As the impact of climate change unfolds, it is increasingly clear that social systems and ecological systems are closely interlinked. Sustainable systems emphasise alignment between people and the natural environment and embrace the complexity and resilience in each. The EDP convenes partnering processes that support regenerative practices towards enhanced social and ecological wellbeing, livelihoods and resilience to future shocks.

Coastal Park landfill site: Partnering to enable a wellbeing economy around recycling infrastructure

Cape Town’s Coastal Park landfill site in greater Muizenberg is expected to reach capacity within five years. The City of Cape Town is therefore developing an integrated materials recovery facility at the site to extend the landfill’s operating life and promote the reuse of recyclable waste in the waste economy. The EDP is supporting the City with the development of partnering processes to enable the integration of communities from the surrounding neighbourhoods including Vrygrond, Hillview and Capricorn into the materials recovery facility and community drop-off soon to be constructed. Key stakeholders include other City departments, waste management and waste picker integration experts, non-profit organisations, local residents and local businesses. The project aims to maximise the potential of existing community assets and livelihood opportunities towards a circular economy and help advanced waste management processes in Cape Town more broadly.

Supporting the implementation of Cape Town’s Climate Change Action Plan

In 2021, the City of Cape Town adopted a new Climate Change Action Plan as the implementation plan of the City’s Climate Change Strategy. Many of the plan’s actions will require the City to work in partnership with different spheres of society including residents, businesses, organisations, academia, international partners and across government. Civil society groupings play a significant catalytic role in building

The EDP will support the City’s Sustainable Energy Market team to deepen their engagement with civil society organisations through the development of a Stakeholder Engagement Framework and establishment of a representative platform for civil society to help galvanise city-level climate actions across Cape Town’s communities.

Futurecasting Cape Town: Dialogues around the City’s resilience

Futurecasting Cape Town is a series of webinars that promotes exchange across sectors and disciplines to reflect on critical issues facing Cape Town, with panelists invited to share their thoughts on how to build an inclusive and resilient future.

Futurecasting is a well-established approach to model the future and anticipate changes in a sector or society in the coming 10 to 15 years. It combines past patterns and trends with current insights and includes futures thinking to help shape the future and mitigate any possible risks.

The Futurecasting Cape Town series, which is convened by the City of Cape Town’s Resilience Department and hosted by the EDP, underscores a key element of the City’s Resilience Strategy, which aims to encourage participation in urbanisation solutions, access to shared knowledge and expertise and the ability to tap into the inherent economic opportunities inherent in rapid urbanisation and technological transformation.

See previous Futurecasting Cape Town webinars here.

Food: Addressing food insecurity and malnutrition

Access to quality food and nutrition is both an economic and social need, and key to unlocking productivity and wellbeing. As with the rest of South Africa, there are massive disparities in access to food and nutrition in the Western Cape, with one in three households facing severe food and nutrition insecurity. While the COVID-19 pandemic revealed and worsened these challenges, the sustained efforts by civil society, private donors and government showed that multi-sectoral coordination is both possible and necessary to address food insecurity and malnutrition.

Since early 2020, the EDP supported food aid efforts across the Western Cape to help alleviate food insecurity. Building on the network of kitchens supported and created by the Community Action Networks, the EDP created a voucher programme which was initially funded by private donations and managed with the help of the DG Murray Trust. Over R10 million was channeled to support 555 kitchens. In 2021, the Department of Social Development provided R2 million to continue the voucher programme which ended in December 2021.

In 2022, the EDP continues to convene the Western Cape Food Forum, comprising around 70 organisations and close to 400 individuals, with an increasing shift towards promoting local production for consumption across all levels of the food system. The EDP is also deepening its support to the Western Cape Government’s ‘Nourish To Flourish’ programme by convening a series of Food Learning Journeys in the three sites where the programme focuses; namely, Langa, Worcester and soon in Knysna. Similarly, the EDP is working with the City of Cape Town to support the implementation of the Food Systems Programme by enhancing good governance across all actors in the City’s food system.

Nexusing Water, Energy and Food to increase resilience

Demand for water, energy, and food (WEF) is increasing globally, driven by demographic and economic growth, changing user practices, and rapid urbanisation. In South Africa, the urban population is expected to increase to 80% of the total population by 2050, accounting for the vast majority of material consumption. Current models of resource-intensive urbanisation are unsustainable and put cities at risk. This is especially true for Cape Town, which is acutely vulnerable to water, energy and food crises.

The South African National Research Foundation together with the Dutch Research Council, under the Cooperation South Africa-Netherlands Programme are funding research to support studies on solutions that balance trade-offs and amplify synergies between the water, energy, and food sectors while preserving the environment. The project aims to boost governance arrangements and improve collaboration across these sectors, based on research conducted in collaboration with six local urban labs. The EDP is providing strategic partnering support to the consortium of research and societal partners, specifically around engagement with stakeholders in the food, energy and water sectors and supporting capacity building among stakeholders.

Building resillence in the Western Cape Water Supply System

The Western Cape is a water scarce region which has recently faced significant droughts with severe social and economic consequences. A long-term view of the region’s water resilience is needed to help protect against these catastrophic effects.

The findings of a multi-year hydroeconomic study concluded in 2022 of the Western Cape Water Supply System, which provides water to four million people in Cape Town and towns in the Overberg, Boland, West Coast and Swartland municipalities as well as agriculture, confirmed the need to urgently implement the City’s planned augmentation plans while ensuring that water resources are collaboratively managed for mutual benefit.

As part of the City’s augmentation plans, the EDP is supporting the City of Cape Town and National Department of Water and Sanitation to update the Raw Water Supply Agreement (2003) through multi-stakeholder engagements that will identify agreed principles and priority actions to ensure that the Western Cape Water Supply System is resilient to acute shocks, chronic stresses and anticipated population growth.

Partnering guidelines for catchment management agencies

Catchment Management Agencies (CMAs), as endorsed by the National Water Act of 1998 can play a critical role in delegating water resource management to regional or catchment levels and involving local communities in decision making. Yet to date, only two of an anticipated nine CMAs have been established. Funded by the Water Research Commission, the EDP in collaboration with Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Complex Systems in Transition is developing a guiding framework and recommendations for collaborative and adaptive management approaches for improved catchment management in South Africa.

The project draws on the lessons learned by the Breede River Partnership between the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency and the Western Cape government, which was designed and implemented with support from the EDP between 2017 to 2020. In 2022, a partnering framework will be released that will facilitate improved water management at catchment level.

Athlone Power Station redevelopment: Support to stakeholder engagement processes

The Athlone Power Station in Cape Town ceased operating as a coal-fired power station in 2003, but the site’s infrastructure holds strong potential for redevelopment towards renewable and sustainable energy generation. The EDP is supporting the City of Cape Town’s Sustainable Energy Markets team to conduct an extensive stakeholder engagement process to help develop a shared understanding for the future of the site. The process is informing the City’s pre-feasibility study and aims to build strong relationships with stakeholders across sectors to ensure adequate information sharing and foster collaboration in the years to come.