On the first day of the public hearings on the implementation of the White Paper on Climate Change, the Deputy Director-General: Climate Change of the Department of Environmental Affairs presented an overview of the National Climate Change Response Policy approved by the Cabinet in October 2011. This briefing covered the background to and objectives of the policy; the overall approach to the implementation of the policy; the strategic priorities; the thematic areas; the key elements and approach to the implementation of adaptation and mitigation measures; monitoring and evaluation, the flagship programmes and the governance arrangements. The major thematic areas were adaptation, mitigation, monitoring and evaluation and resource mobilisation. The strategic priorities included risk reduction and management; mitigation actions with significant outcomes; sectoral responses; policy and regulatory alignment; integrated planning; informed decision-making and planning; technological research, development and innovation; outreach and communication; job creation and resource mobilisation.
The flagship programmes included the Renewable Energy Flagship Programme; the Energy Efficiency and Energy Demand Management Flagship Programme; the Waste Management Flagship Programme; the Carbon Capture and Sequestration Flagship Programme; the Transport Flagship Programme; the Climate Change Response Public Works Flagship Programme; the Water Conservation and Demand Management Flagship Programme and the Adaptation Research Flagship Programme. The flagship programmes would be led by the relevant responsible government departments. The Department of Environmental Affairs played a coordination, facilitation, monitoring and reporting role. A mapping exercise to determine the existing climate change projects in the country would be undertaken.
An Inter-governmental Committee on Climate Change; a National Committee on Climate Change; a Monitoring and Evaluation Task Team; a Technical Working Group on Adaptation and a Technical Working Group on Mitigation had been established to implement the policy. An overview of the short-term timeframes (2012 – 2013) was provided.
Members asked for more information on the desired outcomes; the structures in place to reach consensus on carbon budgets, credits and pricing; the monitoring and evaluation systems in place; the development of a central database; the education of affected parties; carbon sequestration and storage; the capacity of the Department to carry out the necessary checks for accreditation and the measures in place to mitigate the risk of corruption.
The Committee requested the Department to develop a detailed implementation action plan. Other suggestions included placing more emphasis on basing policy decisions on the results of scientific research; including the South African National Defence Force in the development of disaster response programmes and developing a clear policy on the utilisation of available funding. The Committee disagreed that the National Committee on Climate Change should be granted any executive powers.
The Committee was then briefed on the National Strategy for Sustainable Development and the Climate Change Policy. The briefing covered the constitutional and international mandate of the sustainable development unit within the Department of Environmental Affairs; a summary of the South African context and approach to sustainability and the vision for the period 2011 to 2014. One of the five strategic priorities identified by the unit related to the effective response to climate change. Four specific goals were set, i.e. decreasing green-house gas emissions; reducing the dependency on fossil fuels and enhancing security of the electricity supply; building resilience to climate change in communities and ensuring that ecosystem resilience was not disrupted. Planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting would be undertaken through existing medium-term and annual structures.
The Member from the UDM queried why the Department’s sustainable development unit was not transferred to the National Planning Commission, where it could operate more effectively. In response, the Chairperson explained the original decision to place the Commission outside the sphere of government.
In the second session, Climate Change Science and Technology Research Platform gave a presentation on behalf of the Department of Science and Technology. The Global Change 10 year research plan was to improve scientific understanding of global environmental change. The Science-Policy Interface served to bridge the global change science and policy/practice divide. The Global Change Grand Challenge Technology Innovative Programme sought to facilitate responses to global change impact through technological innovation. The entity had existing plans and programmes contributing to the White Paper on Climate Change. The purpose of the Global Change Research Plan was to improve the scientific understanding of global environmental change and the plan adopted a sustainability science approach where the focus was on the coupled human-environment systemic relationship.
The Department of Environmental Affairs gave a presentation on climate change research in respect of oceans and coasts. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th Assessment Report projected an increase in average global temperature of 2° Celsius by 2100. This would increase droughts and floods, increase sea levels by 0.5 to 1.5 meters by 2100, and increase frequency of extreme weather events. The greater temperature increases occurred over the last few decades and the world’s oceans were heating up, as they absorbed extra heat. The increased sea levels were caused by expansion due to ocean warming and the melting of ice caps and glaciers. The increased temperature and local warming over the ocean south of
The South African Weather Services gave a presentation on climate Change, early warning, advisory services and related initiatives. This entity, in addressing Chapter 4 of the White Paper, identified its strategic priorities as risk reduction and management, and informed decision-making and planning. Chapter 5 addressed adaptation, where early warning and forecasting for disaster risk, and reduction were to be addressed.
