The Climate Smart Cape Town Campaign Celebration

The Cape Town Green Map was part of the exciting Climate Smart Cape Town Campaign that created an effective awareness and presence at COP17 in Durban late last year. The legacy report from the campaign was handed over recently to the City.

Alderman Belinda Walker, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Environment and Spatial Planning, City of Cape Town spoke at the hand over of the report on the Climate Smart Cape Town Campaign.

When we launched Climate Smart Cape Town on 1 September last year it was with a sense of anticipation as to what the campaign might achieve. We have now arrived at the end of the campaign trail, as far as the first phase goes, and have come together today to take stock, reflect a little and celebrate what has been a successful collaboration of partners under the umbrella of the Cape Town Climate Change Coalition.

The launch provided an opportunity for coalition partners to sign up to a bold charter which committed us all to certain actions.  There was a loud call to “Take Action Cape Town” and today we are finding out what actions have been taken and to what extent the campaign has succeeded in its objectives.

From the beginning, the campaign set out to deliver products and make a difference, rather than simply remaining a talk-shop. We have already heard today from some of our coalition partners about some of the actions they took during the campaign to ensure that their commitment to the coalition charter was an expression of an intention to reduce the carbon footprint of their organisation.

Climate Smart Cape Town | Cape Town Green Map

I enjoyed being a part of the Climate Smart Cape Town team at the Climate Change Conference in Durban in December, which marked the climax of the campaign; there, Climate Smart Cape Town was well and truly put on the map.
We were proud to have won the award for the best stand at the Conference, demonstrating that we were indeed taking action in the best way possible.

It is hard to tell whether it was the innovative, off-the-grid design of milk crates and scaffolding, or the free Caturra coffee or cool mint-flavoured water during the warm days, but Climate Smart Cape Town was clearly the place to be in Durban in December and our team succeeded admirably in profiling Cape Town as a leading global climate change aware city - one of the key campaign objectives.

We also demonstrated, with our substantial programme of side events at our stand, that Climate Smart Cape Town was not simply a light communication campaign. Some of the world’s leading scientists and experts in their field led discussions on a range of topics, from sea level rise and coastal vulnerability to food security and the Green Economy.

We even hosted a live feed to Antarctica to check on the effects of Global Warming in the very deep south. Another area of significant achievement for the campaign was the degree of collaboration between partners, working together to effect best results in this important area of the city’s sustainability.

The attendance here today of so many of our coalition partners is an indicator of the support and enthusiasm from Civil Society, academic institutions, the private sector and Local and Provincial Government –  unprecedented in climate change work in Africa.

Well done team Climate Smart, and let’s see this degree of cooperation filter through to other areas of work in the city. One of the important by- products of the campaign was the derivation of a campaign position on climate change. In reading the 7-fold position statement, I noted that they echo the City’s strategic focus five pillars, so let me end by summarising this important position statement.

  1. Climate change is a global problem. We are all in this together. Our response to climate change must be a collective effort from all: government, business and civil society. This suggests to me the pillar of an Inclusive City.
  2. Climate change is primarily a socio-economic and development issue at the core of government planning. Climate change responses offer opportunities for changing to a more equitable, sustainable development path. This suggests Cape Town the Caring City.
  3. Energy underpins our lives, our economy and our future. Rapid and efficient roll-out of renewable sources and increased energy efficiency while also promoting economic development and job creation is an urgent priority.  If we meet our targets effectively, this will result in a Well Run City.
  4. There can be no more ‘business as usual’ in respect of climate change – there is an urgent need to  implement emissions mitigation and adaptation plans to reduce the city’s risk to a changed climate to avert disaster and protect our economy and communities. This suggests a Safe City
  5. We need to trust global knowledge and best practice as this provides the most reliable information to guide us at this critical time. Following global best practice suggests Cape Town a Safe City  
  6. Climate change presents opportunities to build a green economy, with job creation, community planning with better public transport and other services in a liveable city that enhances our natural legacy.  As an Opportunity City, let’s take full advantage.
  7. And finally, Climate change demands strong, bold leadership at government, business and community levels.  This may not relate to one of the five pillars, but suggests an umbrella, overarching all five.

Climate Smart Stand at COP 17 | Cape Town Green Map