Durban Joins C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group as an Innovator City

Durban in South Africa has been selected to join the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), an invitation-only global network of cities who are committed to tackling climate change and increasing urban resilience. Durban joins with Innovator City status, a membership category for cities that have shown clear leadership in environmental and climate change work. 

Mayor of eThekwini Municipality Cllr James Nxumalo said he was excited by the announcement and being part of the C40 group will afford the City an opportunity to interact and network with cities from across the world that share similar challenges as we do. 

“This interaction will strengthen our knowledge and ability to deal with climate change on a local level, while still ensuring sustainable service delivery. It fits in with our vision to make eThekwini the most caring and liveable city in Africa.”

Durban is addressing climate change through the implementation of its Durban Climate Change Strategy, which covers the areas of water distribution, sea level rise, biodiversity, food security, waste and pollution, transport and transition to a low carbon economy.

As a host city of UN COP17 in 2011, Durban actively mobilised other local authorities to develop the Durban Adaptation Charter, which was signed by 107 mayors and local government officials worldwide and set out to intensify action and accelerate local adaptation efforts. 

The eThekwini Municipality has also developed a strong climate change measurement competency and reports annually on its green-house gas emissions.

Durban’s innovations also include the Durban Open Space System (DMOSS), amongst others. An environmental layer has also been written into the town planning schemes to ensure that sensitive environmental areas are conserved and protected from development. The Buffelsdraai Reforestation Project which has provided jobs for almost 700 disadvantaged people has received international acclaim and recognition as did the Community Based Adaptation Programme. Durban has also been selected as a pioneer for the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge hosted by the international Rockefeller Foundation. Durban’s participation in the 100RC Programme presents a unique opportunity for the Municipality to begin to plan for a more resilient city in an innovative way.

Durban mayor C40 cities

Nxumalo also represents the City and chairs various global climate change bodies. He serves as the second Vice-President of the ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) Global Executive Committee in a portfolio focusing on ‘Resilience, Climate Adaptation and the Durban Adaptation Charter’. He is also a member of ICLEI’s Regional Executive Committee in Africa and chairs the ‘Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction’ portfolio. He also serves as a member of the World Mayors’ Council on Climate Change and chairs the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) Climate Change Champions Committee.


C40 Board President and U.N. Special Envoy to Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg said the C40 network keeps growing because more and more cities are finding opportunities to confront climate change in ways that improve people’s lives today.

“For the U.N. climate treaty negotiations this December to be successful, nations will have to commit to doing more and acting faster to shrink their carbon footprints – and cities like Durban are helping point the way forward,” he said.

The addition of Durban, along with fellow new members Amman, Jaipur, Quito, and Salvador, brings C40’s overall membership to 75 cities, a key milestone in the organization’s expansion efforts and a testament to the success of city-to-city collaborations on climate change.

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