21 February 2018
For immediate release
Durban and Bremen Partner on Climate Change Leadership Empowerment Programme
To broaden the knowledge base and empower communities on climate change activities, Durban and the City of Bremen in Germany launched a three-year Oceans Champions Empowerment Programme today, 21 February at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
The Programme which ends in April 2020, aims to transfer skills that will contribute to the protection of the sea, the reduction of pollution and also have an effect on climate protection especially in coastal areas around eThekwini.
Speaking at the launch, eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede said the Programme mainly targets young people. She said approximately 50 youth between the ages of 14 to 25 who have a good knowledge on the role of oceans in the global ecosystem and marine pollution were being sought to be part of the Programme.
“About 90 percent of the project funding will be from the German Service Agency who have already injected R7.5 million to kick-start this learning exchange. We will be soon be sending out a call for applications from youth who have finished school and want to participate in the Programme,” she said.
Mayor Gumede said at the core of the Municipal Climate Change Strategy is the empowerment of youth to respond to issues of climate change and the broader environmental sustainability sector.
Mayor Gumede, who is also the Vice-Chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, said matters of the environment are very close to her heart, adding that this initiative will assist in delivering sustainable development goals. “I am confident that this partnership will be a success as both cities are pioneers in the space of climate change.”
Bremen and Durban have an existing sister city relationship and officially twinned in 2011 and have hosted a number of climate change pilot projects since then. The most recent one being the restoration of Wetlands for Climate Change Adaptation within the catchment of the Umhlangane River.
Central to the Oceans Champions Empowerment Programme, which will be facilitated by experts, includes building up a respective network between two cities which will be visible to the public. Participants will take part in debates on marine pollution, reforestation of mangroves and the cleaning of beaches as topics of discussion. They will also be expected to come up with innovative methods on coastal and marine conservation.
During the launch, Mayor Gumede called on the private sector to partner with the Municipality in supporting this initiative as the selected youth will need varying levels of support from the different stakeholders in executing their pilot projects as well as with the roundtable discussions.
The Municipality’s Head of Development Planning, Environment and Management Unit Musa Mbhele said a critical aspect of the venture is ensuring that it benefits people that were previously excluded from participating in coastal activities due to historical reasons.
“Hence we are targeting the youth so that they grow up knowledgeable on these issues,” he said.
Mbhele said the project will be carefully monitored to ensure its success. He said participants will receive exposure by having their stands displayed at the upcoming International Association for Impact Assessment Conference being held from 16 to 19 May, at the Sustainable Living Expo being held in the City in August as well as at the Wild Ocean’s Science Seminar being held from 17 to 19 September.
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Head of Communications, Tozi Mthethwa.
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