A critical review of the development of sustainability indicators for the City of Cape Town : a focus on environmental and socio-economic sustainability

Ndeke, Eunice Ngina (2011-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Sustainable development has gained great interest at global, national and local community levels. For instance, governments, civil societies, the commercial sector as well as local communities have responded to the agreed framework of UNCED known as Agenda 21, developed at the „Earth Summit‟ held at Rio de Janeiro in 1992, inter alia through the development of indicators aimed at monitoring and evaluating the achievement of sustainable development. As a result, different tools to measure the level of sustainability have been developed and applied in many cities globally. These include different types of indicators, namely environmental, social, and economic performance monitoring indicators, as well as combined indices. Since cities are dynamic complex open systems with interrelated social, economic and environmental systems, and sustainable development cannot be absolutely achieved, integrated sustainable development indicators that concurrently address social, economic and environmental dimensions are crucial to aid in monitoring sustainable development particularly in any given urban system. This study gives an overview of these indicators and indices. The South Africa government has acknowledged in both its National Framework for Sustainable Development of September 2006 and the Draft National Strategy for Sustainable Development and Action Plan of May 2010 that like other cities globally, cities in this country face similar challenges particularly due to urbanisation. In this study, the focus is on evaluating the sustainability challenges of the City of Cape Town and the role sustainability indicators could play in helping to achieve sustainable development objectives. This is supported by a review of the so called „sustainable cities‟ and in particular how the Cities of Seattle (USA), Santa Monica (USA) and Curitiba (Brazil) have tried to address urban challenges. To meet the study objective of recommending the type and a process of developing indicators that will aid in improving sustainability in the City of Cape Town, selected indicators and indexes developed globally, nationally and for other cities are critically reviewed. Selected policies, plans and indicators developed by the South African national government, the Western Cape provincial government, and the City of Cape Town are reviewed. The review aims at investigating whether the existing policies and indicators were useful in addressing sustainability challenges particularly in the City of Cape Town. The review focuses on the policy objectives to assess whether the policies contradicted or were supportive of each other, the existence or lack thereof of gaps in the policies, and whether local communities and other stakeholders were involved in decision making processes. The findings suggests that although sustainable development is addressed in the policy documents of all three spheres of government in South Africa, the implementation has not yet been effective – and the City of Cape Town is no exception based on published reports such as the State of Cape Town Report. On the basis of the lessons derived from the success stories of cities like Seattle, Santa Monica, and Curitiba towards achieving sustainability, several recommendations are suggested to assist the City of Cape Town in developing, implementing, and reporting on sustainability indicators.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Op internasionale, nasionale asook plaaslike gemeenskapsvlakke het volhoubare ontwikkeling groot belangstelling gelok. In reaksie op die ooreengekome raamwerk van UNCED, Agenda 21, ontwikkel by die “Earth Summit” (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), is aanwysers gemik op die monitering en implementering van volhoubare ontwikkeling deur regerings, burgerlike samelewings, die kommersiële sektor asook plaaslike gemeenskappe ontwikkel. Dit het gelei tot die ontwikkeling en implementering van verskillende instrumente vir die meet van volhoubaarheid in verskeie stede wêreldwyd. Hierdie instrumente sluit in verskillende aanwysers, ondermeer omgewings-, sosiale-, ekonomiese- en prestasie aanwysers asook gekombineerde indekse. Omdat stede dinamies komplekse ope sisteme met interafhanklike sosiale, ekonomiese en omgewingssisteme is, en volhoubare ontwikkeling nie absoluut bereikbaar is nie, is geintegreerde volhoubare ontwikkelings aanwysers wat sosiale, ekonomiese en omgewings dimensies gelyktydig aanspreek van kritieke belang in die monitering van volhoubare ontwikkeling, spesifiek in enige gegewe stedelike sisteem. In beide sy nasionale raamwerk vir volhoubare ontwikkeling (Julie 2008) en nasionale strategie vir volhoubare ontwikkeling en Aksie plan (weergawe van 20 Mei 2010) het die Suid Afrikaanse regering erken dat plaaslike stede, soos ander wêreldwyd, dieselfde uitdagings in die gesig staar veral as gevolg van verstedeliking. Die fokus van hierdie studie was die evaluering van die volhoubaarheids-uitdagings van die Stad Kaapstad en die moontlike rol wat volhoubaarheids-aanwysers kan speel in ʼn poging om volhoubare ontwikkelings doelwitte te bereik. Hierdie word ondersteun deur ʼn oorsig van die sogenaamde “volhoubare stede” en spesifiek hoe stede soos Seattle (VSA), Santa Monica (VSA), en Curitiba (Brasilië) stedelike uitdagings probeer aanspreek het. Ten einde die studie doelwit aangaande die aanbeveling van die ontwikkelingsproses van aanwysers en indekse vir die verbetering van volhoubaarheid in die Stad Kaapstad te bereik, is verskeie internasionale, nasionale sowel as stedelike volhoubare ontwikkelings indekse krities geëvalueer. Geselekteerde beleid, planne en aanwysers wat deur die Suid Afrikaanse Nasionale regering, die Wes Kaapse provinsiale regering en die Stad Kaapstad ontwikkel is, is ondersoek. Die doel van hierdie evaluasie was om vas te stel of bestaande beleid en aanwysers nuttig is, in die aanspreek van volhoubaarheids-uitdagings spesifiek in die Stad Kaapstad. Die fokus van die evaluasie was op beleidsdoelwitte ten einde te bepaal of: verskeie beleid teenstrydigheid toon of andersins ondersteunend is, die bestaan of gebrek aan leemtes in beleid en of plaaslike gemeenskappe en of ander belange groepe in die besluitnemingsproses betrokke is. Die bevindinge dui daarop dat alhoewel volhoubare ontwikkeling in beleidsdokumente van al drie sfere van die Suid Afrikaanse regering aangespreek word, die implementering daarvan nog nie so doeltreffend is nie - en gebaseer op gepubliseerde verslae soos die stand van Kaapstad, is die Stad van Kaapstad nie ʼn uitsondering nie. Na aanleiding van lesse geleer uit die sukses verhale van stede soos Seattle, Santa Monica en Curitiba in die bereiking van volhoubare ontwikkeling is verskeie aanbevelings gemaak om die Stad Kaapstad by te staan in die ontwikkeling, implementering, en rapportering van volhoubaarheids-aanwysers.

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