The Durban Adaptation Charter (DAC) hosted a Compact Operationalisation Training Workshop as a pre-event to the First DAC Southern African Regional Workshop convened under the auspices of ICLEI’s Local Climate Solutions for Africa (LoCS) Congress. The one day training session, aimed at capacitating local government officials on establishing their own compacts, took place on the 13th of October 2015 in Durban, South Africa.
Launched at COP17, the Durban Adaptation Charter has so far been signed by 341 city leaders representing 1069 local governments. Implementation is through the development of partnerships between adaptation-leading cities (called Hubs) across global regions. Hubs that share similar climate change challenges and adaptation approaches engage in exchange visits to share expertise and solutions. Surrounding each Hub are sub-national partnerships (called Compacts) of surrounding municipalities. The learning outcomes from Hub-to-Hub exchange visits, and the expertise and knowledge within the Hubs are shared with the Compact partnerships so that an integrated response is implemented at the scale of the Compact in each Compact.
The Hub and Compact approach allows for the sharing of knowledge and capacity across political boundaries. Within Compacts, bankable and fundable projects are proposed, advancing the regional climate change response. To facilitate this collaborative approach, plans are being proposed to establish Compacts around the major metropolitan cities of South Africa and to promote the approach throughout the DAC network of cities.
As an outcome from the Durban – Fort Lauderdale, Broward County (Florida, USA) hub exchange visits, Durban established its own Compact modelled on that of the South East Florida Regional Climate Change Compact. In January 2014, the twelve local and district municipalities surrounding Durban agreed to form the Central KwaZulu-Natal Climate Change Compact (CKZNCCC). Modelled on the Florida Compact, the CKZNCCC has hosted a total of six CKZNCCC meetings and a three-day learning exchange. Furthermore through the Compact four members have had the opportunity to attend climate adaptation training in Bangladesh and one member was able to attend ICLEI’s Resilient Cities Congress in Bonn in June 2015.
The DAC secretariat hosted the Compact training session for 32 participants with the aim of increasing the technical capacity of CKZNCCC members, and extending the Hub and Compact approach to the other South African metropolitan municipalities, as well as DAC signatory cities in Tanzania and Mozambique. The session was facilitated by the founder of the first Compact, Ms Susanne Torriente from Fort Lauderdale. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Southern African mission generously provided travel support for South African participants at the training and LoCS 2015.
At the training, practical guidelines for climate change action were shared by Ms Torriente, as a way of promoting dialogue around the challenges and existing initiatives within participants’ respective local governments. The importance of securing the support of leadership and identifying champions within municipal departments to drive climate change responses was stressed, as was the importance of developing an integrated climate change response across internal municipal departments and across municipalities within a region. A critical factor in responding effectively to climate change is to build the capacity of staff members and engage with community members to share information and knowledge.
The training session provided participants with the knowledge and capacity to develop their own regional compacts. The DAC Secretariat will oversee the establishment of Compacts led by the municipal officials that attended the training.