Working for Ecosystems Programme – eThekwini Municipality

Errol Douwes, Kathryn E Terblanche1, Debra Roberts

1Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department, eThekwini Municipality, 166 KE Masinga Road, Durban, 4001

The City of Durban aims to be the most liveable City in Africa by 2020. However, climate change poses a significant and growing threat and could effectively derail the process required to reach this goal. A more sustainable, green economy which builds adaptable communities, and healthy ecosystems, must urgently be created if the predicted climate extremes and associated impacts are to be buffered against. The eThekwini Municipality’s Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department (EPCPD), in late 2006, initiated the ‘Working for Ecosystems’ (WFE) programme. The programme’s philosophy is to build holistic, positive interactions between local communities and the environment. In this regard, training, skills development, and employment opportunities are provided, all of which help alleviate poverty and empower community members. Improved environmental awareness also helps to ensure more self-sustaining communities which are better able to deal with the challenges of climate variability and climate change. A focus on school programmes is also ensuring that the youth are involved. This strong sustainable development focus is key to the Municipal Climate Protection Programme. Employees within the programme actively eradicate invasive alien plants (IAPs) in areas prioritised for environmental management, and business skills are honed so as to optimize work opportunities. Improved water flow and reduced soil erosion are just some of the benefits experienced by local people, livestock and biodiversity. Funding is currently limited to invasive alien plant control, but the EPCPD aims to expand the programme to include community awareness initiatives, training of tour guides, litter collection, and the establishment of indigenous nurseries. Work being done through WFE and related programmes is providing practical, real time experience of the potential that exists for developing a greener economy. An economy that prioritises the management and protection of the natural resources base is a critical element in sustaining socio-economic development in an increasingly uncertain and threshold laden future.

Presentation Topic

Working for Ecosystems Programme – eThekwini Municipality


Contact Ms Terblanche:

Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department, eThekwini Municipality, 166 KE Masinga Road, Durban, 4001


Email Ms Terblanche