Compact of Mayors in KwaZulu-Natal Meet Discuss Climate Change and Economic Growth
Oyewo-Umoh Adetola Elizabeth
The Mayors and Deputy Mayors from Kwazulu-Natal convened at the Moses Mabhida stadium on 13th November 2018 for the KZN Climate Change Compact of Mayors Conference. The event held under the auspice of South Africa Local Government Association (SALGA) with partnership with KZN Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) and Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA). The conference aimed at Mayors to sign and recommit to the Durban Adaptation Charter. The Durban Adaptation Charter (DAC) was the key output of the Durban Local Government Convention: adapting to a changing climate – towards COP17/CMP7 and beyond (2-4 December 2011). The DAC was signed by 114 signatories representing 950 local government organizations in South Africa on December 2011. This is also in recognition that the Compact of Mayors is an ambitious agreement by Mayors and other city officials to publically commit to deep Green House gas (GHG) emissions reductions, making existing mitigation and adaptation targets. The Compact of Mayors launched on September 23, 2014, at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York City by the C40 – Cities Climate Leadership Group, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and UCLG endorsed by UN-Habitat.
The conference unpacked climate change as driver for economic change, green funding, case study of best practice by the KwaDukuza Municipality and presentation of awards to Municipalities that are implementing innovative mitigation and adaptation strategies. Climate change is affecting people and local government because its impacts are felt at local level. It is at the local level where infrastructure are destroyed, livelihood are lost, water security and food security are impacted.
Speaking at the conference, the Mayor of EThekwini and the Deputy Vice-President of SALGA, Councillor Zandile Gumede spoke on the Durban Adaption Charter and strengthening local resilience. She challenged all Mayors to be champions in educating communities, the need for industrialization policies and capacities so that the spin-off will create green jobs.
MEC for KZN EDTEA, Mr Sihle Zikalala stressed that sustainable development is government’s agenda and climate change presents investment opportunity. ‘There is the need to balance industrialization and preservation of the environment. Companies must be able to generate renewable electricity without polluting the environment, there is no one size fits all’, said Zikalala.
Speaking on behalf of MEC COGTA, Nomusa Dube-Ncube , the HOD of COGTA KZN, Mr Tubane, emphasised that ‘Local Government should be at the forefront of greening the environment and the economy’.
The Deputy Chairperson of SALGA and King Cetshwayo District, Mayor Nonhle Mkhulisi thanked the leadership from provincial government for their continued support to Local Government and ensured them of SALGA’s commitment to inspire service delivery even through climate change awareness and mitigation.