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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.



The degree to which people are affected by climate change impacts are often a function of their social status, gender, poverty and power. For communities to thrive, as highlighted by SDG 5, a focus on gender equality and women empowerment has to be enhanced. IMPACT strives to achieve greater gender parity through the inclusion of women in collaborative learning processes. That is done by giving women a platform to speak and thus improve their capacity to actively participate in building their own climate resilient cities.



Meeting the challenge

Governance underpins both the greatest challenges African city regions face as well as the potential solutions!

Collaborative governance can improve municipal planning and, in turn, increase the resilience of cities to the effects of climate change and numerous social challenges. Sub-Saharan Africa’s most pressing challenges include, amongst others, service provision, skills development and sustainable governance systems. Climate change overlays these existing challenges, leading to local government officials being required to deal with ever-increasing complexity and uncertainty in decision-making. Governments cannot deal with these challenges or harness the solutions alone and therefore must find innovative ways to engage with research, community and private sector institutions.

As evidenced in ICLEI Africa’s work, local governments can benefit from improved collaboration mechanisms to effectively harness these relationships for inclusive governance and decision-making that builds local climate resilience. Where collaboration mechanisms have been adopted to some extent, they rarely achieve maximum effectiveness due to a variety of complex barriers. This research will identify these barriers and how they can be overcome.

The project seeks to answer the following research question:

How can African cities implement collaboration mechanisms that enable Improved Municipal Planning in African CiTies (IMPACT) for climate resilient development?

  • What collaboration mechanisms exist already and what impact have these mechanisms had?
  • What are the barriers and enablers to the implementation and maintenance of these mechanisms?
  • In what ways and under what conditions will these mechanisms enable improved planning for climate resilient development?


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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