On July 7th and 8th, the C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF) held a handover ceremony of the Transformative River Management Programme (TRMP) in Durban to commemorate the fruitful cooperation with eThekwini Municipality.
The CFF has been actively supporting eThekwini Municipality to develop the TRMP for the past 4 years. This has involved developing a 10-year business case and cost benefit analysis, including a detailed implementation plan, to adapt 7400km of rivers and streams to mitigate the impacts of climate change .
The TRMP builds on a range of former transformative river management projects in Durban and KwaZulu-Natal, notably including the 7- year-old Sihlanzimvelo stream cleaning programme. The TRMP adapts Durban’s rivers and streams to cope with climate change impacts. Interventions utilise community co-operatives to restore the waterways’ natural role as safe, healthy spaces whilst creating green jobs: a good example of what is called the “Green New Deal” or transformative adaptation. So far, the TRMP has been implemented on 550 km of rivers and streams in Durban.
Attendees at the handover ceremony included the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Mr. Sihle Zikalala, the Mayor of eThekwini Municipality, Mr. Mxolisi Kaunda, KwaZulu-Natal’s Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Mr. Ravi Pillay, Development Councillor Mr. Christian Gruen, and representatives from two of the donor organisations; the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Agence française de développement (AFD). The CFF was represented by Mr. Hastings Chikoko (Regional Managing Director for Africa, C40 Cities), Mr. Michael Neulinger (City Coordinator) and Mr. Shahid Solomon (Senior Project Advisor).
Rivers are not only responsible for providing water, but they also help regulate the impacts of heavy rain and floods- if well managed. Therefore, putting necessary resources in our rivers and catchments must be central to the city’s climate adaptation response
Mayor Kaunda expressed sincere gratitude towards the national and international partners for supporting Durban’s efforts to become a climate-resilient city. He underlined the increasing number of climate-change related events, such as the devastating floods across the KwaZulu-Natal province in April, but also recognised droughts, rising sea levels and temperatures. Mayor Kaunda further emphasized the critical role of a climate adaptation response, especially for vulnerable populations and economies. He stressed the importance of nature-based solutions to help cities adapt to climate change, which seek to both mitigate climate change and empower communities by creating jobs, as evidenced by the TRMP model. Therefore, the programme ties in perfectly with the city’s vision of building the social-solidarity economy.
The Kwa Zulu- Natal province has already started replicating the TRMP model in five pilot municipalities with ambitions to roll it out further.
Mr. Chikoko of C40 pointed out that the TRMP provides an inclusive model for other city leaders across the African continent to replicate and adapt to build climate resilience for all city residents.