The Durban Adaptation Charter was the key output of the Durban Local Government Convention: adapting to a changing climate – towards COP17/CMP7 and beyond (2-4 December 2011) which ran concurrently with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP17/CMP17 held in Durban, South Africa (28 November - 9 December 2011).


The COP17/CMP7 Durban Local Government Convention was organised by a Local Government partnership, made up of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), the South African Cities Network (SACN), eThekwini Municipality, South African Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) together with ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability. Since then, the organising partnership has grown considerably to include adaptation experts from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the International Cities/ Counties Management Association (ICMA), the cities of Miami Beach and Broward County (Florida, USA) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania).


At the Convention held in Durban’s City Hall, 107 mayors and elected officials representing over 950 local governments signed the Durban Adaptation Charter on 4 December 2011.In doing so, representatives of 27 countries pledged to strengthen local level adaptive capacity to climate change, and committed local governments around the world to urgent and decisive climate adaptation action in the drive to address a climatically extreme and unpredictable future. The number has increased to 341 mayors and elected officials representing 1069 organisations.


The Durban Adaptation Charter complements existing local government climate change initiatives, such as the Mexico City Pact (signed prior to COP16/CMP6) and the associated carbonn Climate Registry. Together they provide a holistic vision for transforming the world’s cities and local governments and making them more ‘climate smart’. The streamline reporting effort, DAC signatory cities report on their adaptation actions using the carbonn Climate Registry.

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His Worship the Mayor, Cllr James Nxumalo signing the Durban Adaptation Charter at COP17 held in Durban in December 2011held in Durban in December 2011
To view the different translation of the Charter click here
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DAC Implementation Guidance Workshop Report 
Durban Adaptation Charter 2016
Durban Adaptation Charter 2017 
Durban Adaptation Charter 2019                  

Durban Adaptation Charter 2020

During 2020, Covid-19 has touched virtually every human being (and many other creatures) on this planet. Sadly, for the most part, the impact was negative, and DAC implementation was not immune to the pandemic. While a successful training event was held, in person, for the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Africa network, this proved to be the last in-person DAC event for the year. The planned Miji Bora city-to-city learning exchange in Durban, by a delegation from the County Government Mombasa in March, had to be postponed a week before the delegation was due to arrive. Whilst all preparations were complete at the time of postponement, it proved to be the correct decision as South Africa went into a strict lockdown in what would have been the week of the event. All subsequent activities related to Miji Bora were conducted electronically with a series of three online webinars providing the material for sustainability planning in the two cities.

Covid-19 similarly impacted upon trainees of the EPIC Africa event with very few able to conduct the in-person meetings to set up their own programmes in their home organisations. A notable exception was County Government Mombasa which set up its EPIC programme with its first product being a sanitation system for the City’s ferry passengers. Engagement within the monthly EPIC Africa network meetings was consistent and a number of outreach events were conducted included a presentation to the Association of Africa Universities. During the year, the EPIC-N secretariat provided invaluable support for EPIC Africa, and that included access to the EPIC-N members commons and the setting up of the EPIC Africa website.


The Central KwaZulu-Natal Climate Change Compact also proved to be resilient with meetings of the members transitioning to online without a single in-person meeting able to be convened. The Compact did not manage to meet in the first half of the year, but did meet as per normal schedule thereafter. The big win for the Compact was the establishment of a compact led by the Mpumalanga Provincial government, who participated in the CKZNCCC meetings. During 2020, the CKZNCCC members started a process to develop concept notes for implementation of Transformative River Management Programme, which are likely to be integrated across the four participating members. Funding is currently being sought for implementation.


Finally, the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) was very active during 2020, with planning for the Third Assessment Report of Climate Change in Cities (ARC3-3) well underway, and the process to identify lead and contributing authors completed for the first three chapters. By the end of the year, the collaboration on the special edition of the Ocean and Coastal Management journal on climate change adaptation in small coastal cities and towns was ready for final submission to the journal following peer review. This should be complete early in 2021.