Durban Joins C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group as an Innovator City

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The Durban Adaptation Charter is pleased to announce that one of its signatory cities, Durban, has joined the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40). Durban was invited to join the C40 group under the Innovator City category due to the innovation it has shown through its climate change initiatives as well as its leadership in environmental sustainability.

The announcement was made on the 12th March 2015 by Councillor James Nxumalo, Mayor of eThekwini Municipality, who highlighted the significance of Durban joining a global network of cities that are committed to tackling climate change and increasing urban resilience by stating that:

“This interaction will strengthen our knowledge and ability to deal with climate change on a local level, while still ensuring sustainable service delivery. It fits in with our vision to make eThekwini the most caring and liveable city in Africa.”

Mayor Nxumalo added that joining the C40 group will afford Durban an opportunity to interact with and learn from other cities across the globe that share similar challenges.

Durban has been addressing climate change associated issues through the implementation of the Durban Climate Change Strategy, which covers many areas, including water distribution, sea level rise, biodiversity, food security, waste and pollution, transport, and transition to a low carbon economy. EThekwini Municipality, the local government which administrates the city of Durban, has also developed a strong climate change monitoring competency and therefore reports annually on its green-house gas emissions.

In addition, the city of Durban played a leading role in establishing the Durban Adaptation Charter (DAC) when it was first signed in 2011 at the Local Government Convention held during the COP17 negotiations. Over 254 mayors and elected government officials worldwide have since signed the Charter and committed to climate change adaptation action at a local level with the aim of helping communities to respond effectively to climate change. The city currently hosts this global platform, representing over 1000 local government signatories globally.

Other initiatives of the City of Durban include the Durban Open Space System (DMOSS) which consists of a series of protected open spaces identified through Systematic Conservation Planning (SCP) that have been written into the town planning schemes; the Buffelsdraai Reforestation Project which is a community based adaptation project that has provided jobs for almost 700 disadvantaged people; and the Wetlands Rehabilitation project in uMhlangane River Catchment. Durban has also been selected as one of the first round of 100 Resilient (100RC) Cities Centennial Challenge hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation. Durban’s participation in the 100RC Programme presents a unique opportunity for the Municipality to begin to plan for a more resilient city in an innovative way.

Mayor Nxumalo is well known for the global leadership role he provides in the climate change adaptation field. He represents Durban and chairs various global climate change bodies including the Durban Adaptation Charter and is the first Vice-President of ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability and also holds a portfolio on Global Executive Committee focusing on Resilience and Climate Adaptation.

Mayor of Rio de Janeiro and C40 Chair, Eduardo Paes said that he was pleased to welcome Durban to the C40 as an established climate leader in their region and as a city with original local solutions to share with the network as it aims to address climate change on a global scale.  He stated that: “To strengthen our global representation, C40’s expansion strategy is focused primarily on regions where urbanisation is taking place at an increasing rate, and where cities face the greatest challenges in developing sustainably,”

He further added: “I look forward to working closely with Mayor Nxumalo and sharing our common challenges as we strive to make our cities healthier, wealthier and more sustainable places to live”.

C40 Board President and U.N. Special Envoy to Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg said that the C40 network keeps growing because more and more cities are finding opportunities to confront climate change in ways that improve people’s lives today.

He further added that: “For the U.N. climate treaty negotiations this December to be successful, nations will have to commit to doing more and acting faster to shrink their carbon footprints – and cities like Durban are helping point the way forward”.

Another DAC signatory city that has recently joined the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group is the city of Quito based in Ecuador. Together with Durban, Amman, Jaipur, and Salvador, a total of 75 cities are now part of the C40 group. This is a key milestone and testament to the success of city-to-city collaborations on climate change.

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