At the Mail & Guardian Greening the Future Awards the eThekwini Municipality was recognised for governance excellence for their leadership in the development and implementation of the Durban CEBA initiative.
The Mail & Guardian Greening the Future Awards are widely recognised as South Africa’s premier environmental and sustainability awards and celebrate innovation and leadership in response to the challenges and opportunities of sustainability.
The Durban CEBA Initiative (Community Ecosystems-Based Adaptation) was conceptualised in partnership with the Wildlands Conservation Trust ahead of COP 17/CMP 7 held in November/December last year, and is a key legacy project of this event.
The project will also help to enhance the city’s Climate Change adaptation efforts by restoring an important part of the uMbilo River catchment, underwriting the welfare of these communities, reducing our collective vulnerability to climate change and by creating ‘green jobs’ for those employed in the project.
The initiative is supported by eThekwini Municipality, Bonitas Medical Fund and the KZN Provincial Government through the Integrated Greening Programme.
Dr Debra Roberts, Deputy Head of the Municipality’s Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department, said “the ‘green-preneur’ model encourages local community members to take ownership of their earning potential by growing trees or collecting waste in exchange for essential goods. This eliminates the need to exchange money and it means that green-preneur activities are directly exchanged for items that are most needed in these very poor households.”
Jobs have also been created for community members who clear alien plants through the Working for Ecosystems programme that is implemented for the eThekwini Municipality by WESSA, and Wildlands Restoration Teams are planting indigenous trees in these cleared areas.
Dr Andrew Venter, CEO of the Wildlands Conservation Trust said of the partnership, “We are very excited to be working with eThekwini Municipality on this pilot implementation project. eThekwini Municipality are world leaders in the development and implementation of Climate Change adaptation work and the Durban CEBA represents a very real contribution to the field of Climate Change adaptation and introduces tools and methodology that can and will be utilised in cities and developing nations throughout the world. I’d particularly like to thank Mayor James Nxumalo and Dr Debra Roberts for their visionary leadership,” he said.
The greening judges praised the CEBA ‘green-preneur’ model as a cutting edge intervention saying, “COP17 was not a low-carbon event, but the offsets and particularly CEBA are world-class, long-term ecosystems adaptions.”