Municipal Institute Of LearningMILE - Municipal Institute Of Learning
Hands-on Learning about Climate Change!
Virginie Dago. Project manager at CEFEB
and Deputy Mayor of eThekwini Municipality-
Nomvuzo Shabalala, participating in the CCLE.
International delegates have converged in Durban for the biggest climate change conference to hit the planet- COP 17 / CMP 7. The city is abuzz, the energy is high, and so are the stakes! Maximising on the opportunity presented by having local government decision-makers attending COP 17/CMP 7 in the city, eThekwini municipality, through its Municipal Institute of Learning in partnership with CEFEB, AFD have hosted an intensive two day Climate Change Learning Exchange(CCLE) at the Durban City Hall. Conceptualised and championed by the City’s Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department (EPCPD) this first ever Climate Change Learning exchanged aimed at enhancing the capacity of local government officials and politicians working in cities from 13 countries around the world.

Day one of the CCLE focussed on experiences with climate change in terms of causes and the effects that climate change is having in Africa and other countries internationally. Some of the highlights included Derek Morgan, Senior Manager at the Energy Office at eThekwini shared eThekwini’s experiences with Climate Change. This was followed by Dr Sean O’ Donoghue and Megan Spires from eThekwini’s EPCPD, who spoke about how to move from mitigation to adaptation. An exciting panel discussion was then held with climate change scientists and engineers from eThekwini who shared their thoughts and experiences.

Having set the scene, participants then heard a real-life case study from David Uushona from Walvis Bay who told the Walvis Bay climate change story. Some of the City’s key climate change challenges include rising sea levels, river flooding, heavy rainfall and strong winds. Participants working in groups spent the afternoon brainstorming what adaptation measures they would implement to respond to the Walvis Bay challenges. 

Day Two kicked off with group-work again, this time with groups now assessing their responses using a set of criteria developed by Lucy Fairhurst from ICLEI. This exercise proved very interesting as it offered participants on opportunity to start a process of critical thinking around how cities can and should be responding. Before morning tea, David Uushona then shared in plenary exactly what Walvis Bay actually plans to do, to make Walvis Bay a more resilient port city, from stabilising  their sandpit to implementing a dewatering abstraction system.

Enthused by the response from Walvis Bay, participants from Vietnam, Senegal and Ghana also shared their stories around how their cities are responding to climate change. The event ended with Jo Boulle from the EPCPD presenting the latest developments on COP 17/CMP 7 and a short overview from Dr Sean O’ Donoghue on the exciting field trip to the Buffelsdraai reforestation project that happened after lunch.

Note that a detailed learning note sponsored by the Sustainable Cities International Network (SCIN) will be available from the SCIN site and this website shortly.

For those who were unable to attend the event you can watch the Climate Change Learning Exchange, clicking here:

Feel free to download all the presentations from the learning exchange by clicking here: Multimedia Library.

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