Durban’s Mayor, Councillor James Nxumalo was elected as ICLEI – Local Government for Sustainability’s (ICLEI) First Vice President (2015-2018) during the 2015 ICLEI World Congress that took place in Seoul, South Korea from the 8th to 12th of April 2015. The Congress was attended by over 2,500 delegates from 249 local governments around the world and resulted in the approval of the Seoul Declaration, a document that outlines a path for global urban sustainability, as well as the Compact of the Mayors, a coalition of mayors that have agreed to prepare their cities for climate change impacts.
Mayor Nxumalo attended the Congress together with eThekwini Municipality’s Deputy Head of Environmental Planning and Climate Protection, Dr Debra Roberts. Both Mayor Nxumalo and Dr Roberts are members of ICLEI’s Global Executive Committee (GEXCOM). Mayor Nxumalo holds the Resilient City’s Portfolio and is the Africa representative on the committee, whilst Dr Roberts serves as a special advisor to the GEXCOM on the Durban Adaptation Charter (DAC).
Mayor Nxumalo participated in a number of key sessions during the Congress. The highlight of which was chairing the opening session where the Seoul Declaration was approved. Mayor Nxumalo also chaired a breakout session on advancing the resilient city where he introduced the DAC and Durban’s participation in the 100 Resilient Cities programme, and oversaw the signing of new DAC signatories. Lastly, Mayor Nxumalo served on a panel on “Biodiversity and Water in Cities” where new signatories signed the Durban Commitment to biodiversity. During the Congress, Dr Roberts presented a summary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report within a panel focused on “Leadership for Green Growth”.
A meeting of the GEXCOM was held on the 10th of April where Dr Roberts presented on the draft work programme for the DAC. The following decisions were made at this meeting regarding the DAC:
- A timetable and plan for the transition of the DAC Secretariat from eThekwini Municipality to the ICLEI Africa office will be developed. An initial report is due in December 2015.
- A set of Terms of Reference for the DAC Steering Committee will be developed by June 2015.
- Funding sources will be sought for the DAC during and after the transition to ICLEI.
- A work programme will be developed to align the DAC with ICLEI’s existing adaptation work programmes by December 2015.
During the meeting, GEXCOM also agreed to a proposal to initiate a global action reporting platform for biodiversity aligned with the carbonn Climate Registry: a City Biodiversity Register.
Regarding future events and meetings, the next GEXCOM meeting will be held in Paris at COP21 in December 2015. ICLEI is also organising a local government summit on the 7th December 2015 and a high level dialogue with Ministers for 8th December during COP21.