Workshop report: CFF Transformative Riverine Management Learning Workshop
- LOCATION Port Elizabeth - South Africa
- DATE November 5
The climate emergency is already having an impact on cities across the world. The effects of a changing climate, such as increased precipitation, can be disastrous if combined with blocked rivers and streams and settlements in vulnerable, flood-prone areas. Durban suffered severe flooding incidents in October 2017 and April 2019. To alleviate this issue, eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality (Durban’s local government) has been pioneering for decades new approaches to restore the natural role of its waterways. These approaches combine ecosystem restoration, adaptation to climate change and the creation of economic opportunities for low-income populations. The C40 Cities Finance Facility is supporting the expansion of these ‘transformative riverine management projects’ (TRMP) across the whole city.
To help cities plan and design similar projects, the CFF organised a 1-day workshop on November 5, 2019, in Port Elizabeth, titled ‘How to Structure Transformative Riverine Management Projects in Cities: Lessons from eThekwini’. Participants included 6 local and district municipalities from KwaZulu-Natal (KwaDukuza LM, Msunduzi LM, Ugu DM, uMgungundlovu DM, uMhlathuze LM and eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality), City of Cape Town, Dar es Salaam, City of Tshwane and the Western Cape Government. The workshop was held on the sideline of the 3rd Water Resilient Cities Learning Event (‘Water as a Strategic Enabler for Economic Development in Cities’), organised by SALGA, SACN, GIZ NatuReS, USAID WASH-FIN and the 2030 Water Resources Group, in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality (Port Elizabeth’s local government).
The workshop offered an opportunity for eThekwini and the CFF to share lessons learned on how to establish transformative riverine management projects. These include the Sihlanzimvelo programme, the Aller River project and the Green Corridors Programme - lessons learned from the three projects are being collated in an upcoming publication. The workshop also aimed to foster an exchange of knowledge between South African municipalities working on water and economic development, as many are working in parallel on similar projects. Building on the Durban Adaptation Charter, a Central KwaZulu-Natal Climate Change Compact (CKZNCCC) now includes 17 municipalities with shared responsibility over catchments.
The workshop began with an introduction by Chumisa Thengwa, Acting Deputy Head: Environmental Planning and Climate Protection, and Zama Khuzwayo, C40 Programme Manager, Mayor’s Office, on the relationship between eThekwini and the CFF and how it is aligned strategically to the city’s climate change and service delivery objectives. This was followed by presentations (see below) on:
- The history of transformative riverine management in eThekwini, its objectives and the case for TRMP as a financially efficient, socially inclusive, climate resilience-building municipal service delivery model.
- The community partnerships approach used in Sihlanzimvelo, including the community co-op and community assessor models (and corresponding lessons learned and challenges).
- A comparison of different TRMP structures (municipal line function, special purpose vehicle, partnership with a community-based organisation) looking at governance, objectives, sustainability and outcomes.
- A summary of the strategy and process underway to build a case for adaptation finance for TRMP scale-up and replication in eThekwini – following an Adaptation Finance Colloquium held in Durban on October 1st.
The representatives attended the first day of the Water Resilient Cities Learning Event. The day’s proceedings focused on how investment in water resource management and services can enable local economic development and on best practices in water security planning from Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania and the Philippines.
The second day of the conference covered topics such as: the application of circular economy approaches in the water value chain, particularly energy capture, improves utility and city revenues; how to attract, apply and blend diverse capital sources; and city experiences with disruptive technology (‘smart cities’). The event targeted metropolitan and local municipalities, national and provincial officials responsible for water and sanitation, the Water Research Commission, and water and climate change experts.
The CFF aims for its impact to be catalytic and enable replication of its good practices in other municipalities. Therefore, this event was the first in a series of engagements designed to promote transformative riverine management projects in South Africa and beyond. The CFF is also developing similar knowledge and learning programmes around its projects in Dakar and Dar es Salaam. At the end of the workshop, delegates suggested topics for further discussion such as institutionalisation, linkages with finance officials and project packaging. These, along with other topics, will be covered in future events, including a planned repeat of the workshop in September 2020. They will also be covered in 3 reports to be published in the run-up to the workshop.