Members were briefed by the World Wide Fund for Nature on African and South African perspectives on climate change. The current and projected challenges of marine and coastal, geophysical, freshwater and biodiversity impacts were outlined. The Committee heard that the true cost of inaction was being borne by millions of poor people in the poorest and most vulnerable countries. The effect on women of climate risks was outlined which included lower school enrolment, deaths and food insecurity. The South African carbon budget plan was to cut emissions by 34% in 2020, and 42% by 2025. It was emphasised that a strong statement had to be made because
Members asked if it was possible for scientists to investigate the reduction of carbon emissions from coal; if issues regard poor and vulnerable people were addressed; if there were processes in place to empower people; and how to ensure understanding was created about climate change. A Member told the meeting about the Champions of the Environment Foundation which was in the process of negotiations with the Department of Basic Education and some companies to start a national youth environment competition.
The former Minister of Minerals and Energy told Members that local government was involved. There needed to be more integration to derive the full benefits of all efforts. She outlined the structure of the negotiations and the key political and legal issues surrounding climate change and the reduction of emissions.
Members questioned the location of local government in the climate change scenario. They observed that local government had been on board with regard to climate change.
Members were briefed by the Department of Environmental Affairs on the negotiations and dynamics of the negotiations. Members heard that a very clear programme on the legacy of Conference of the Parties 17 existed which would help raise awareness. The disagreements and agreements with
Members asked what had been done to capacitate people in rural areas, and if the National House of Traditional Leaders and the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa had been capacitated to help people in rural areas to understand climate change. Members asked what guarantees were in place to ensure that the Kyoto Protocol was going to be adhered to by developing countries. Members highlighted the weakness of the Department of Environmental Affairs in developing a climate change programme.
There was an apology from the House Chairperson, the Hon. C Frolick (ANC) who was unable to attend this day's meeting and would only be able to attend the following day. Due to the competing programmes of committees, not all of them were able to attend.
World Wide Fund for Nature. African and South African perspectives on climate change. Briefing
Ms Louise Naudé, National Climate Change Officer: World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
The effects on women of climate risks were outlined and included the loss of jobs, lower school enrolment, deaths, food insecurity and the reduction in crop and traditional medicine options. Ms Naudé said that the crisis called for a new economic paradigm with an opportunity for new social relations and not just new technologies, products or processes.
The South African carbon budget plan was to cut emissions by 34% in 2020, and 42% by 2025. The National Climate Change Response Policy White Paper would identify flagship projects to accelerate implementation. (See document.)
Mr B Holomisa (UDM; Portfolio Committee (PC) on Water and Environmental Affairs) said that there was a need to approach this issue carefully and without any pretences. A strong statement had to be put forward because this country was new in the arena of climate control, and had lost ground in the technology arena during the apartheid years. An introductory paper could help so that we were not seen to not toe the line and embarrass ourselves.
Mr S Sizani (ANC; Convenor of the Steering Committee on Climate Change; PC on Rural Development and Land Reform) said that the budget had to be refocused on matters that benefited the vulnerable and the poor. He expressed agreement with Mr Holomisa that it was correct that our position in the world should be protected to avoid embarrassing ourselves. However he added that it would be a bigger embarrassment if we neglected the people in
Ms M Kotsi (COPE; PC on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) said that with regard to agricultural productivity shifts, land was not used effectively, so it would be useful to get assistance from organisations that got funding for such matters as climate change; to assist in areas like soil erosion. She appealed to other parliamentarians to take seriously the issue of agreements, so that engagements at the tail end of processes could be avoided. She said that
Mr C Ntuli (ANC; PC on Economic Development) said that
Ms M Shinn (DA; PC on Science and Technology) asked if there were any discussions in place to introduce Global Change Charters to South African industry or the Government for when they actually signed deals for infrastructure development projects. She asked further if some sort of incentive could be in place with some conditions that needed to be worked into major Government contracts to induce it to commit to various mitigating factors or emission preventative measures.
Ms M Dunjwa (ANC; PC Science and Technology) asked the following questions: how the simplification of the COP 17 process could be ensured to create an understanding of climate change issues; If there was a process in place to empower people; and how could it be ensured that the process was not used to score political points to empower people, but to ensure that issues regarding the poor, vulnerable persons and women were addressed.
The Chairperson said that Parliament would be hosting a seminar for the public about climate change.
Ms Naudé said that Members had made good points and contributions to which she could not respond. She would rather give some points of information.
Ms Naudé said that there were many opportunities in international forums and negotiations to accept various kinds of funds. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was one of the funders. There were some criticisms of the mechanisms used by the CDM. The WWF’s approach was that even though there might be weaknesses or problems, safeguards should be put in place to ensure that opportunities were used. The challenge was how to access those kinds of funds for the poor and vulnerable. There was also the Adaptation Fund set up under the Kyoto Protocol, and COP 17 would be trying to advance this particular fund. The New Green Fund was also such a fund and the Hon. Trevor Manuel, Minister in the Presidency: National Planning Commission co-chaired this Committee. She said that for a country to access those funds it had to have a National Implementing Entity, which showed how the funds should be received and how they should be disbursed in the country. The South African National Biodiversity Institute had been appointed as the National Implementing Entity for the Adaptation Fund money recently.
The challenges here were developmental challenges. Ms Naudé argued that Climate Change was also a land issue. The way commercial agriculture was conduct currently was not necessarily the best way to proceed. There were practices called conservation agriculture, which allowed for a much needed deviation from the developmental path of the North, which had been so disastrous for the earth. So there was an alternative development path which could provide a better life for all.
