Putting community at the center, KwaDukuza develops a low-carbon vision for 2030

urban ledsWhere once stood the compound of the proud Zulu king Shaka, now live the 250,000 inhabitants of KwaDukuza Municipality.

One of the two Urban-LEDS model cities in South Africa, KwaDukuza has so far been very active in forging a path to sustainability, striving to be an environmentally sustainable municipality that anticipates, manages and reduces its vulnerability to potential global and local environmental shocks, working to drastically reduce its impacts on the natural resources and the environment.

Urban-LEDS stands for Urban Low Emissions Development Strategy. Each strategy defines a pathway for a city to move to a low emission, green and inclusive urban economy. The Urban-LEDS project, funded by the European Commission, and implemented by UN-Habitat and ICLEI, has the objective of enhancing the transition to low emission urban development in four emerging economy countries. Working Methodology for the cities in the Urban-LEDS project is the GreenClimateCities (GCC) Program provided by ICLEI, A comprehensive climate change mitigation program for local governments providing methodology, expert assistance and a network of cities committed to Low Emissions Development.

KwaDukuza’s main priorities are Green Economy, Green buildings and spatial planning, Integrated planning. Growing at more than 3% yearly, KwaDukuza is determined in choosing a sustainable low-carbon urban development.

In a recent collaborative scenario planning process, which was creatively shared with the local community, local stakeholders laid the foundation for a Low-Emission Action Plan, to be drafted later this year. But even before the full action plan is finalized, the municipality is already implementing prioritized programs and actions. One such project includes the distribution of 500 hotboxes, or passive cookers, to the local community.

The hotboxes (or, as they are called, “wonderbags”) are a particular brand of insulated passive cooking (and cooling) device that can be used as a complementary energy saving technology for cooking, also helping promote awareness about energy consumption. They help alleviating energy poverty, saving CO2 and minimizing food waste, while improving safety and health from reduced air pollution and fire hazard.

“The selection as one of the seven municipalities in South Africa to participate in the Urban-LEDS Programme is a testament to our hard work and dedication in ensuring that or vision for 2030 is achieved and to our unyielding commitment to service delivery” says Ricardo Mthembu, mayor of KwaDukuza.

Community involvement in planning and implementing a low-carbon vision for 2030 is crucial in KwaDukuza, as a number of awareness-raising and participative initiatives have proved. In June, ICLEI collaborated with the DramAidE theatre group to bring the “business-as-usual” future for KwaDukuza to life, which was followed by a future visioning exercise and a debate session that allowed the community to share their ideas about environmental preservation. Also schools in the area were involved through a song contest.

KwaDukuza reports to the carbonn Climate Registry.


To learn more about the Urban-LEDS project, please visit the website.