Adaptation Report

How to Develop a Business Case - A Guide from Durban

Adaptation - Durban 2

A Guide to Creating a Business Case for Transformative Riverine Management

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  • Published August 2022
  • Authors Valerie Brown (CFF) Hlompho Vivian (CFF) City of Durban

Critical to the successful implementation of any climate infrastructure project is the development of a viable business case. A business case quantifies and articulates the costs and benefits of the climate project across different sectors in a city. It makes the case for systems-thinking, cross-sectoral collaboration, and investment from the city and external stakeholders (e.g. private landowners, businesses, donors). A great business case is key to achieving the ambitious goals of any climate project. 

This guide provides an account of the city of Durban’s approach to developing its business case. Durban’s example provides a scalable and replicable model for how cities across the world can manage and maintain their waterways while maximising socio-economic benefits. Durban’s business case development process can be adapted for specific local conditions and contexts and replicated across cities implementing similar climate projects. This guide was co-created by the city of Durban and the C40 Cities Finance Facility

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In 2021 the city of Durban finalised their business case for the Transformative Riverine Management Programme (TRMP). ​​The TRMP builds on a range of transformative river management projects in Durban and Kwa Zulu Natal, notably including the 7-year-old Sihlanzimvelo stream cleaning programme. This programme involves utilising community co-operatives for stream management. In doing so it builds enterprises and creates jobs: a good example of what is called the “Green New Deal” or transformative adaptation. This model will be expanded to a broad range of river conditions, ecological infrastructures, land ownership and land use conditions to anchor the green economy and develop the social and economic capital of the city.  

Durban’s Business Case uses cost-benefit analysis to persuade a range of funders including the municipality itself, businesses and property owners in Durban and global climate funders to make the investments required.  It is grounded in GIS-based vulnerability assessment linked to an advanced hydrological model and the best available climate circulation models.

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