The C40 Cities Finance Facility have offered to help Durban develop a business case to self-fund community-based management of thousands of kilometres of its watercourses. The initiative will provide multiple-co-benefits like solid waste and alien invasive plant reduction, improvement of its biodiversity and reduction of poverty. It’s about improving the lives of Durban communities.


Project is vital to building Durban’s resilience against the threats of climate change

Durban, South Africa (14 December 2017) – Durban’s most vulnerable and poor communities will be better protected from flooding as the city’s watercourses are cleared of litter and alien vegetation, and restored with indigenous vegetation. The City of Durban’s Sihlanzimvelo initiative, supported by the C40 Cities Finance Facility, will help Durban’s infrastructure to cope with the increase in storms and heavy rainfall caused by climate change. The project is conceptualised around the City’s waterways providing ecosystem services analogous to that provided by water-related built infrastructure. The scheme uses community co-operatives to manage small stretches of streams, ensuring coverage of the whole network and creating employment opportunities across the city. The project seeks to implement, at a city-wide scale, the Sihlanzimvelo programme, which is currently being piloted in two areas of the city. C40 and the project organisers are hoping that, should this approach prove to be successful, it will provide a suitable model for African river systems management.

Durban has been selected as the third city to receive technical support from the CFF. The CFF assistance will include assessments of the Sihlanzimvelo pilot to understand the economic and social benefits of scaling up the project. A private-sector engagement strategy will be developed to support the City of Durban in attracting partners for the project.

The CFF was launched during the COP21, Paris Agreement negotiations in December 2015. It is currently funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Government of the United Kingdom, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Delivery of technical assistance is coordinated jointly by C40 and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

“As one of the many inspiring and powerful women leaders from across the C40 network, Mayor Gumede, is building the resilience of Durban against the impacts of climate change,” said Mayor of Paris and C40 Chair, Anne Hidalgo. “I am delighted that the C40 Cities Finance Facility have offered to support this initiative to protect the residents of Durban and provide a model for other cities across the region to learn from.”

“Durban places the city’s most vulnerable and poor at the centre of its climate change response by providing employment opportunities through the rehabilitation of its natural systems” said Zandile Gumede, Mayor of Durban “We call it Community- Ecosystem- based Adaptation. Through the C40 Cities Finance Facility, we hope to build the business case for the city to self-finance its climate change work, through the Sihlanzimvelo programme.”

Research by C40 identified access to finance as one of the most significant barriers that mayors and city leaders face in delivering on their climate change plans for their cities. This challenge is particularly acute in cities from developing countries and emerging economies where there is a shortage of expertise in securing investment for infrastructure projects. The CFF’s technical experts will ensure city officials are fully involved in the project preparation, thereby developing capacity within each city government. Successful financing and project structuring models and mechanisms will be shared with other cities across the C40 network and beyond, creating replicable models that have impacts far beyond the individual cities involved.

The CFF is currently supporting projects in two other cities. Bogotá is building a first-of-its-kind 25-kilometre bicycle highway connecting citizens from low, middle and high-income neighbourhoods to work, education and recreation opportunities.  Mexico City is implementing a Green Corridor on the major thoroughfare of Eje 8 Sur, by purchasing a fleet of at least 100 electric buses. The new bus lane will be 22km long and serve an estimated 160,000 users daily.


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Notes to Editors:

The C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF) facilitates access to finance for climate change mitigation and resilience projects in urban areas by providing technical assistance to develop cities’ sustainability priorities into bankable investment proposals. Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Government of the United Kingdom and the United States Agency for International Development, the initiative is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH together with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. Bogotá, Durban and Mexico City are the first cities to receive technical assistance from the CFF.

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