Climate change report released

2016-03-23 06:00


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THE World Bank recently released a report on the impact rapid urbanisation and climate­ change has had on eThekwini’s environment.
The report titled “Promoting Green Urban Development in African Cities”, provides an urban environmental profile of the city of eThekwini.
It found that the natural environment of eThekwini, located in a global­ biodiversity hot spot, has been put under severe pressure due to various drivers including rapid urbanisation and climate change. These have contributed to the degradation of the city’s environmental assets, such as rare and threatened ecosystems and rivers and coastal wetlands, undermining human well-being and the economic prospects of the city, according to the report.
The city has developed in a fragmented pattern including high growth in peri-urban areas that has encroached into natural habitats and conservation areas, threatening the city’s long-term sustainability as the degradation of the city’s natural resource base has direct economic and financial costs.
eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo welcomed the partnership between the city and the World Bank as well as the report.
“The report confirms that our environment is under stress due to a range of drivers, but there are some opportunities, and by highlighting these and the contribution that the city’s natural resource base makes to development, this document will help us to more effectively promote sustainable and inclusive development,” he said.
Nxumalo said even though our municipality is a global leader in aspects of environmental management, the quality of our natural environment continues to decline in the face of multiple threats like urbanisation and urban sprawl, pollution, invasive alien species and unsustainable harvesting of natural resources and climate change.
“The situation in Durban suggests that current policy, law, governance and environmental management efforts need to be reviewed to prevent this degradation. Under conditions of global environmental change, enhanced protection of ecologically viable­ ecosystems is becoming increasingly important in meeting the health, social, cultural and economic needs of urban communities,” said Nxumalo.
Fortunately, eThekwini starts from a relatively strong position as the report found that while the city faces challenges in implementing and enforcing environmental regulations, it compares favourably with other cities in terms of remaining national assets and on environmental management in areas such as conservation planning, developing an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and resiliency planning for climate change adaptation. - Supplied.

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