Cities sign climate change adaptation charter

8th December 2011 By: Brindaveni Naidoo

The 'Durban Adaptation Charter for Local Governments', which was signed by more than 100 cities from around the world this week, stressed the need for mainstream climate change adaptation as a key informant of all local government development planning.

eThekwini municipality mayor James Nxumalo said achieving an agreement on the charter was significant in the international climate negotiations under way in Durban.

“The world’s urban population is growing rapidly and cities need to place adaptation at the core of their future urban development strategies and climate change response plans. Globally, local governments play a strategic role in addressing climate change because of their direct responsibilities in delivering services to communities.”

He added that cities have also been able to demonstrate leadership and innovation in finding solutions to the impacts of climate change.

“This charter will take local government forward in a partnership to deal with the many ecological, social and economic impacts that face cities around the world as a result of climate change.” 

Signatories to the charter committed to, besides others, determining climate risks through conducting impact and vulnerability assessments, preparing and implementing integrated, inclusive and long-term local adaptation strategies designed to reduce vulnerability and ensuring that adaptation strategies were aligned with mitigation strategies.

Further, it aimed to promote adaptation that recognises the needs of vulnerable communities and ensures sustainable local economic development, prioritising the role of functioning ecosystems as core municipal green infrastructures, seeking the creation of direct access to funding opportunities and developing a robust, transparent, measurable, reportable, and verifiable register.

The charter would also promote multilevel and integrated governance, advocating for partnerships with sub-national and national governments on local climate actions and promote partnerships at all levels, city-city cooperation and knowledge exchange.