Johannesburg

South Africa
Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba, Elected 2016

Johannesburg in our Blog

Today, C40 announced the 35 finalists competing in ten urban climate action categories for the fourth-annual C40 Cities Awards, sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies and BYD. The winners will be announced on December 1, 2016, at a ceremony in Mexico City, held alongside the sixth biennial C40 Mayors Summit.

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​The unprecedented growth of cities in emerging economies, coupled with the legacy of apartheid in South Africa has, since the early 1990s, led to a rapid increase in informal settlements, or slums, in Johannesburg.

As the economic heartland of South Africa, it is estimated that Johannesburg receives more than 10,000 new citizens each month. Inadequate provision of shelter, distorted land and housing policies, have led to the growth in informal settlements where these migrants from within and outside the borders of South Africa come to settle.

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At the start of December 2015, all eyes were on Paris for the COP21 climate negotiations, regarded by many as a pivotal moment in determining global climate action. C40 was fortunate to be there on the ground to help showcase innovative and effective climate actions taking place in the world’s cities. Through a series of fantastic events at Paris City Hall, Le Bourget and other iconic locations around the city, mayors from around the world gathered to celebrate successful projects and plans, share their stories and knowledge, voice their ideas, and establish opportunities for action over the next 5 years and beyond.

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In March of this year, the City of Johannesburg hosted a regional workshop on emissions measurement and reporting for C40 cities in Africa. At this workshop it was clear that African cities are not only determined to reduce GHG emissions, they are interested in measuring, reporting and publicly disclosing emissions data.

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This month, C40 – in partnership with CDP – convened a workshop on emissions measurement and reporting for all C40 cities in Africa. Hosted by the City of Johannesburg, the workshop focused on building cities’ capacity to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, develop climate action plans, and collect and report on climate data. Representatives from Addis Ababa, Cape Town, Dar es Salaam, Durban, Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi, and Tshwane gathered to discuss solutions to regional challenges to measurement and reporting. 

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What climate risks does the city of Venice face? What actions has Sydney undertaken to prepare for future heatwaves? What has Paris done to reduce its carbon footprint? The answers to these questions and more are now available in 10 In Focus City Reports that provide insight into how the world's leading cities are becoming more sustainable.

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Gunjan Parik, Head of C40’s Transportation Initiative, spoke with city representatives Lisa Seftel and Jeff Ngcobo (Johannesburg) and Juanjo Mendez and Manuela Lopez Menendez (Buenos Aires) to find out more about their cities’ motivation and vision for leading the network. 

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The C40 News Team interviewed Executive Mayor Tau, who spoke candidly about the responsibility and honor of hosting the C40 Summit and showcased some of the critical programmes the City of Johannesburg has already begun implementing in an effort to reduce its emissions. These include solar water heaters, a biogas-to-energy plant and infrastructure upgrades, as outlined in his recent State of the City speech.

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Africa’s story is slowly changing from a region of poverty and disease to one with a proven track record of economic progress. It has been widely reported that 7 of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world come from Africa. The 2012 Annual Development Effectiveness Report by the African Development Bank indicates that a third of Africa’s countries have recorded a GDP growth of more than 6%, and the percentage of the population living below poverty line dropped to 39% in 2012 from 51% in 2005.

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This week, C40 Chair and New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg held a press conference with the Mayor of Johannesburg, Mpho Parks Tau, announcing the 2014 C40 Mayors Summit. Mayor Tau said that the summit is “a historic moment for Johannesburg.” But when the mayors, their staff members, and climate experts gather in 2014, they will not be working from a blank slate. It will be the fifth summit of its kind, all of which have proven to be key moments to accelerate the C40 memberships’ efforts to further reduce carbon emissions and improve the quality of life in their cities.

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