The National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) presented its contribution on the implementation of the White Paper on Climate Change, noting that its mandate was to improve coordination across the spheres of government and to ensure that provinces and municipalities, in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders, carried out their service delivery and development functions effectively. In support of the developmental state and in the context of the National Climate Change Response White Paper, the Department was to facilitate mainstreaming of climate change into municipal development planning and programmes, and improve mechanisms on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Management into planning and strategies of the three spheres of government. However, the national, provincial and municipal Disaster Management Centres faced various challenges, including a lack of in-depth understanding of the subject of disaster management generally, and a lack of mainstreaming and integration of climate change into disaster management planning process. There was also inadequate capacity to deal with the increase in frequency and intensity of weather-related events associated with climate change, coupled with insufficient planning, lack of skills and capacity and insufficient political will to reduce disaster risks. The Disaster Management Act, and Framework did, however, set out a comprehensive approach to risk, and identified the roles and responsibilities of organs of state and key institutions. Resilience to climate change-related extreme events, such as heat waves, floods, droughts, wildfires and storm surges, would be an important focus for the approach to risk reduction and management in
Members sought more clarity on the warming of the ocean south of
The Chairperson advised that the White Paper on the National Climate Change Response Policy was adopted by the Cabinet in 2011. The White Paper included integration and implementation plans and concerned a number of government departments, provincial and local government authorities and civil society organisations. The aim of the Committee was to ensure that the policy on climate change was implemented and that the activities of the various responsible authorities and stakeholders were coordinated. The Committee had prepared a draft report on climate change.
The purpose of the public hearings was to assess what progress had been made to date. The Committee had scheduled a number of briefings over a period of four days. The hearings would commence with a briefing by the Department of Environmental Affairs on the White Paper and the strategy for sustainable development, followed by submissions by various stakeholders and interested parties on the consequences of climate change, disaster management plans and other related topics.
Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA)Briefing on the National Climate Change Response Implementation Framework
Ms Judy Beaumont, Deputy Director-General: Climate Change, DEA presented the briefing to the Committee (see attached document).
The detailed presentation covered the background to and objectives of the National Climate Change Response Policy (NCCRP); the overall approach to the implementation of the policy; the strategic priorities; the thematic areas; the key elements and approach to the implementation of adaptation and mitigation measures; monitoring and evaluation, the flagship programmes and the governance arrangements.
The strategic priorities included risk reduction and management; mitigation actions with significant outcomes; sectoral responses; policy and regulatory alignment; integrated planning; informed decision-making and planning; technological research, development and innovation; outreach and communication and resource mobilisation. The key elements of the major thematic areas of adaptation, mitigation, monitoring and evaluation, resource mobilisation and job creation were summarised. An overview of the NCCRP objectives and the key steps for implementation were included.
The flagship programmes included the Renewable Energy Flagship Programme; the Energy Efficiency and Energy Demand Management Flagship Programme; the Waste Management Flagship Programme; the Carbon Capture and Sequestration Flagship Programme; the Transport Flagship Programme; the Climate Change Response Public Works Flagship Programme; the Water Conservation and Demand Management Flagship Programme and the Adaptation Research Flagship Programme. The deliverables required by the NCCRP for the flagship programmes were summarised. The flagship programmes would be led by the relevant responsible government departments.
The role of the DEA included the development of a comprehensive scoping and mapping exercise to determine the existing climate change projects in the country; facilitating the desired outcomes and the formulation of implementation plans for the flagship programmes; coordinating the various initiatives; developing and maintaining a database of activities; the monitoring, review and evaluation of the progress made in implementation and reporting on the progress made to the Cabinet and Parliamentary Committees.
The institutional arrangements included the establishment of the Inter-governmental Committee on Climate Change (IGCCC), the National Committee on Climate Change (NCCC); a Monitoring and Evaluation Task Team; the Technical Working Group on Adaptation and the Technical Working Group on Mitigation. The mandate, composition and key activities of the two committees were summarised.
The briefing was concluded with an overview of the timeframe for implementation in the short term.
The Chairperson thanked the Department for the briefing, which had exceeded his expectations. He suggested that more information was provided on the desired outcomes and that more emphasis was placed on the need to base policy and decisions on the results of proper scientific research. Adaptation measures were of particular importance for
Mr B Holomisa (UDM) observed that the biggest challenge for
The Chairperson asked what structures were in place for reaching consensus on carbon budgeting, credits and pricing. The implementation process was relatively lengthy and he wanted to know what measures were in place to ensure that the correct decisions were made and that the necessary progress was being made.
