underscore the need for meaningful attention to address the unique struggles faced by indigenous communities in urban settings.

 Additionally, a significant step toward inclusivity saw the selection of a youth representative from Mauritius and a women’s representative from Rwanda, expanding the Committee’s breadth of perspectives.

At the heart of the panel’s discourse was the concept of genuine acknowledgment in urban design and planning.

Dr. Zakaria emphasised that indigenous communities, possessing profound insights into healthy housing principles, harmonious coexistence with nature, and a commitment to preserving biodiversity, should not merely be stakeholders but leaders in urban planning.

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Leadership role

This leadership role is seen as a means to infuse environmental consciousness into urban development processes.

The COP28 summit is due to end on Tuesday December 12, 2023.

As COP28 progresses, the insights shared in this panel pave the way for a broader conversation on the role of indigenous knowledge in shaping sustainable and inclusive future cities.