Kouga Municipality and its German partner Ilsfeld are stepping up their joint fight against climate change.
A delegation from Ilsfeld, led by Mayor Thomas Knodler, returned to South Africa this week to meet with their Kouga counterparts and local stakeholders.
Kouga Mayor Horatio said the focus of the partnership was on renewable energy, waste management and water security.
“Initially, the emphasis was on achieving water security for all Kouga towns as the region was going through a devastating drought and the prospect of receiving disaster assistance from provincial and national government seemed slim,” he explained.
“While the drought has not yet broken, we have since been able to secure disaster funding to implement water augmentation projects. The focus of our collaboration with Ilsfeld has, therefore, shifted to renewable energy and waste management, including recycling.”
He said the details of the projects on which the municipalities will be collaborating are due to be finalised this year, with two deadlines for funding applications coming up.
The partnership between Kouga and Ilsfeld was initiated in October 2017 and forms part of a German initiative to link municipalities from that country with municipalities in Africa and South America.
The aim is to identify and implement projects with the potential to mitigate the impact of climate change.
The initiative, called “Municipal Climate Partnerships”, is being implemented and funded by the development agencies Engagement Global and Service Agency Communities in One World (Skew) on behalf of the German government.
“In addition to the incredible opportunity the partnership gives Kouga to combat climate change and its impact on communities, it has also laid the foundation for the municipalities to work together on other projects,” Hendricks said.
“Potential spin-offs include support from Ilsfeld for early childhood development, education and training initiatives, as well as growing the local tourism industry. The current delegation also includes potential investors.”
Several stakeholder engagement sessions have been taking place this week. These have included visits to local schools and crèches, Nelson Mandela University, the Healthy Mom and Baby Clinic and Jeffreys Bay Trauma Centre.
Photo: Robbie Irlam