Thursday 19 September 2013

Community-Municipality Partnerships and the Greenest Municipality

Greater Tzaneen has been selected as the greenest local municipality and Ekurhuleni as the greenest municipal municipality as part of the Greenest Municipality Competition run by the Department of Environment. Criteria used to select the greenest municipality include:

  • Waste management
  • Energy efficiency and conservation
  • Water management
  • Landscaping, tree planting and beautification
  • Public participation and community empowerment
  • Leadership and institutional arrangements

Participation in this annual competition is open to all South African municipalities and 111 municipalities entered.
It would be interesting to know more about the competition and the criteria. For instance, what might leadership and institutional arrangements refer to? Similarly, how might public participation and community empowerment be assessed? 
Public participation and community empowerment could be a highly effective way that municipalities support sustainability so it would be valuable to have more information. For instance, does this criterion include recognition and support for community- initiated projects by municipalities? If it does, sharing experience and examples of these types of projects could provide valuable learning that other communities and municipalities may wish to emulate. In particular, it could provide valuable models of how municipal resources can be used to respond to local need and create greater impact through community partnerships. In addition, encouraging and supporting active involvement by occupants in developing their neighborhoods may help alleviate the sense of frustration experienced by communities which is currently being exhibited in the increasing number of service delivery protests.

It may therefore be useful for DEA and their municipal partners to explore the potential of this idea further. A simple first step would be to provide communities with more detail on the competition such as the criteria and assessment methodology. This could be done through a dedicated website and could help stimulate valuable greening community-municipality partnerships.
The Building Environment Sustainability Tool (BEST) supports public participation and community empowerment by enabling local sustainability assessments to be carried out. Carrying a BEST assessment enables communities to understand the extent to which local infrastructure supports sustainability and helps identify interventions that can be undertaken to improve this. In this way the framework provides a structured process which can be used to develop local sustainability strategies and community-municipality partnerships.

More information on the green municipal competition can be found at:

More information on the BEST tool can be found at:

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