Exploring ecosystem-based adaptation in Durban, South Africa: “learning-by-doing” at the local government coal face

Posted on: 18 Apr 2015 / Submitted by: Ping

The lack of progress in establishing ambitious and legally binding global mitigation targets means that the need for locally based climate change adaptation will increase in vulnerable localities such as Africa. Within this context, “ecosystem-based adaptation” (EBA) is being promoted as a cost-effective and sustainable approach to improving adaptive capacity. Experience with the ongoing development of Durban’s Municipal Climate Protection Programme indicates that achieving EBA in cities means moving beyond the conceptualization of a uniform, one-size-fits-all layer of street trees and parks to a more detailed understanding of the complex ecology of indigenous ecosystems and their resilience under climate change conditions. It also means engaging with the role that this “bio-infrastructure” plays in improving the quality of life and socioeconomic opportunities of the most vulnerable human communities. Despite the long-term sustainability gains of this approach, implementation in Durban has been shown to be both technically challenging and resource intensive. The close association between human and ecological systems in addressing climate change adaptation has also led to the development of the concept of “community ecosystem-based adaptation”.

Debra Roberts et al.
Year of publication:
Type of publication:
Journal article
SAGE Journals
Cross Cutting:
Awareness raising
Community participation