EXPERTISE SERVICES: DRR VOICES BLOG
Dr Sean O’Donoghue has a doctorate in marine pelagic ecology obtained from UKZN in 2010. In March 2011, Sean joined eThekwini Municipality, or Durban, where he manages the Climate Change Adaptation Branch. A key focus of the Branch is Community Ecosystem Based Adaptation, providing work opportunities for Durban’s indigent populations. Sean manages a number of research, inter-city and community partnership projects.
Informal settlement residents in Nacala face life-threatening flooding and erosion risks from tropical cyclones, exacerbated by poor development controls. Through the Durban Adaptation Charter, a series of exchange visits supported by the UNISDR and funded by the European Commission has helped Nacala develop a plan of action to change risk into opportunity.
The Northern Mozambican cities of Pemba, Quelimane and Nacala have developed a climate change adaptation partnership with the City of Durban, South Africa. Five city to city learning exchanges have taken place since 2015. Through this partnership, principles for best adaptation and risk reduction practice have been shared, and reportable progress has been achieved. This includes the establishment of a climate change directorate in Pemba and a commitment to the Compact of Mayors by Quelimane and Nacala, with the latter having developed a greenhouse gas inventory. In November 2017, these cities assumed a regional lead by forming the Compact of Coastal Cities in Mozambique, a climate change-focussed partnership to coordinate a regional response.
During August and September 2017, Durban and Nacala officials engaged in a series of exchange visits that has resulted in the development of an action plan by Nacala. The City will partner with their local harbour port authority and form a stakeholder forum to address siltation in the port from the erosion gullies. Communities will be employed to rehabilitate and manage erosion gullies with funding for the management being sought from the partnership or national government, given that Nacala is a key national priority area. The action plan plays to the strengths of the City: by providing poor resident communities with employment opportunities, the City is more likely to secure compliance with planning by-laws, which should reduce future erosion gullies developing. The avoided annual costs of closure of the harbour following extreme weather events could be used as a motivation for funding the management of erosion in the gullies, and communities will benefit by a reduction in risk through a stabilised landscape.
This approach is consistent with the Community- Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (CEBA) approach promoted by the Durban Adaptation Charter. It provides a model for climate change adaptation and risk reduction implementation that can be self-funded within African cities, while addressing socio-economic and development challenges. More information can be found on the Durban Adaptation Charter website and in the forthcoming 2017 Annual Report.
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