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Building resilience to climate change in vulnerable communities: A case study of uMkhanyakude district municipality

Anele Mthembu
Syathokoza Hlophe


Climate change in South Africa remains an issue of socio-economic and environmental concern. An increase in frequency and intensity of climatic events pose significant threats to biophysical and socio-economic aspects, namely food security, water resources, agriculture, biodiversity, tourism, and poverty. In order to counteract the socio-economic and environmental concerns pertaining to issues of climate
change, emergent insights on climate change strategies suggest that building resilience in human and environmental systems is an ideal way of combating dynamic environmental conditions and future uncertainties. Using the qualitative secondary data approach, this article evaluates whether vulnerable communities in uMkhanyakude District Municipality can become resilient to the implications of climate change. UMkhanyakude District Municipality is predominantly rural and one of the most impoverished districts in KwaZulu-Natal, with the majority of socially and economically marginalised individuals and households experiencing more severe impacts as a result of climate change compared to those in urban areas. Data was analysed using content analysis and a concise summary of the biophysical and socio-economic aspects is presented. This research suggests that building resilience to climate change is possible when bottom-up, proactive and systematic measures are taken to manage vulnerable areas such as those in uMkhanyakude District Municipality. It recommends that social impact assessments (SIA) be conducted to assist in terms of assessing social consequences that are likely to follow from policy actions.

Keywords: Adaptation, climate change, resilience, vulnerability

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2415-0495
print ISSN: 1012-280X