DAC Attends Resilient Cities Congress 2016

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The Durban Adaptation Charter Secretariat attended the 2016 Resilient Cities Congress in Bonn from July 4th – 7th, 2016. The Congress was attended by 320 participants, with approximately 150 speakers in 34 sessions and a number of side events, which made the 7th Global Forum on Urban Resilience and Adaptation an outstanding platform for learning, sharing ideas, and creating solutions. Resilient Cities 2016 welcomed participants from 45 countries, with 20 percent of participants from local governments, 15 percent from academia, 37 percent from international organisations and NGOs, and 8 percent from the corporate sector.

As usual, the DAC Steering Committee convened for its annual meeting. At the meeting, it was agreed that the Hub and Compact approach should continue to be the DAC mainstay of implementation, and that the Compacts should start networking. A Compact-focussed session and workshop is being planned for RC2017. The DAC participated in a number of panels in sessions during the three days. A summary of this participation is given below:

The Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) recently produced their Second Assessment Report for Climate Change and Cities (ARC3-2), in which Durban is featured in a case study. The Report aims to provide city leaders with practical information for informed decision-making and climate change-focussed implementation. UCCRN hosted a ARC3-2 panel discussion followed by a networking session. Dr Sean O’Donoghue participated as a panel member speaking about his experience as co-director of the Durban Knowledge Hub, which is one of three Knowledge Hubs established in UCCRN’s Knowledge Network to date.  He described the importance of developing a strong science basis to underpin management decisions taken within eThekwini Municipality. This experience was gained through the Durban Research Action Partnership. The Hub further serves Durban’s surrounding municipalities that participate in the Durban Adaptation Charter’s Central KZN Climate Change Compact.

Emerging from this panel (and the follow-up networking session in the lunch break) was an undertaking for the Knowledge Hubs (Durban, Rio de Janeiro and Paris) to collaborate in developing a funding proposal to the Belmont Forum to develop scientific understanding of the importance of nature-based solutions in addressing climate change. Another proposed piece of research will be an analysis of city contribution towards national government Nationally Determined Contributions towards the Paris Agreement. The importance of co-generated knowledge in transdisciplinary partnerships (as with DRAP) was emphasised.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency hosted a session on innovative and effective ways of sharing knowledge and delivering actionable information to decision makers. The aim of the panel was to highlight the ways in which universities are creating networks to further co-production of knowledge with cities. The Durban Research Action Partnership and its relationship to UCCRN’s Knowledge Network and the DAC Hub and Compact approach was presented by Sean O’Donoghue. It was acknowledged that peer-peer knowledge transfer is an effective way for creating learning outcomes between cities. In transdisciplinary research, it is frequently necessary to translate research output into a form useful for city practitioners..

RC2016 was well supported by a delegation from the Mozambican cities of Quelimante, Pemba and Nacala, with each city headed by its Mayor. At the Congress, this delegation worked closely with the DAC Secretariat to plan a funding proposal to complete the knowledge exchange programme that was started in 2015. This planning builds upon the main focus of DAC contributions within panels during the Congress. As is usual, the DAC Secretariat emerged from the Congress with excellent opportunities to pursue partnerships for implementation, both from a research and implementation perspective. The USEPA’s Dr Tony Socci is thanked for his substantial contribution towards DAC planning again this year at the Congress.

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