Durban's plan to offset COP 17 footprint
15 November 2011
An estimated 15 000 tons of CO2 is expected to be produced during the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, but Durban has a plan to offset the event's carbon footprint in full - and then some.
The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change takes place in Durban from 28 November to 9 December.
The estimate of the event's footprint is based on the assumption that 25 000 people will visit the city during the conference, along with related factors like accommodation, conference venues, transportation and waste removal logistics.
Community Ecosystem Based Adaptation (Ceba)
The response takes the form of an initiative called Community Ecosystem Based Adaptation (Ceba), a joint venture between the Wildlands Conservation Trust and the eThekwini municipality. Ceba focuses on the link between communities and the ecosystems and ways in which they can be supported.
According to eThekwini Environmental Planning and Climate Protection deputy head, Debra Roberts, the Durban Ceba Initiative is one of the most exciting elements of the city's broader COP 17 greening programme.
Delegates at COP17 will be able to buy "Ceba credits" to offset the carbon footprint of the event.
"It has been adopted as the official voluntary offset mechanism for COP 17," said Roberts. "Delegates, corporates and residents of Durban will be able to contribute towards the project by buying 'Ceba credits' to play their part in helping offset the environmental impact associated with hosting COP 17."
National government is said to be focusing on the other aspects of the carbon footprint, such as international air travel. The city has been more concerned with the impact on energy and water resources.
uMbilo River catchment project
The first Ceba project will be the restoration and reforestation of the uMbilo River catchment.
Adaptation will be prioritised to counter the effects of the carbon footprint. Ceba will focus on communities restoring their natural ecosystems, creating cleaner and greener neighbourhoods.
Each Ceba credit will cost about US$10 (between R80 and R100), and the money raised will be used for the uMbilo River catchment project.
Roberts said unemployed people from the neighbouring communities will then be employed as "green collar" workers to first remove alien plants and trees. The project also involves the planting of indigenous plants and trees and restoration of the riverine, wetland and grassland systems.
Initial funding for the project will come from the city, the corporate sector and through the Wildlands Conservation Trust.
"We want this project to not only benefit the ecological sustainability of the river, but the social sustainability of poor communities along it," said Roberts.
For more information, visit www.durbanceba.org.