CityLinks Climate Change Smart Development Training

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CityLinks BangkokThe Central KwaZulu-Natal Climate Change Compact (CKZNCCC) was invited to participate in this training to share its climate change success stories, knowledge and experience of their engagement with the CityLinks projects and implementing the Durban Adaptation Charter (DAC). The Compact members that attended were Dr Sean O’ Donoghue and Mrs Zama Khuzwayo from eThekwini Municipality, Ms Slindile Masondo represented the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Ms Cherise Harris Msunduzi Local Municipality and Mr Tsepo September Hibiscus Coast Local Municipality.

The training was built around the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) CityLinks Primer on Subnational Approaches for Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The training was based on Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS), financing opportunities, policy implementation at the local government level, and green economic growth. The workshop hosted participants from 9 Countries and 15 Cities. The training also presented the participants with the opportunity to meet counterparts from all over the world who have participated in different CityLinks partnerships and to share challenges and lessons learned from partnerships.

SOME OF THE LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE TRAINING.
During the training a brief status quo of climate change thematic areas and the developments since the COP 21 Paris Agreement were presented. An update on the progress and achievements for some of the ICMA CityLinks initiatives and programs were also presented. A case study on the city of Georgia on the “Low Emission Development Strategies” highlighted the importance developing the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory as a baseline. The study also highlighted the importance of seeking alternative development scenarios that are sector specific. The presentation on eThekwini Municipality’s Community Ecosystems Based Adaptation (CEBA) case study illustrated multiple co-benefits that can be achieved through community advocacy of biodiversity protection. It highlighted how such programs can be used for social upliftment while water courses are protected through healthy natural ecosystems services.

The Agua Inc. business case study on innovative water treatment technology validated the value of cost effective benefits from ecological infrastructure in addressing water quality and quantity.  The white roof painting case study proved to be an alternative cheaper model to reduce urban heat island. The compact participants envisage replicating the model and using it to engage and bring awareness to communities and schools.

The green economy is critical to underdeveloped and developing countries to unlock eco-social challenges. Cities will need to create awareness to foster the use of energy and natural resources efficiently. The study highlighted the importance of robust integrated planning and the need for investing on innovative technology to realise the green economy. Such programs may require the involvement of private sector to secure funding. Communication and knowledge sharing was one of the highlights of the workshop. Climate practitioners should learn to build relationships and communicate what is relevant to the information receiver. Using disaster risk reduction to address climate change adaptation has been used by a number of cities to gain political support and funding. This may be relevant for South African municipalities to comply with the new Disaster Management Amendment Act 16 of 2015. The Act puts emphasis on the application of climate change adaptation as one of the key approaches to risk reduction.

The participants also had an opportunity to visit the Bang Kachao Park. The park is used for creating awareness for conservation and to promote eco-tourism. The park is also used as a green lung for the densely urbanised city of Bangkok. The park runs a nursery that produce about 100 000 indigenous trees per year. Park visitors have free access to the seedlings as a way to promote reforestation in their living spaces. The project aims to mitigate its carbon footprint, promote reforestation and raise awareness of eco-socio benefits to the surrounding communities.
There have been more benefits through the CityLinks Partnership Program. Capacity building was one of the major outcomes of the partnerships that were developed. Commitment to the DAC has since grown through the program and the development of a Hub and Compact approach for implementation.

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