Nelson Mandela Bay is embarking on a proactive and comprehensive approach to addressing climate change, aiming to become a climate-resilient city within the next year. This initiative prioritises both adaptation and opportunity, recognising the challenges posed by climate change while also identifying pathways for positive development.
Key stakeholders, including the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, Nelson Mandela University, NMB Civil Society Coalition, MMC for Public Health, and the Presidential Climate Commission, have joined forces to develop a Climate Change Resilient Development Strategy Framework (CRDSF), signing a ground breaking pledge for a Climate Resilient Nelson Mandela Bay today at the Mendi Arts Centre, in New Brighton. This framework will serve as a roadmap for the city, guiding future climate-aware decisions and investments.
(Left to Right): Kelvin Naidoo (Chamber Deputy President), Monga Peter (NMB Civil Society Coalition Chairperson), Loyiso Dotwana (Chamber President) and Dr Andrew Muir (Chamber’s Immediate Past President) during the signing of the pledge to build a Climate Resilient City at the Mendi Arts Centre in New Brighton.
According to their pledge, the stakeholders recognise the significant socio-economic challenges faced by the metro, including poverty, unemployment, and limited access to resources. It also acknowledges that climate change threatens to exacerbate these issues, with increased risks of drought, extreme weather events, and environmental degradation.
However, the stakeholders emphasised the potential for positive change: “Through collaborative, city-wide efforts, we have the opportunity to adapt, mitigate, and build resilience to climate change.”
Chamber President Loyiso Dotwana says the Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) has identified the Bay as the site for a catalytic multi-stakeholder project to develop such a strategy framework that builds consensus and identifies pathways that show potential for positive development and revitalising communities and the economy. Wilderness Foundation Africa, with its team of local Bay experts, will be the implementing arm of the project.
The CRDSF will be developed through a consultative process, engaging a diverse range of stakeholders and drawing upon the best available science and data. It will identify pathways for sustainable development, leveraging the city’s existing initiatives like the NMBM Climate Change and Green Economy Action Plan.
Crucially, the framework aims to address existing vulnerabilities while also identifying emerging opportunities. For example, Nelson Mandela Bay’s reliance on the automotive industry necessitates strategic planning for the potential transition to electric vehicles. Similarly, the city’s unique natural resources and skilled workforce present an opportunity to become a leader in the renewable energy sector.
“This is not just about weathering the storm, it’s about harnessing the potential of a changing climate,” said Dr. Andrew Muir, CEO of Wilderness Foundation Africa and chairperson of the Nelson Mandela Bay Climate Coalition. “Nelson Mandela Bay has the capacity to become a model for climate-resilient development, one that balances adaptation with innovation and economic growth.”
With a defined timeline of February/March 2025 for completion, the CRDSF and its accompanying action plan demonstrate a commitment to swift and effective action. The stakeholders emphasize that continued collaboration will be crucial for successful implementation, requiring active participation from government, business, civil society, and academia.
Nelson Mandela Bay’s journey towards climate resilience is a story of proactive planning, informed decision-making, and collaborative action. As the city navigates the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change, its efforts provide valuable lessons for other cities around the world.