South African coastal cities' response to climate change adaptation Ziervogel, Gina Parnell, Susan Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften, Forschungsstelle für Umweltpolitik
South African coastal cities' response to climate change adaptation
moving from projects to process
Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften, Forschungsstelle für Umweltpolitik
Rising rates of urbanization accompanied by increasing consumption puts the spotlight on how cities can mitigate and adapt to climate change (Wilbankset al. 2007; Sattherthwaiteet al. 2007). Globally, cities are starting to develop policies and plans to adapt to the impacts of climate change (Birkmann et al, 2010; Corburn, 2009; Horton et al. 2010). This is in part driven by the international scientific community that is encouraging adaptation as an important and urgent way to complement on-going mitigation efforts, that have formerly tended to dominate policies and finance (Romero-Lankao 2008). However, in some cases these emerging responses reflect a bottom-up awareness of the need to better plan for climate variability in order to increase the resilience of cities and protect its inhabitants.
Many cities in the global South have been slower to develop adaptation responses than some cities in the global North. However, two cities in South Africa, eThekwini and the City of Cape Town, have been leaders in establishing adaptation policies and plans (Roberts 2008, Cartwright et al. 2008, Sattherthwaite 2007, Mukheibir and Ziervogel 2007). Exploring how these have been successful and what the challenges have been is important in developing lessons for other global South cities, where there are large numbers of people exposed to climate hazards. Because climate impacts are one of numerous other challenges, it is necessary to carefully position adaptation within a complex political and institutional landscape.
This paper focuses on the five major coastal cities in South Africa, namely the City of Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay, Buffalo City, eThekwini and Richards Bay. The analysis is based on interviews in each of these metros undertaken in early 2010 with 17 government actors all involved in adaptation in their different capacities.
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