Dr Debra Roberts, who heads up the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department of eThekwini Municipality in Durban, has been awarded the AfriCAN Climate Research Award by the AfriCAN Climate Consortium. The Award focuses on promoting the presence of African women researchers in the field of climate change adaptation and mitigation in an African context.
Dr Roberts is championing how cities in Africa adapt to the effects and impacts of climate change. She has played a lead role in international research, delivered papers at international conferences and written reports for the United Nations, and other international organisations.
Dr Roberts has spearheaded projects that have made Durban a world leader in the field of climate change adaptation. These include the development of the Durban Adaptation Charter for Local Governments which was signed by more than 100 cities around the world in 2011. Roberts has also led one of the largest ecosystem-based adaptation reforestation projects.
Mayor James Nxumalo said, “Dr Roberts is a world renowned and respected scientist, and the Municipality is extremely proud of her achievements. Through her hard and persistent work and that of her department, the Municipality is at the forefront of global climate change adaptation agenda.”
“EThekwini Municipality has gone from a passive consumer of climate change data to an effective co-producer of climate change adaptation knowledge. This new type of knowledge is critical as it is capable of driving innovative, local level action that improves the quality of lives of people, ensures the sustainability of ecosystems and increases the long-term resilience of the city,” says Roberts.