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City of Cape Town‘s new climate change strategy finalised

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The City of Cape Town’s Climate Change Strategy is now available online as a digital publication on the City’s website. Based on public input, a focus area of ecosystem health and human health and wellbeing was included in the final strategy. The City’s vision is to help make Cape Town a climate resilient, resource efficient, and carbon neutral city that enables inclusive economic development and healthy, thriving communities and ecosystems.

Credit City of Cape Town

Climate change is of significant concern to the City because of immediate and long-term impacts. The City faces the dual challenges of working to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to make the city resilient to future climate shocks and stresses, while also working to ensure that we contribute to global efforts to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.

There is also a need to ensure that Cape Town is not left behind in a rapidly changing global economy that is shifting toward carbon neutrality.

During the public participation process between September and October 2020, over 900 comments were received. These were considered and included in the final version of the strategy. These comments significantly strengthened the strategy and highlighted that the residents of Cape Town take a great interest in climate change and how the City, its residents, organisations and businesses are responding to this challenge.

Based on the comments received, a new cross-cutting work area, focused on ecosystem health as well as human health and wellbeing, was added to the strategy.

“The strategy confirms the City’s commitment to take the necessary action to adapt to the impacts of climate change, to mitigate climate change and significantly reduce carbon emissions, and to harness the opportunities of a new green economy. Taking a proactive approach to climate change will also assist Cape Town’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic as the green economy offers new opportunities to enterprises and jobseekers. A proactive response to climate change also means seeking new ways to deliver essential services in a more inclusive, cost-effective and sustainable manner. Proactive planning and implementation to address anticipated impacts will also be more cost effective in the long-term”, said the City’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato.

The Strategy includes ten core principles for a climate resilient and carbon neutral future:

  1. Resilience: increasingly and progressively strengthening resilience and reducing the vulnerability of Cape Town’s environment, communities, and economy.
  2. Economic inclusiveness: addressing the socio-economic challenges and impacts of climate change and optimising the socio-economic opportunities offered by climate change response.
  3. Embedded sustainability: retaining, restoring, expanding, and optimising environmental sustainability, ecosystem functioning, and green infrastructure.
  4. Carbon neutrality: carbon neutrality and carbon neutral development within the residential, commercial, industrial, transport, and waste sectors.
  5. Health and well-being: promoting human health and well-being and ensuring that the health impacts of both climate change and a carbon intensive economy are addressed.
  6. Collaboration and integration: continued building of partnerships and collaboration with external organisations and entities focused on addressing climate change.
  7. Climate responsive urban development: managing urban growth and development in a way that enables urban efficiencies, economic vitality, climate resilience, and improved access to opportunities.
  8. Equitable and inclusive service delivery: ensuring that climate change response is implemented in an equitable and inclusive manner that recognizes the needs of the most vulnerable.
  9. Precautionary principle: taking a risk-averse and cautious approach to decision-making which considers the limits of current knowledge about the consequences of decisions and actions in the context of climate change.
  10. Innovation and transformational planning: promoting innovation in responding to climate change and taking a transformative approach to planning for climate change.

Strategic focus and cross-cutting work areas to reduce emissions and adapt to a changing future:

  1. Urban cooling and heat responsiveness
  2. Water security and drought readiness
  3. Water sensitivity, flood -readiness and storm management
  4. Coastal management and resilience
  5. Managing fire risk and responsiveness
  6. Spatial and resource inclusivity
  7. Clean energy for work creation and economic development
  8. Zero emission buildings and precincts
  9. Mobility for quality of life and livelihoods
  10. Circular waste economy
  11. Mainstreaming, governance, research, and knowledge management
  12. Economic impacts and green economy opportunities
  13. Business models, revenue and financing climate change response
  14. Communication, collaboration and skills development
  15. Promote, protect, and enhance human and ecosystem health

“The City recognises that the economic, health and mental well-being impacts of Covid-19 have been severe. We know that it can be difficult to think about climate change at a time like this when everyone is already experiencing much stress and worry. However, we know that climate change hasn’t gone away and is continuing to pose a significant challenge at the same time as we are experiencing the effects of the pandemic. This new Climate Change Strategy is therefore an important step in setting the City on the right path for the future and ensuring that we can build back better. The recently launched ‘Let’s Act for a Stronger Cape Town Campaign’ encourages residents and business to play their part in responding to climate change, where they can, as well as providing information on the many ways that the City is already taking action to address this threat. Importantly, this needs a collective effort, and we will only be able to take effective climate action when we all play our part,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy and Climate Change, Councillor Phindile Maxiti.

The strategy is available here: Climate Change Strategy

For more information, click here.