Ms Beaumont advised that the National Planning Commission (NPC) had investigated the transition to a low carbon emission development path. Questions had been raised regarding trade-offs and the choices that had to be made in the short-, medium- and long term. There had been extensive engagement between the NPC and the DEA on the issues of choice, carbon credits, trade-offs and sequencing. The revised National Development Plan would be released in the near future and was expected to contain more clarity on the various issues. Climate change was a complex issue and the subject of much discussion in different forums and clusters. Most of the work would be done by the Technical Working Group on Mitigation, which included representatives from the NPC and other government departments. The Working Group included several work stream units. Each work stream would develop its own models and plans and have its own experts to provide input. Most of the debates on the issues would take place within the work stream units. The initial focus would be on the planning aspect and it was hoped that the NPC would indicate the critical issues that had to be addressed.
Ms Beaumont said that most of the planning that had been done so far concerned matters that had to be addressed in the short term. Low carbon emissions required interventions in the medium- to long term. The subject of carbon budgeting versus carbon tax arose during early discussions on climate change. The Department had commissioned studies to be undertaken on the two options. The Technical Working Group on Mitigation would be doing more work on the subject. She hoped that the National Treasury would include information on the progress that had been made on the framework for carbon credits in its briefing to the Committee. She was aware that a discussion document on the subject was due for release in July 2012. There was some doubt that a carbon-trading system would be appropriate for
The Chairperson asked for more information on carbon sequestration and storage.
Ms Beaumont responded that carbon capture and storage in
The Chairperson remarked that monitoring and evaluation was an important aspect but was generally not a strong point of government. He understood that the DEA was in the process of drafting a monitoring and evaluation plan.
Ms Beaumont explained that the second National Communication on Climate Change was submitted to the United Nations Climate Change secretariat before the 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17). The document was an international requirement and outlined the state of play in
The Chairperson observed that monitoring and evaluation systems had to be in place in order to determine what progress was being made in achieving the objectives that had been set. He was concerned that the briefing omitted details of such systems. The Committee had suggested that a central information database was established. Input into the database would be made by all the stakeholders and the data would be used in the decision-making process. The briefing referred to a database but did not provide much information.
Mr Brian Mantlana, Chief Director: Monitoring and Evaluation, DEA referred the Committee to Section 12 of the White Paper, which dealt with the design and publication of a monitoring and evaluation system that would allow the progress made by the country to be tracked. The development of the system enjoyed a high priority rating and would be completed within the following few months. More information on the centralised database would be provided in a subsequent briefing to the Committee.
Mr Holomisa asked how the affected parties would be educated on the policy. In particular, major business entities were ready to comply with the policy on climate change but were unaware of what needed to be done. The DOE did not have the capacity to issue accreditation and he wanted to know who would be doing the necessary checks. Monitoring and evaluation processes were vulnerable to corruption and he asked what measures were in place to mitigate this risk.
Ms Beaumont agreed that there was a need to educate and inform affected parties. One of the outcomes of COP 17 was the establishment of a panel to facilitate an extensive consultation and education process throughout the African continent. It was suggested during discussion on the subject with organised business that a series of workshops on an array of topics were held to educate and inform the private sector. There was general agreement that education and information on the response to climate change was a critical issue. She conceded that additional staffing resources would be required to allow her department to operate more effectively.
The Chairperson asked what the approach was to utilise the funding made available from both local and foreign sources. It was essential that adequate controls and a clear approach to the application of funding were in place. For example, government’s priorities on the Green Fund had to be clear. This issue was not dealt with extensively in the White Paper and he suggested that a more detailed briefing on resource mobilisation was made to the Committee.
Ms Beaumont agreed that an in-depth discussion on resource mobilisation would be useful. The issue of funding for the climate change programmes required further discussion with the National Treasury as well. Funding had been made available by a number of sources, for example the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) had allocated R300 million in 2012 and R500 million in 2013 for the greening transition programme. To date, the focus had been on other matters and a discussion on funding must still be held. SANBI was responsible for the adaptation fund and had set up a secretariat to coordinate applications for funding. More information would be provided in subsequent briefings to the Committee during the hearings.
The Chairperson remarked that it was not clear what the purpose was of the different funds that had been established. In general, information on the funding for programmes tended to be vague and he would appreciate it if the Committee could be provided with an overview before the hearings were concluded. He anticipated that subsequent briefings would provide more information on the various flagship programmes.
