EThekwini Municipality releases draft Durban Climate Change Strategy for comment

Submitted by: Amanda Botes, Friday, May 30, 2014

The eThekwini Municipality has released a draft Durban Climate Change Strategy for comment by the public. The strategy is an initiative by the eThekwini Municipality’s Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department (EPCPD) and the Energy Office.

Initiated in early 2013, the development of the Durban Climate Change Strategy has used a participatory approach where Durban’s communities, residents and different sectors have been invited to participate at various stages of the process. A combination of public meetings, online surveys, interviews and community meetings, as well as meetings with municipal departments have been used to gather the views and comments from Durban’s stakeholders for inclusion in the strategy. Technical experts have also been drawn upon to provide their input into the strategy and to ensure that the strategy is scientifically sound.

The Durban Climate Change Strategy includes both mitigation and adaptation responses and is divided up into key theme areas. The key theme areas include Water, Sea-level rise, Biodiversity, Food security, Health, Energy, Waste and pollution, Transport, Economic development, and, Knowledge generation and understanding. For each key theme area responses have been developed in order to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to ensure that all of Durban’s sectors are able to cope with the changes in climate that have been projected. Responsibilities have been allocated not only for local government but also for other levels of government, for business, residents, civil society and researchers as climate change will impact on all sectors but in different ways.

Commenting on the draft strategy Derek Morgan, senior manager of the Energy Office says, “The latest greenhouse gas inventory for the 2012 year revealed that the total greenhouse gas emissions for Durban have increased by 8.3% since 2010. In order for Durban to reduce its emissions in line with the national reduction targets that have been set, there is a need for all sectors to start to reduce their emissions in Durban. The Durban Climate Change Strategy document provides a starting point by allocating responsibilities to different sectors in order to align with national reduction targets.”

Dr. Debra Roberts, Deputy Head of the EPCPD at the eThekwini Municipality adds, “The development of the Durban Climate Change Strategy through a participatory approach has helped to highlight some of the concerns that the different sectors in Durban have around climate change. This has helped us to co-develop a set of adaptation responses that are relevant to these local challenges.”

Morgan adds the importance of the document in moving towards a low carbon economy, “In order for Durban to remain competitive globally there is a need for Durban to move towards a low carbon economy. The Durban Climate Change Strategy document provides some guidance in the shift towards an economy that is less energy intensive, including the promotion of renewable energy and using energy more efficiently.”

Roberts explains the importance of the strategy for the poor, “Vulnerable communities will be the most at risk from future climate change impacts and it is essential that the ecological infrastructure and natural resources that the communities depend on are preserved. The Durban Climate Change Strategy emphasises the importance of preserving biodiversity and water resources so that communities are resilient to future change.”

EThekwini Municipality invites all Durban residents and organisations to comment by completing an online survey by Friday the 6th of June, 2014. The complete draft strategy can be found on the Durban Climate Change Strategy website.

Urban Earth in association with FutureWorks is contracted to facilitate the development of the Durban Climate Change Strategy.

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Amanda Botes