Improved Municipal Planning in African CiTies − IMPACT − for a climate resilient urban future


The IMPACT project is a three year research collaboration implemented in Zimbabwe and Malawi. The project will investigate how enhanced collaboration mechanisms in municipal planning in African cities can enable climate resilient development.

These mechanisms, called IMPACT Mechanisms, are processes and/or interventions that enable collaboration between diverse stakeholders to influence decision-making for how cities are planned and development is implemented. Examples of IMPACT mechanisms include, amongst others, multi-sectoral forums, conferences, community-led mapping, ward committees and think tanks.





Meeting the challenge

Governance underpins both the greatest challenges African cities face, as well as the potential solutions. Climate change is increasingly being acknowledge as a great concern for sub-Saharan Africa, where the effects accompanying it overlay with existing challenges of rapid urbanisation, poverty, inequality, lack of access and slow economic growth. As a result, local government officials are increasingly required to deal with ever increasing complexity and uncertainty in decision making.

Through IMPACT, ICLEI and partners are exploring opportunities to integrate innovative collaboration mechanisms that may prove successful in the implementation of each of the countries Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), which will lead to climate resilient development. We will also build on our understanding of what enables collaboration mechanisms for climate resilient development, such as environments that allow for learning-by-doing and accumulation of knowledge that can be harnessed, local government officials who are engaged and passionate about building climate resilience, and cities where strong multi-sectoral partnerships exist.

Building climate resilience, is a multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary task, no one sector or discipline holds all the solutions. Through IMPACT, ‘collaborative governance’ is enabled, which favours inter-organisational collaborations that increase the depth and breadth of knowledge and expertise that can be drawn on when tackling complex issues.

What we aim to do:

  • Understand the context of each of the project cities and how climate resilient development is tackled in each of them.
  • Develop locally relevant criteria for the assessment of the effectiveness of collaboration mechanisms that enable Improved Municipal Planning in African CiTies (IMPACT) for climate resilient development.
  • Identify and assess barriers and enablers of these collaboration mechanisms in the project cities.
  • Assess in what ways tailor-made collaboration mechanisms can be successful in enabling improved planning for climate resilient development.
  • Build the capacity of stakeholders engaged in the project to implement contextually relevant collaboration mechanisms that contribute to improved planning and climate resilient development.
  • Develop support tools for the implementation of these collaboration mechanisms, to support more inclusive governance processes that contribute to climate resilient development in African cities.


Where we are engaging  

The IMPACT project will be implemented in two cities in Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Malawi and Zimbabwe are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and both have a policy environment that is supportive of and aspires towards climate resilient development and collaborative governance. This project will support the ongoing climate action in these two countries.

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