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D’RAP hosts Research Symposium
EThekwini Municipality’s Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department (EPCPD), in partnership with the Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) hosted their annual year-end Research Symposium Webinar on 15th of November 2021. 

The symposium is part of the Durban Action Research Partnership (D'RAP) Program. It features completed research supported by the EPCPD within the city -university partnership. The City engages with the completed research as an evidence base for policy decision making. The City has a long-standing relationship within the structured programme.

The Durban Research Action Partnership (DRAP) is a research partnership which was formed to improve our understanding of the impacts of climate change and the role of ecological infrastructure in delivering ecosystem services. D’RAP has embarked on various environmental projects creating a platform where academic researchers work closely with municipal officials in addressing issues which are important to the work of the city. It has focused on using science-oriented solutions to help the city of Durban to achieve better sustainability, climate adaptation and resilience to climate change.

At the symposium fourteen UKZN post graduate students shared key findings from research projects. Student presentations covered research on clean water, fish ecology, ecosystem services, restoration, natural resource management, sustainability, and transdisciplinary research. The informative presentations provided the basis for fruitful engagement amongst participants during the breakout sessions. 

Prof Rob Slotow the UKZN lead for the D'RAP partnership said that it was enlightening to see the results. Students have the potential to influence thinking going forward in terms of evidence-based research.

EPCPD Senior Manager, Dr Sean O'Donoghue mentioned that the D’RAP programme is planning for a fourth three-year research programme, following the completion of the third phase this year. “During phase four we will be designing for socio-economic and environmental outcomes in a more integrated way, placing a strong emphasis on monitoring and evaluation.”

MILE Program Manager, Dr Collin Pillay mentioned that the symposium findings were very insightful and will positively contribute to the City’s policy discussions. “Student outputs continue to inspire as these evidence-based research products will contribute to our policy discussions, program revisions and vision setting.”

Students Phakamani Linda Masuku, Siphosakhe Mdluli and Leawin Africa received book-voucher awards for their presentations at the symposium. 

The symposium has helped identify integrated adaptation frameworks and improvements in feasible ecological restoration. It is envisioned that the findings, which will be published by MILE, will assist in developing relevant strategies and resilience mechanisms to deal with the various social and environmental changes facing the City.

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 D'RAP Symposium 2021

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