Mr Holomisa suggested that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was involved in disaster response programmes as the Defence Force was directly involved in dealing with natural disasters.
The Chairperson agreed with Mr Holomisa’s suggestion. The main concern regarding jobs and the climate change scenario was changing the nature of the economy without jeopardising existing jobs. He was concerned over the expansion of the powers of the NCCC. He felt that the NCCC should be an advisory body only and was not convinced that it was advisable that a civil society organisation should have the power to make governing decisions.
Mr Holomisa likened the NCCC to the Presidential Council on Sustainable Development and agreed that the Committee should not be given executive powers.
The Chairperson commented on the high level of consensus amongst all political parties on climate change. He suggested that political parties should be represented on the NCCC as well. The main function of the NCCC would be to obtain consensus from civil society on the implementation of the policy on climate change response. He was satisfied with the timeframes outlined by the DEA and was encouraged that the DEA had a clear vision on what action needed to be taken. It was necessary to develop a detailed action plan, which set out the necessary tasks, action steps and identified the responsible authority. A great deal of work needed to be done and a detailed action plan was a prerequisite to secure the necessary funding from the National Treasury. The plan assisted the other departments to identify their involvement and responsibilities and would be used to track progress.
Mr Holomisa added that the action plan was not intended for the Committee only. The plan should cover the commitments made by
The Chairperson supported Mr Holomisa’s suggestion and said that the action plan would effectively be the blueprint for the implementation of the NCCRP.
Department of Environmental Affairs Briefing on the National Strategy for Sustainable Development and Climate Change Policy
Ms Beaumont presented the briefing on the National Strategy for Sustainable Development (NSSD) and Climate Change to the Committee (see attached document).
The briefing covered the constitutional and international mandate of the NSSD and summarised the South African context and approach to sustainability. The vision for the period 2011 to 2014 was included.
The NSSD had identified five strategic priorities, one of which was the effective response to climate change. Four specific goals related to the NCCRP, i.e. decreasing GHG emissions; reducing the dependency on fossil fuels and enhancing security of the electricity supply; building resilience to climate change in communities and ensuring that ecosystem resilience was not disrupted. Planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting would be undertaken through existing medium term and annual structures.
The Chairperson observed that the briefing indicated how sustainable development and the response to climate change were integrated.
Mr Holomisa asked if it would be beneficial if the DEA’s sustainable development unit (i.e. the NSSD) was transferred to the NPC. The NSSD had no enforcement powers but had done much work on the issue of sustainable development and could provide much assistance to the Committee dealing with infrastructure development in the Office of the President.
The Chairperson thought the idea would have merit if the NPC operated within the sphere of government. However, the 25 Commissioners operated outside government and a complicated process had to be followed to allow the governmental structure to process and adopt the recommendations of the NPC. He felt that the decision to remove the NPC from the auspices of government should be reviewed. He agreed that Mr Holomisa’s view reflected how an entity such as the NSSD should operate but the placement of the NPC was subject to political considerations at the time.
Ms B Dambuza (ANC), Member of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements noted that various departments would be responsible for the different flagship programmes but the DEA would play an overall coordinating role. Parliamentary oversight would involve fostering the integration of the various stakeholders and ensuring the development and implementation of the climate change programmes. The programmes should be specifically focused on either adaptation or mitigation and should never be of a ‘general’ nature.
The Chairperson thanked the DEA for the informative briefing, which gave Members a solid grounding for the subsequent submissions. Although there were a few gaps in the input on the White Paper, it was apparent that the DEA had a clear vision, followed and integrated approach and had a plan in place to implement the NCCRP. The Committee awaited a detailed implementation action plan.
The meeting was adjourned for the lunch break on the first day of the public hearings
Science and Technology Research Platform briefing
Mr Isaac Maredi, Chief Director: Sector Innovation and Global Change, Department of Science and Technology presented the responses of the Science and Technology Research Platform to the White Paper on Climate Change. He said that the underlying principles of the Global Change Grand Challenge (GCGC) involved adopting a systems and inter-disciplinary approach, and was distinguished by its focus on
The Global Change (GC) 10-year research plan was intended to improve scientific understanding of global environmental change. The Science-Policy Interface served to bridge the global change science and policy/practice divide. The GCGC’s Technology Innovative Programme sought to facilitate responses to global change impact through technological innovation. The entity had existing plans and programmes contributing to the White Paper on Climate Change. The purpose of the Global Change Research Plan (GCRP) was to improve the scientific understanding of global environmental change and the plan adopted a sustainability science approach with a focus on a coupled human-environment systemic relationship. The GCRP intended to understand a changing planet, reduce the human footprint, help people adapt the way they lived, and assist with innovation for sustainable development.
