At the COP20 in Lima, ICLEI will once again highlight the outstanding contributions of local governments to the fight against climate change. Some examples are offered by South African municipalities, who are increasingly implementing projects to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as part of their participation in the international flagship project: Promoting Low Emission Urban Development Strategies in Emerging Economy Countries (Urban-LEDS).
The Urban-LEDS project runs from 2012 to 2015 and engages local authorities in Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa. Participating municipalities develop strategies and action plans to re-programme urban development for a low-carbon future, by following ICLEI’s GreenClimateCities programme.
In South Africa, the KwaDukuza Municipality in KwaZulu, Natal, has prioritised the immediate pilot rollout of 500 hotboxes (insulated passive cookers) to members of the local community. The project aims to help local citizens to reduce their energy consumption costs (and fire hazards associated with cooking) while improving their health and reducing food wastage. In Mpumalanga’s Steve Tshwete Local Municipality, the Urban-LEDS project will initially support the development and implementation of a green building policy, and opportunities to introduce large-scale measures to save both water and energy in the municipal water system are being investigated.
Project successes and learning were shared at a special Project Advisory Group side-meeting of the “National Climate Change Response Dialogue”, in Midrand, Gauteng, on Tuesday 11th November, 2014. During the session, Sikhumbuzo Hlongwane, Executive Director of Economic Development and Planning at KwaDukuza Municipality, explained how the municipality is benefitting from and building on the activities in the project. He noted that: “With ICLEI Africa’s long-term support through the Urban-LEDS project we are capacitating our staff, forging local partnerships, and charting a path for a low-emission and prosperous future for our municipality”.
Sarah Birch, Manager of Climate Change and Energy, at ICLEI Africa, stated: “We encourage and invite our partners to join with us, to up-scale these initiatives and catalyse even greater collective action together. By supporting many of the municipalities in South Africa to report their commitments, performances and actions to the carbonn Climate Registry, we can increase support, recognition and funding for transformative local efforts to deliver low emission development”.
In the remaining year of the project, comprehensive low-emission strategic frameworks and action plans will be completed in two municipalities. Project longevity and sustainability will be secured through seeking funding for larger-scale interventions and supporting municipalities to integrate projects and policies into local strategies and plans. ICLEI Africa is actively seeking partners interested in further supporting these and other municipalities with expertise, technical support and funding – in both the existing Urban-LEDS project and through other future project opportunities.
To learn more about the Urban-LEDS project, please visit the website.