The first virtual workshop of the Miji Bora Peer-to-Peer learning exchange, focused on Durban’s Transformative River Management Programme (TRMP), was held on 23rd July 2020. A series of these learning exchanges are being hosted virtually by Miji Bora in lieu of an ability to meet in person in Durban (at least until travel is allowed again under Covid-19). The TRMP brings local government, communities, the private sector and traditional authorities into a partnership to manage our natural waterways to increase resilience to climate change, create employment in communities where this is desperately needed and improve the sustainability of our systems, including economic, social and environmental.
Dr Godffrey Nato, welcomed everyone to the meeting. Dr Godfrey indicated that the P2P learning programme offers the County Government Mombasa and eThekwini Municipality (Durban) the opportunity to share climate change solutions relevant to both cities. The in-person exchange visit did not take place in Durban in March 2020 due to Covid-19 hence this forum. He further highlighted that as Mombasa they have four interest of departments in this adventure:
- The department of Transport and Infrastructure,
- The Public works department which also carries the key components of the Miji Bora Project on the issue of drainage,
- The Water Sanitation and Natural Resources office,
- The department of Environment
- The Land Housing and Planning department, and
- The ICT Department.
He indicated that the day’s discussion would focus on Transformative River Management that Durban has through their project Sihlanzimvelo, and the business case effort that is co-funded by C40. He also emphasized Mombasa is very interested in the Learning Experiences of this project because in the 2020-2021 financial year for the County Government of Mombasa, three departments has allocated resources towards River Catchment Management (Mthobanga River). These departments are as follows;
- Transport and Infrastructure Department particularly by leadership of the engineering unit that have the key interest in wetland restoration focusing on the river;
- Land Housing and Urban Renewal Department that deals with settlement issues and plans, and their interest is through solid waste and compliance; and
- Water Sanitation and Natural Resource Department that is the key player in restoration because they are in charge of sewerage, and one of the challenges they are facing alongside that river is the sewage leakage into the river stream.
Senior Manager, Coastal, Stormwater and Catchment Management Department presented the project. He highlighted how cooperatives of communities living along the streams manage the watercourse, doing tasks that are normally done by seven different line functions in the city, e.g. keeping the river flowing etc. He further indicated that as the city they think this is an efficient and sustainable way of doing river management. The City funds the pilot, which is currently about 300 km, and they are hoping to do it for the whole of the City in future, and that this approach will be adopted in Africa, because it is an approach that can be applied to various situations in African cities.
He indicated that the project is funded by the city. C40 is a partner with C40 City’s Finance Facility, funding aspects to guide the development of a business case to establish the costs and benefits and what fixes can be applied to various stretches of streams in the City. There was a robust question and answer series following the presentation, and a number of valid points were raised. The County Government of Mombasa delegation will reflect on this and future workshop presentations in developing a sustainability plan through Miji Bora. The Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association is thanked for funding the Miji Bora project, and COMRED for their excellent planning of meeting events.