Seventeen local governments in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal province are spearheading the formation of a climate change knowledge network amongst municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal that will enhance cooperation regarding Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation initiatives. This innovative climate change knowledge network initiative is being coordinated by eThekwini Municipality in partnership with Local Governments for Sustainability – Africa (ICLEI – Africa).
Seventeen KZN District and Local Municipalities will participate in the Central KwaZulu-Natal Climate Change Compact (CKZNCCC) to be held from 8th -10th October 2014 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
The CKZNCCC is an initiative of the Durban Adaptation Charter (DAC) which commits Local Governments to local climate action in their jurisdiction that will assist their communities to respond and adapt to climate change risks and opportunities. EThekwini Mayor, Cllr James Nxumalo, led the signing of the Charter at the Durban Local Government Convention that was a parallel event to the United Nations Conference of the Parties 17 (UN COP17) held in Durban in 2011. This charter now has over 1000 signatory cities around the globe with 76 percent being African and 94 percent from developing countries.
The CKZNCC is a learning exchange designed to facilitate dialogue that will greatly support the notion of collective action against climate change. Facilitated sessions will result in the identification of key climate change related challenges that participating municipalities face, along with ideas on how to respond to these at the local and district level. Delegates will also go on a study tour of climate change mitigation and adaptation projects initiated by the eThekwini Municipality.
The study tour will also include non-CKZNCC members, such as other larger and strategically placed municipalities in KZN and tertiary institutions.
The structure and content of the study tour has been carefully crafted to focus on the foundations and key levers that are utilised for the effective implementation of climate change initiatives at local government level.
One of the major aspects that will be discussed is the formation of a ‘Climate Knowledge Network’. It is envisaged that this will create a platform whereby local governments, tertiary institutions and experts in the field can come together to share lessons learnt, as well as generate research and gather information that will enable informed decisions to address climate change challenges that are begin faced by the Municipalities on an on-going basis.
It is envisaged that specific opportunities will be identified for strengthening sub-national partnerships for joint-action, funding and lobbying on issues and responses cross CKZNCCC municipal boundaries.
The Senior Manager of the Energy Office, Derek Morgan, said the Municipality is very excited about the CKZNCCC initiative, because it will allow eThekwini to work with neighbouring municipalities to start addressing climate change.
“Climate Change doesn’t stop at the border of the eThekwini Municipal area and with the CKZNCCC we can really start thinking and planning responses at a regional level”, he said.