UN Resident Coordinator, Medhin Tsehaiu, (pictured) has urged the private sector to invest in seeking innovative solutions to the various challenges the region is grappling with as prescribed in the sustainable development goals (SDG’s).
Speaking when she received a Civil Engineering innovative solution from Tomorrow Investments Limited, on behalf of the Disaster Management & Mitigation Unit (DMMU), aimed at averting the washing away of roads and bridges in the rainy season, Ms. Tsehaiu said it was no longer feasible to expect governments to provide all the solutions to the numerous challenges the people in the region were experiencing.
Watch the video [2:21] below to hear her speak and get an overview of the event.
“I am very happy and feel encouraged that a private company has identified a challenge and proposed a solution which is what we are encouraging in line with the sustainable development goals,” she said.
Ms. Tsehaiu also emphasised the need for routine maintenance of infrastructure such as bridges and roads if disasters were to be prevented locally and beyond.
“We need early warning systems that will help us avert or indeed mitigate the disasters we have seen locally and in neighboring countries, the U.N remains committed to supporting such initiatives in line with the SDG’s whose prime focus is service to vulnerable communities,” she said.
And speaking when he handed over the proposal which is titled: “Mechanically stabilised Wall with geosynthetic reinforcement and gabion facing: An effective solution to mitigating the effects of flash floods on bridge crossings” Tomorrow Investments Ltd Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Chanda Katotobwe, said his firm responded to the challenge for Engineers to lead the way in developing sustainable, home grown engineering solutions to mitigate the infrastructure challenges the country was faced with.
Mr. Katotobwe said his firm did not entirely agree that flash floods were the main cause of roads and bridges being cut off and washed away respectively, emphasising that engineering solutions could be found to address this repeated challenge.
“The focus by the Climate Change Secretariat is that by 2044 there will be major changes in the climate throughout Southern Africa leading to severe droughts, earthquakes, floods and cyclones. There is need for our engineers to prescribe designs that take into account this projected seismic activity, a solution space should be created and encouraged to thrive,” said Mr. Katotobwe.
Engineering Institute of Zambia Vice President for Policy, Public Relations & National Development, Eugene Hanzele, commended Tomorrow Investments Limited for identifying the challenge and focusing on prescribing an appropriate solution as opposed to finger pointing.
Hanzele encouraged the local Contractor to push their proposed solution further in the technical arena so that it could be incorporated in the established regional Engineering design standards for bridges and other structures.