Durban Adaptation Charter (DAC) representatives Dr Sean O’Donoghue and Ms Noloyiso Walingo recently participated in the 6th edition of the ICLEI Resilient Cities congress series. The Congress, that took place from the 8th – 10th June 2015 in Bonn, Germany is an annual global climate change adaptation meeting for local governments, where the DAC serves as a key pillar.
The Resilient Cities congress series provides an opportunity for climate change adaptation advocacy, networking, and knowledge transfer between local government leaders and served as an ideal platform for the advancement of the Durban Adaptation Charter.
Dr O’Donoghue and Ms Walingo participated in a number of panel discussions and plenary sessions during the Congress, the highlight of which were:
- A panel discussion on city partnerships that was co-hosted by the International Cities/ Counties Management Association’s (ICMA) City Links Programme with GIZ,
- A panel discussion with the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) on establishing knowledge networks and,
- A panel discussion on participatory governance
During the city partnership-focused session, the DAC network of networks approach was presented using the examples of the regional hub partnerships between Fort Lauderdale, Dar es Salaam and Durban, the city exchanges that occurred within the CityLinks Programme and the resulting emergence of climate compacts (which originated in Fort Lauderdale). During a focussed discussion following the session, it was agreed that the DAC Secretariat would host a Compact operationalization training session for selected Tanzanian and Southern African officials, who would be charged with starting Compacts in their own sub-national regions in Tanzania. At the end of this session, Dr O’Donoghue did an interview where he explaining the DAC’s Compact approach. ICMA funded the participation of the panellists at the Resilient Cities Congress.
The knowledge networks panel discussion session provided an opportunity to highlight Durban’s effort to establish a knowledge network up the east coast of Africa. At the end of this session the UCCRN made a commitment to assist in guiding the development of the Durban knowledge hub. The launch of the Durban Hub is being planned for October’s LoCS 2015 Congress.
During the Congress, the DAC Steering Committee held its Annual General Meeting to discuss the implementation of the DAC as well as possibilities for partnerships which exist for the Charter. A few actions and outcomes from the DAC Annual General Meeting included: pursuing the formalisation of the DAC as a legal entity, aligning the DAC with the ICLEI adaptation work programme, and the participation of the DAC in more international events.
During the Resilient Cities Congress, the City of Kaohsiung signed the Durban Commitment. The signing ceremony was hosted by ICLEI President, David Cadman. Kaohsiung has, by signing the commitment, formalised its commitment to protecting and enhancing biodiversity. Immediately after the closing ceremony, the Mayor of Quelimane, Dr Manuel de Araujo signed the Durban Adaptation Charter. Both Quelimane and Pemba reaffirmed their desire to work collaboratively with the DAC on projects mooted during their recent USAID-funded exchange visit to Durban.
The DAC is grateful to ICMA for their support to attend the event and to ICLEI for their ongoing support for the DAC at their Congress.