Following the successful hosting of COP17/CMP7, and building upon previous climate change-focussed work, eThekwini Municipality, through the collaboration between the Climate Protection Branch (CPB) of the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department (EPCPD) and the Energy Office (EO), has developed a city-wide climate change adaptation and mitigation strategy, known as the Durban Climate Change Strategy (DCCS).

The development of this strategy acknowledged that we live in a world with finite and diminishing natural resources, and that Durban needs to convert to a low carbon, green economy that prioritises the sustainable use of ecosystem services whilst still overcoming the development challenges faced by the majority of Durban residents. In May 2015 the strategy was approved and adopted by the Municipal Council.

The development of the DCCS directly addresses a key piece of national legislation - the Disaster Management Amendment Act (Act 16 of 2015). The Act requires that local governments engage with the issue of climate change and develop response strategies and action plans for each sector. The themes of the DCCS also sit well with international policy frameworks, such as the Sustainable Development Gaols and the Paris Agreement. The Strategy, further, prepares Durban for the drafting and promulgation of a climate change bill that is emerging from South Africa’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. The City has been engaging in National Government internal stakeholder participation processes to provide input on the drafting of the bill.
Current status of project
The DCCS is organized into ten interrelated themes. Five of the themes concerns adaptation, namely Water, Sea level rise, Biodiversity, Food security, and Health; three of the themes concerns mitigation, namely Energy, Transport, and Waste and Pollution; and the final two themes concern Economic Development and Knowledge Generation and Understanding. These are considered to be cross-cutting. The development of the implementation plans have taken queue from this natural separation within the DCCS resulting with the Climate Protection Branch being responsible for the development of the plans for the adaptation themes, while the Energy office focused on the mitigation themes.

The process to develop the implementation plans for the adaptation themes involved a screening and evaluation process. This included consultative discussions with the relevant line-functions to determine how their current work programmes align with the objectives and responses contained within the DCCS. This was then followed by a gap analysis and the action needed to address these gaps. An Implementation Guidance Document (IGD) was then developed as a record of this process. The document outlines a governance framework for implementation including both the political and administrative structures. The Municipal Climate Change Committee which will be convened by Her Worship the Mayor, Councillor Zandile Gumede, will provide political oversight of the climate change work of the municipality. The administrative oversight will be convened within the Disaster Management Advisory Forum (DMAF) where the DCCS Technical Task Team currently reports. Chaired by the City Manager, within the DMAF, the DCCS TTT will be responsible for the implementation and mainstreaming of the DCCS into sector and project plans and to report on the progress made.

Two pilot implementation plans for the Sea level rise, and Water (with a focus on the flooding risk aspect) theme are being developed by the CPB in consultation with the relevant line functions. Implementation of the Biodiversity Theme is progressing well. Informed by the outcomes of the screening and evaluation process, a research focused approach has been adopted for this theme. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the Municipality was signed to initiate the Global Environmental Change (GEC) research partnership within the Durban Research Action Partnership (D’RAP) in March 2016. The research agenda for this partnership will be focused on addressing the Biodiversity Theme of the DCCS. Within this research programme has been the appointment of the Post-Doctoral researcher, Dr Lulu Van Rooyen through the Future Resilience for African Cities and Lands (FRACTAL) project within the five year Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) research programme. The implementation of the project in South Africa is coordinated by the Climate Systems Analysis Group (CSAG) at the University of Cape Town. The project is intended to advance scientific knowledge about regional climate responses and foster strong collaboration between researchers, city government officials and other key decision makers with the aim to integrate the new found knowledge into decision making processes. The FRACTAL appointee is engaging with departmental Branches as an embedded researcher to develop a long-term monitoring system for biodiversity in relation to climate and other environmental changes.
The implementation of the DCCS also recognises the vital role of communication.  As a result the DCCS team compiled an educational poster and a popular summary document for the Strategy. Both these documents (available in both isiZulu and English) provide a summary and easy-to-read information on the strategy document. It also outlines the plans and projects that the municipality is engaged in to address the issue of climate change within the City. Furthermore the CPB will be exploring aspects of what a formal communication strategy might consist of to ensure better and effective communication of the city’s efforts in dealing with the issue of climate change.

Further information about the Durban Climate Change Strategy adaptation themes can be obtained by contacting the Climate Protection Branch on 031 311 7477.

Please note the DCCS, popular summary is available here (English versionIsiZulu version) and associated poster (English version , IsiZulu version