African cities face a lack of adequate financing, widespread poverty, housing shortages and unemployment, which weaken their ability to adapt to climate change. There is great concern that the poor, whose livelihoods and well-being depend directly on nature and on the ecosystem services that nature provide, will be the most negatively impacted by climate change. Africa’s cities therefore urgently require solutions that empower people and allow nature to respond to the climate change challenge.

In 2004 eThekwini Municipality responded to this challenge with the initiation of a Municipal Climate Protection Programme (MCPP).

The MCPP has resulted in the production of:

  • Phase 1- Impact Assessment: the Climatic Future for Durban Report (2006) assessed the local impacts of climate change on the Municipality and proposed possible responses.
  • Phase 2- Adaptation Planning: a Headline Adaptation Strategy, which highlighted some of the key interventions required by the Municipality if it is to adapt successfully to inevitable climate change. This adaptation work is currently being extended through a range of adaptation initiatives including the development of reforestation projects, pilot green roofs, sea level rise modelling, community adaptation plans and the development and implementation of municipal adaptation plans for the water, health and disaster management sectors.
  • Phase 3- Developing the Tool Box: the development of an Urban Integrated Assessment Framework (in progress) that will enable the simulation, evaluation and comparison of strategic plans and policies in the context of climate change.
  • Phase 4- Mainstreaming: mainstreaming of climate change considerations into city planning and development. Interventions include hosting a carbon neutral COP17/CMP7 Climate Change meeting and a carbon-reduced 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in Durban and the creation of a Climate Protection Branch within the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department.