The GCRP promoted research in all thematic areas of the Plan and a more focused research programme in the socio-ecological and sustainability domains had been initiated. There were eleven projects selected for funding under the Large-scale Programme on GC, Society and Sustainability, following a call for proposals in 2011, which had attracted more than 50 proposals. The approved proposals ranged from food and fibre security, through urban development, and resilience innovation, to social learning systems. Current programmes and initiatives invested approximately R60 million a year, with the Applied Centre for Climate and Earth Systems Science (ACCESS), the National Research Foundation (NRF), the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), and the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), the South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas (SARVA), and African Environmental Observation Network (AEON).
The Applied Centre for Climate and Earth Systems Science (ACCESS) was established in 2009 as a virtual network of collaborating partners from research councils and universities). It recently developed an Implementation Prospectus for research and services programme, and education and training programmes. Its Research Programme comprised seven themes aligned to the GCRP.
SAEON was established in 2002 as a longer-term research platform with the mandate of co-ordinating and supporting long-term in-situ environmental observation and monitoring. It managed its operations through six nodes across the country, comprising Arid; Egagasini; Elwandle; Fynbos; Ndlovu; and Grassland, Forests & Wetlands areas. In 2010 SAEON published a book “Observations on Environmental Change in
AEON programmes, Inkaba yeAfrica and !Khure, focused on deep earth science. Inkaba ye Africa was a South African and German joint multi-disciplinary collaborative earth science initiative, while !Khure Africa was a South African / French flagship scientific cooperation programme in the geosciences, linking geodynamic co-evolution of earth and life to tectonics. AEON had completed a technical demonstration of Passive Underground Mine-water Purification (PUMP), had developed to lab-scale a proof-of-concept, and had done something similar for the Conflict Diamond Forensics project. In December 2011, a special volume of the SA Journal of Geology (Vol 114, No 3-4, December 2011) dedicated to Inkaba yeAfrica, was published. 306 post-graduate students were supported in the last two years, with 116 in 2011 and 190 in 2012. In December 2011, three South African researchers were awarded the Green Talents sustainability prize by the German Parliamentary State Secretary, for being exceptional young scientists active in the field of sustainable development.
SARVA was a science-policy interface initiative initiated in 2009 with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) as an implementing agent. It was a one-stop shop for environmental risks and related information, and comprised a spatial database system and repository for local-based case studies and environmental information. SARVA was a decision-support tool for local decision-makers. It focused broadly on environmental risks and disasters. It was linked to other electronic databases and climate, ecological and demographics systems, and supported development of human capital in risks and vulnerability assessments. Its main users were municipalities, universities and research entities, organized local groups such as farmers and industries, and individuals. SARVA was a long-term complementary programme to build capacity and provide risk assessment services to local users. There were five rural-based universities identified to host the centres in the initial phase of the programme. Three pilot centres were in place at the Universities of Limpopo,
The Global Change human capital plan included setting up centres of excellence, centres of competencies and research chairs that supported the Global Change grand Challenge research, infrastructure and innovation plans. It provided guaranteed long-term bursaries for Honours and MSc programmes at selected previously disadvantaged universities (PDU), and temporary full-time employment for students within institutions in the national science institutes. It provided platforms for development of early career scientists within science councils, including obtaining further higher degrees, thus building critical mass. The plans included job opportunities, internships at science councils, and research collaboration with universities, joint appointments and direct contracting of university researchers, and participation in international student exchange and training programmes.
DST therefore sought to improve the scientific understanding by scaling up research activities across the four knowledge areas of the GCRP, and to introduce additional research programmes. It was monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the implementation architecture and other instruments designed to generate new knowledge. It would continue to provide funding support for post-graduate students, and initiate and strengthen strategic partnerships that could unlock resources to support the implementation of the Plan. Its strategies were designed to monitor and manage, with transparency and accountability, aiming for success. The development of a portfolio of technology and innovation programmes responded to the sustainable development and green economy ambitions of the country. These included finalisation and implementation of a national waste innovation programme, and a water technology and innovation roadmap for
Mr Holomisa asked if the entity warned state departments about dangers of densification, especially in regard to food security, and asked about the plans in place to reverse the process.
