The year 2020 has provided many challenges for most of us on this planet, the Durban Secretariat overseeing implementation of the Durban Adaptation Charter have not been spared either. The year started well with Durban’s hosting of the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities (EPIC) Africa training event where 20 local governments were represented. Training in establishing new EPIC research partnerships (between government, universities and communities) was successful and a new core group was added to the EPIC Africa network. This new group has continued to meet monthly and reporting progress, and has been ably supported by the EPIC-N secretariat for which the EPIC Africa Secretariat is very grateful. Progress has been reported by the three core leading cities/ universities in Durban, Lusaka and Nairobi. The new network participants were similarly hamstrung in their efforts to establish their partnerships, due to Covid-19, but have remained committed and are now making progress.
Planning for the return trip to Durban, by a delegation of senior County Government of Mombasa officials for a learning exchange under the Miji Bora project, was completed. Everything was in place to welcome these guests to Durban in mid-March when it became apparent that Covid-19 would change our lives. In one of the great escapes of our DAC year, the trip was postponed (luckily all monies were recovered), and during the following week (when the tour would have taken place), South Africa went into lockdown. To date it has not been possible to host this learning exchange in person, but a series of webinars have been convened around topics of the exchange in the second half of this year. To their credit, Mombasa has established: a) its own EPIC programme, its first product being a sanitiser for their ferry passengers and b) it own Transformative River Management programme. This ability to translate learning into action is highly commendable.
Activities associated with implementation of the Hub and Compact approach can be found in the 2020 annual report, which is planned to be released in early 2021. This will be the first year that the annual report is only produced in a digital version (not phygitally i.e. a combination of hard copy and electronic), due to cost containment measures following the economic impact of Covid-19.