Implementation Framework of the Durban Climate Change Strategy

Climate change poses a serious threat to human existence, presenting both environmental and socio-economic challenges. Recognising this, world leaders have rallied in response to support the Paris Agreement, which aims to curb carbon emissions (which cause climate change) and take action to adapt to the now-unavoidable impacts of climate change. Unlike the cities of the global north, who were direct beneficiaries of carbon-intensive development pathways, the global south has yet to fully develop. This presents an opportunity to convert to a sustainable development pathway that will not contribute significantly to carbon emissions and thereby contribute towards increasing the cost of global adaptation, and which will ensure resilience. It is important that cities are able to address both adaptation and mitigation in their development pathways.
The eThekwini Municipality has developed a progressive climate change Programme contained within the Municipal Integrated Development Programme (IDP), and in 2015 developed a city wide mitigation and adaptation strategy. The City is currently undertaking the first five-year review of the strategy and all project progress and developments can be found here. 


Following the successful hosting of COP17/CMP7 in 2011, and building upon previous climate change-focussed work, the eThekwini Municipality Council approved a city-wide climate change adaptation and mitigation strategy in 2015, known as the Durban Climate Change Strategy (DCCS). The Strategy, which was developed, through an inclusive and participatory process, acknowledges that we live in a world with finite and diminishing natural resources. This means that Durban needs to convert to a low carbon, resilient and green economy that prioritises the sustainable use of ecosystem services whilst still overcoming the development challenges faced by the majority of the City’s residents. The DCCS remains the overarching policy for climate change planning and implementation in the city, contributing significantly in integration and mainstreaming of climate change in to city operations. 

The DCCS was developed in partnership between the Climate Protection Branch (CPB) and the Energy office (EO) and as such, outlines a city-wide approach to integrating climate change mitigation and adaptation responses into city functions and operations. The strategy is organised into 10 inter-related themes of which five have an adaptation focus, namely Biodiversity, Water, Health, Food security and Sea-Level Rise; three a mitigation focus, namely Energy, Waste and Pollution and Transport; and the two remaining themes, namely Economic Development and Knowledge Generation and Awareness are considered to be cross cutting. Each theme is completed with a respective goal, objectives and suggested responses.
Since its approval, the DCCS has been implemented within line functions through a range of projects associated with the ten themes. Some of these projects can be found, along with a detailed description of implementation of the DCCS in the first DCCS annual report, produced for the 2018/19 financial year. A popular version of the DCCS document can be found here. A key marker of progress was the development of the DCCS Implementation Framework, which sets out roles and responsibilities for implementation of the DCCS.
The aim of the DCCS is the realisation of its vision, which effectively means successful implementation of an integrated mitigation and adaptation climate change response. The implementation framework has been developed along three themes: governance, implementation and strategic development (Figure 1). The three themes are based upon guidance contained within the Durban Adaptation Charter Implementation Guidance Workshop Report, held in March 2013. Implementation of the DCCS is, therefore, aligned with the Ten Principles of the Durban Adaptation Charter.

a. Governance theme: 

Political oversight of the response is entrusted to the eThekwini Municipality Climate Change Committee (EMCCC), which sits quarterly and is chaired by His Worship, Mayor Kaunda. Implementation of the DCCS is overseen by the DCCS Technical Task Team (DCCS TTT), which is a coordinating body of Heads of Units responsible for the implementation of the ten themes in the Strategy. It is the responsibility of this body to ensure that implementation of the DCCS is achieving its stated aims, and that gaps in implementation are identified and addressed. A key aim is that line functions coordinate across municipal silos for effective implementation of the Strategy and in driving climate appropriate development in the City.

The DCCS TTT is supported by the DCCS Subcommittee consisting of Senior Managers and Deputy Heads responsible for the implementation of projects identified within an integrated implementation plan for the DCCS. The DCCS Subcommittee is developing a dashboard of DCCS implementation to guide decision-making processes in DCCS TTT meetings. The DCCS Subcommittee convened for its inaugural meeting on 22nd January 2018, whereat it began the process of developing its terms of reference and an interim dashboard. It has subsequently met at regular two-month intervals.


