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Bob Scholes, eminent Scientist at the CSIR, outlines the impacts of a changing climate.

ICLEI Africa delivers low-carbon training workshop with Steve Tshwete Municipality

Includes peer-to-peer exchange with the newly crowned greenest metro in South Africa: Ekurhuleni Municipality.

“Everyone in the municipality has a role to play, and there is a lot of work to be done”. This was one of the key conclusions from a recent municipal training event organised by ICLEI Africa as part of the Urban-LEDS project in Steve Tshwete Local Municipality (STLM), Middelburg, South Africa from 22-23 July 2013.

The need for a two day training workshop was identified by the Municipality and ICLEI Africa as necessary to increase understanding and awareness of the issue of climate change, urban energy and the opportunities and challenges thereof at the municipal level.

The training, entitled “A low carbon future for Steve Tshwete” was attended by staff and councillors from across the Municipality who were challenged with the question of how they can effectively deliver services into the future while adopting pro-active and low-carbon planning approaches.

Once more, the importance of political support was highlighted through the attendance of Executive Mayor Masina, who re-emphasised the need to integrate climate change into the IDP, and ensure community participation, especially through the schools network.

Expert input to the training was provided by a number of eminent speakers. Bob Scholes, a convening lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and fellow at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR, Pretoria), highlighted the shocking scientific reality of climate change.

Modern day climate change is occurring 10 times faster than in historical records, and South Africa will experience temperature increases twice the global average. He highlighted that existing local planning laws, technologies & specifications are no longer fit for purpose in this rapidly changing world. Melusile Ndlovu of Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA) gave expert input on South Africa’s energy system and the role of local municipalities in enabling low-carbon urban development.

A significant component of the Urban-LEDS project is peer-to-peer learning and exchange. Jerome Bob from Polokwane Municipality shared experiences of implementing energy efficiency measures in municipal buildings and street lighting.

In this spirit, the second day of the training was generously hosted by Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM) at their newly constructed flagship green building, the OR Tambo Narrative Centre in Wattville, Benoni. EMM, a long standing member of ICLEI Africa and a city partner in the ICLEI Local Renewables project, entitled: Local Renewables: South –south cooperation between cities in India, Indonesia and South Africa, was recently awarded the greenest metropolitan in South Africa at the 2013 Greenest Municipality Competition Awards.

Given the setting, the focus was on the opportunity of implementing green buildings. Thulani Kuzwayo, Technical Coordinator from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) provided an informative presentation on the dimensions of green buildings, technologies and rating tools.

Reggie Mabogoane and Jaco Burger from EMM shared some of the measures that were implemented during the construction of the OR Tambo Narrative Precinct, including using building material from natural resources, optimally using solar energy through photovoltaic technology and recycling and reusing production of waste material.

The two-day training was warmly received by STLM participants, with discussions focusing on the kind of role the Municipality should or could be playing, and the important issue of finding appropriate funding to realise ambitions. The training allows ICLEI Africa and STLM to move forward together implementing the various activities of ICLEI’s GreenClimateCities methodology. Results of the first assessment and baselining phase, including an urban energy profile, staff awareness analysis and a registry of past and current local relevant actions, will be presented in September 2013. The initial agreement to set-up a cross-sectoral and formal climate change committee in the coming months will enable STLM to take important decisions to integrate low emission development into daily service delivery and long term sustainable urban planning.  

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