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16 October 2014

Climate partnerships multiply as ICLEI member, eThewkini leads on a regional climate compact and the Durban Adaptation Charter

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Long standing ICLEI member and leading city on sustainability, eThekwini (Durban), along with the ICLEI Africa Secretariat (as part of the Urban-LEDS project), MILE, and under the auspices of the Durban Adaptation Charter for Local Governments , conducted a learning exchange and study tour from 8 to 10 October, 2014 in Durban.

This also forms a part of the Central KwaZulu-Natal Climate Change Compact, an initiative under the Durban Adaptation Charter. Highly engaged participants from Durban and its neighbouring municipalities took part in extensive discussions on the importance of responding to climate change. City officials from Durban provided key insights into their journey towards responding to climate change, one that started with the first ever global programme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the CCP run by ICLEI (see prezzies and presentations for more information on their journey). Sarah Birch from the ICLEI Africa Secretariat also shared key lessons from across Africa, on mainstreaming climate change in smaller municipalities.

Key points that were emphasised were:

i) the importance of starting small & keeping it simple;

ii) that small municipalities can replicate some of the experiences shared by eThekwini Municipality; and

iii) exploring interventions that will address direct needs of the most impacted.

KwaDukuza municipality, one of the members of the Central KZN Climate Compact, member of ICLEI, and an Urban-LEDS project city, is also showcasing their leadership and working well with other municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal to curb and control climate challenges plaguing the province. The municipality is reaping the benefits of working with other agencies, dedicated to finding sustainable solutions in the delicate nature of the environment. KwaDukuza Municipality, being one of the seven South African Municipalities taking part in the Urban Low Emission Development Strategies (Urban-LEDS) Project, this small municipality has shown positive transition towards becoming a low-carbon city as it is the only municipality under ILembe District Municipality to have developed a Climate Change Response Strategy.

Participant Ashwin Panday, Assistant Director of Disaster Management at KwaDukuza Municipality (KZN) described climate change as a threat multiplier with the potential to produce new challenges in the future, as he commented: “Climate change adaptation or mitigation projects may be expensive but they have a long term benefit in reducing disaster risks in the future.” KwaDukuza Municipality in this occasion, voluntarily agreed to host the next learning Exchange Workshop that is expected to take place early in 2015.

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