‘Prioritizing climate change adaptation and local level resilience in Durban, South Africa’

Abstract:  This paper describes the institutional and resource challenges and opportunities in getting different sectors in eThekwini Municipality (the local government responsible for planning and managing the city of Durban) to recognize and respond to their role in climate change adaptation. The Headline Climate Change Adaptation Strategy launched by the municipality in 2006 did not catalyze the development of sectoral plans or significantly influence the Integrated Development Plan, the key document through which the municipal government sets and implements development priorities. Possible causal factors for this include limited human and financial resources and more immediate and urgent development needs. To address the situation, the municipality’s Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department encouraged and supported three pilot sectors to develop their own municipal adaptation plans. This more sectoral approach encouraged greater interaction among the sectors and provided each with a clearer understanding of their needs and roles from an adaptation perspective. It also highlighted how climate change adaptation could be used as a tool to address development priorities. This work will be extended through research into the cost-benefits of Durban being an “early adapter”. Work has also begun on community-based adaptation (including support for reforestation projects that provide “green jobs”) and on responses to slow onset disasters, food security and water constraints.

Full Citation: Roberts, D. (2010). Prioritizing climate change adaptation and local level resilience in Durban, South Africa, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 22 (2): 397-413. (Available with subscription from: http://eau.sagepub.com/content/current)

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