With regard to the geopolitical issue raised by Ms Kotsi, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation would know best about those matters. She said that countries went to those meetings with their own agendas. One had to look at why the
Ms Naudé said that this whole issue of climate change had been made into an arena for experts; however, it was really not a complex issue: any human being could understand it.
Ms Buyelwa Songica, the former Minister of Minerals and Energy, said that the signatories of the
Ms D Robinson (DA; PC Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities,) said that she agreed and disagreed that Parliament should take the lead. A programme should go out to national, provincial and local government, as this was related to constituencies, whose fingers reached out to communities, villages, and cities; so that this message was clearly communicated to all. People should be taught at an early age about what to do to avoid waste, for example. The poor suffered most, but there was also the poverty of knowledge and this was how education could assist.
Mr Holomisa said that he was a member of an organisation called the Champions of the Environment Foundation (CEF). The organisation was in the process of negotiations with the Department of Basic Education and some companies, to start a national youth environment competition. This competition had an annual topic around which youth could compete and win bursaries for environmental studies.
The CEF was working with the private sector and state departments and had planted 34 000 indigenous trees guided by the carbon budget. Companies could then buy those trees and the money would go to communities. This was the kind of initiative needed in this country.
A view on international responses to climate change: lessons from experience
Ms Sonjica said that she first wanted to pick up on the issue of local government. The Department of Environmental Affairs together with provincial and local government and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs had both worked together to ensure that climate change disaster management was understood by local government. Hence local government was on board. There needed to be more integration to have the total sum of all efforts embarked upon which would also give the total product of these efforts.
Ms Sonjica outlined the structure of the negotiations and the key political and legal issues surrounding climate change and the reduction of emissions.
Department of Environmental Affairs. Preparations for COP 17
Mr M Kekana, Director: International Climate Change, Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), provided an overview of the negotiations and dynamics in the negotiations.
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) had hosted three Africa Group of Negotiators’ meetings to chart the Africa Common Negotiating Position. Mr Kekana said that the DEA was conducting road shows in all provinces to raise awareness. It was in the process of organising an Expo for business, NGOs and Government to showcase climate change activities. (See document.)
Nkosi M Mandela (ANC; PC on Rural Development and Land Reform) asked for a briefing on what had been done for the National House of Traditional Leaders and the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA) to capacitate people in rural areas. People in rural areas were really the feeling brunt of climate change.
Nkosi Mandela asked what was done to capacitate women in rural areas regarding COP 17.
Mr Kekana replied that the Department of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities was also dealing with Climate Change. The Department had hosted several meetings on Gender and Climate Change, so this Department was now on board.
With regard to the global economic crisis and natural disasters, Mr Mandela asked what guarantees were in place that the Kyoto Protocol was going to be adhered to so as to gain participation from developed countries.
Mr Kekana replied that the issue around the
Mr L Tsenoli (ANC; PC on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs) emphasised the legacy of COP 17 and asked how much attention should be given so that the work we did in the country itself would produce positive results related to climate change. There should be a strategy around a legacy programme.
Mr Kekana replied that there was a very clear programme on the legacy of COP 17. COP 17 would help us to raise awareness. This could not limit us to the four months that were left, as we had started to look at how to take it forward.
Mr Tsenoli said that
Mr Kekana replied that
Mr Ntuli said that a green economic policy might assist
Mr Kekana relied that the Department had done a paper on the green economy. It was well received, but the portfolio was moved to the office of the Minister of Economic Development and now received much more attention and resources. A policy would soon emerge out of that.
Mr S Njikelana (ANC; Climate Change Steering Committee; PC on Energy; PC on Trade and Industry) said that the Department of Trade and Industry would always start with an awareness campaign and bring all stakeholders together to get a sense of the support that was forthcoming.
(Please see also Mr Njikelana's presentation document Leadership role of Parliament in Climate Change attached.)
Mr Sizani said that the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) was very weak in a developing climate change programme. This was an opportunity to introduce ordinary citizens to climate change. He asked why a South African campaign could not be launched for all citizens around climate change.
Mr Kekana said it would help to have workshops on national climate change issues and international negotiations around climate change. The Department was finalising the White Paper which addressed many of the issues raised. The Department did host workshops, especially when positions were being drafted.
Mr Tsenoli said that there was not a feeling that there was a solid campaign around climate change in the country. There were elements, but they were not systematic. There were things that we could do. We would like to see and hear about a campaign that would change the nature of the country by 2012.
The Chairperson said that the Nelson Mandela municipality had held workshops on the green economy and climate change.
Ms Sonjica reiterated that Climate Change was an aspect of a broader comprehensive environmental agenda for which the key principle was sustainable growth and development. This originated from the conference in
The Chairperson said that said that the role of Parliament had to be located in the discourse on Climate Change.
The following questions were raised
Ms S Plaatjie (COPE; PC on Science and Technology) expressed concern about issues related to local government. She asked how to get information to local government as its planning was based on the lives of ordinary people. She asked further what role Parliament could play in assisting local government, so that it could plan for its own areas and speed up programmes before they reached local government level.
Mr Holomisa said that unclean coal caused damage to a lot of areas especially in
Mr Holomisa asked what role this country should play regarding climate change. He recommended a two pronged strategic approach: a need to continue to position the country around climate change; and that President Zuma should seek one-on-one meetings with President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao of of
The meeting was adjourne
- World Wide Fund for Nature. African and South African perspectives on climate change
- Sisa Njikelana – Member of Climate Change Steering Committee on Leadership Role of Parliament in Climate Change
- Department of Environemntal Affairs Preparations For Cop 17/Cmp7 presentation
- Buyelwa Sonjica presentation
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