The Biodiversity and Land Use (BLU) project presented a case study titled “Integrating Climate Change Resilience into Spatial Development Tools in South Africa” at the 54th annual International Society of City and Regional Planners Conference.  The Conference took place from 1 to 5 October 2018 in Bodø, Norway under the theme “Cool Planning”, bringing together urban planners from all over the world to discuss how cities can better prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Sagwata Manyike, who leads the Planning and Land Use Management area of work in the Biodiversity and Land Use (BLU) project, presented the paper which focused on how the Map of Critical Biodiversity Areas and Ecological Support Areas (CBA Map) incorporates most of the climate change mitigation and adaptation areas; and how it can be integrated into municipal spatial development frameworks and land use management schemes. The key tools that the case study looked at are the Spatial Development Frameworks and the Land Use (zoning) Schemes, with the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, 2013 as the framework.

Natural resources and functioning ecosystems are the basis of life, economic activity and human well-being.  South Africa has a vast wealth of biodiversity that supports the production of ecosystem services that are essential for economic growth and social development. Legislation requires that municipalities develop Spatial Development Frameworks that enable land-use decisions based on desired patterns of economic growth and sustainable development.

It is thus important that municipalities incorporate biodiversity information into municipal development planning to ensure that informed decisions are made; and to ensure the sustainable use of ecological infrastructure in order to improve and sustain service delivery to the people.

The BLU project uses the CBA Map as the key tool to mainstream climate change resilience and biodiversity into spatial development tools in South Africa, by ensuring that the CBA Map is included into planning tools. In order to do this effectively it is important that the biodiversity sector understands how municipal planning works; and for planners to understand climate change and biodiversity plans and how to use them in decision making.

For more information on the BLU project’s Planning and Land Use Management area of work, please contact Sagwata Manyike via email on s.manyike@sanbi.org.za

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