Secretariat support for the DCCS TTT and Subcommittee is provided by the DCCS Secretariat, consisting of the two branches, CPB and EO within EPCPD. It is planned that these two Branches will form a Climate Change Department. The Secretariat is supported by a service provider, who provides administrative support for meetings.

b. Implementation theme:
An overview of the City’s climate change response can be found in the peer review publications above. Of particular interest in Roberts and O’Donoghue (2016) is the flow chart showing the development of the City’s climate change programme on page 102 (updated in the 2018/19 annual report below). The response was based on the Municipal Climate Protection Programme for climate change adaptation, of which the Municipal Adaptation Plans for the Water, Health and Disaster Management sectors were the flagship, and the Energy Strategy for mitigation, amongst others.
Engineering field testing of innovative sanitation systems
During the 2016/17 financial year, an implementation gap analysis was conducted, and pilot implementation plans were developed for the Water (flooding) and Sea Level Rise themes. Participating in the GIZ-funded Cities Fit for Climate Change programme allowed the city to develop the Climate Resilience Implementation Spatial Plan (CRISP) through the Strategic Spatial Planning Branch in the Development Planning Department. Engagement with the C40 Deadline 2020 programme enabled the City to secure technical support to develop the Climate Action Plan in 2019. This will help Durban ensure that the development of an integrated implementation plan for the DCCS, incorporating all existing strategies and plans related to climate change into a single cohesive programme, will be compliant with a world that limits global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 C, and is consistent with South Africa’s Nationally Determined Contributions for the Paris Agreement. This process is described in the third theme of the Implementation Framework, next.

c. Strategic development, Monitoring and Evaluation and Research theme:
The DCCS Secretariat, consisting of the CPB and EO, has started the process to develop a fully integrated implementation plan for the DCCS that incorporates all existing climate change work, including identify and filling any gaps, and integrating these into a fully mainstreamed climate change programme. This will include the development of a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework that will guide future reviews of the DCCS, its implementation and streamlining reporting on international, national and local platforms. The review process of the DCCS is scheduled to be complete by the end of the 2020 calendar year. The development of the integrated implementation plan will be used to inform the 2020 review of the Strategy.
Another component of this theme is research support provided by the Durban Research Action Partnership, which is the vehicle that drives climate and environmental change knowledge development in the city. It is important that research provides the City with knowledge for appropriate decision-making processes and synthesises learning outcomes from the M&E framework and reporting process. The M&E framework and DRAP will be managed by the DCCS Secretariat.

DRAP Research Symposium 2017 
Until the integrated implementation plan and M&E framework is developed, an interim implementation plan is being used, based upon existing programmes identified by the DCCS Subcommittee. Initially, the DCCS TTT decision-making dashboard will, therefore, provide an assessment of the implementation of existing climate change-related projects within the municipality, until the integrated implementation plan and M&E framework are ready. The full integrated implementation plan should be ready by the completion of the 2020/21 financial year.
7. DCCS IMPLEMENTATION DURING THE 2018/19 FINANCIAL YEAR (DCCS Annual Report - Executive Summary)
During the 2018/19 financial year, Durban continued to advance its implementation of the Durban Climate Change Strategy, and the annual report marks an important stage in that journey. Our commitment to produce an annual report, communicating successes and failures in implementing a city-wide climate change programme, is important in terms of transparency and as a motivational tool for residents of the City. The DCCS Secretariat has undertaken to use this annual report as its main reporting instrument in the City’s Integrated Development Plan reporting process from the 2019/20 financial year onwards.
The DCCS Implementation Framework sets out how Durban will advance implementation through three themes: governance, implementation and strategic development. The governance theme is now well established in Durban, with the political Climate Change Committee meeting quarterly, the Technical Task Team (TTT) meeting bi-monthly and the Subcommittee meeting in support of the TTT. The Subcommittee is developing a dashboard to support TTT decision-making by relevant Heads of Units, and this dashboard will be based on Durban’s 1.5 °C Climate Action Plan, which was approved by Municipal Council in October 2019.
During the financial year, work began on the first five-year review of the DCCS, with the aim of developing an integrated implementation plan with a monitoring and evaluation framework and reporting tool. This process is expected to continue through the 2019/20 financial year and progress will be reported in next financial year’s DCCS annual report. A key part of the strategic development framework is servicing the City’s multiple transdisciplinary research programmes, which are managed by line functions and the City’s Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE). The institute hosted its annual Research Symposium in June 2019, where much of this innovative action research was presented. A summary of the Durban Research Action Partnership activities can be found in the DCCS annual report. Finally, the City received a prestigious award from C40 for its Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) reporting during the 2018/19 financial year. This provides recognition of the hard work that has gone into Durban’s climate change activities.
During the 2019/20 financial year, Durban will continue to strive to advance its climate change work with a number of work programmes laid out, as described in the projects section of the 2018/19 annual report, and in the way forward section. We aim to report on all activities in the 2019/20 annual report, which we aim to have ready by December 2020. As part of an effort to improve communications on the DCCS, a branding exercise has been undertaken. This will assist providing a formal and fresh look for the climate change programme of the city. The logo and associated graphic designs will be used in the development of all communication documents for the DCCS including the annual reports going forward.
The DCCS Implementation Framework