Mr Maredi replied that there were a number of trusts looking at food security from a science and research perspective. He acknowledged the weakness of science and technology in the country and admitted that there was a shortage of soil scientists. The country needed more and better science, with proper people and support. Research was happening on the ground, but innovative ideas on how to coordinate the whole process were still needed.
Mr Fundisile Mketeni, Deputy Director General: Biodiversity and Conservation, Department of Environmental Affairs, indicated that there was an action plan on densification and he would give more information on the programme the following day.
The Chairperson said everything must be clearly spelled out in the Department’s implementation plan, so that the entity could coordinate the process much better. He urged the Department to be more organised.
Oceans and Coastal Research-Climate Change Research: Department of Environmental Affairs
Mr. Andre Share, Chief Director: Coastal and Oceans Research, Department of Environmental Affairs, presented the Climate Change research in respect of oceans and coasts. He noted that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment Report projected an increase in average global temperature of 2 degrees Celsius by 2100. This would increase droughts and floods, increase sea levels by 0.5 to 1.5 metres by 2100, and increase frequency of extreme weather events. Greater temperature increases occurred over the last few decades, and the world’s oceans were heating up as they absorbed most of the extra heat being added to the climate system. The increased sea level was attributed to expansion due to ocean warming and the melting of ice caps and glaciers. The fundamental role of oceans was to produce oxygen, and they was the biggest natural absorber of CO2 from the atmosphere into the ocean.
The global and long-term impacts of climate change on the ocean included ocean acidification, rise in sea level and changes in current patterns. The impact locally was related to extreme weather events such as increased storminess, flooding, inundation and coastal loss through erosion, changes in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and migration patterns. The increased temperature and local warming over the ocean south of
The first phase of the climate change research plan was a 15-year strategic plan built on five decades of data collection and monitoring. The research was multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional, with a strong focus on capacity development. It further sought to assist with informed decision making regarding management and conservation, and enhanced adaptation. The strategic framework dealt with marine biodiversity, ecosystem health, ecosystem functioning, and observational and operational oceanography. The Research programme provided access to information on vulnerability to new and current hazards, collected baseline data and undertook monitoring, and assessed social, economic and environmental risks. It further identified and tested adaptation measures, ensured a scientific basis for spatial planning and disaster risk management, appropriated integrated information systems, and ensured that early warning systems were developed and implemented.
The Chairperson asked for more clarity on the warming of the ocean south of
Mr Share responded that the Agulhas current was warming up and pulsing water into the conveyer belt, warming up the water south of
Mr Holomisa asked if the entity functioned under the banner of the United Nations, and to whom complaints regarding this area could be submitted. He asked if the entity was affiliated to the organisation overseeing this area.
Dr Monde Mayekiso, Deputy Director General: Coastal and Oceans Research, DEA, replied that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) had jurisdiction over the area. He was not sure if it was a United Nations structure. His entity was affiliated to the IMO.
The Chairperson asked how large the increase in temperature had been, since 1980, and what the case of this was.
Dr Alan Boyd, Director, BiodiversityCoastal Research, DEA, said the increase was approximately 1 degree Celsius but could be several degrees in some instances. It was not clear at this stage what the causal factor was.
Mr Holomisa asked if the entity had brought the trends to the attention of Cabinet. He asked what solutions were proposed.
Dr Mayekiso said the entity would meet with Cabinet the following month. It would be proposing an Oceans Policy that would serve as a preventative mechanism.
South African Weather Services (SAWS) briefing on Climate Change, early warning, advisory services and related initiatives
Mr Mnikeli Ndabambi, General Manager: Operations, South African Weather Services (SAWS), said that the South African Weather Service (SAWS) had identified the importance of risk reduction and management, and informed decision-making and planning, from Chapter 4 of the White Paper. These were now treated as the strategic priorities by SAWS. Chapter 5 of the White Paper addressed adaptation, where early warning and forecasting for disaster risk, and reduction were to be addressed.
Strategic drivers and programmes of SAWS, related to early warnings and climate change, included ensuring safety of life and property, provision of scientific information for adaptation and mitigation to climate change, and the Climate Change and Variability programme. The safety of life and property revolved around an operational early warning system that encouraged an integrated approach. The provision of scientific information for adaptation and mitigation to climate change would allow people to adapt to the impacts of climate change and variability on food sustainability, rural development and quality of life. The SAWS would build on its experience on Air Quality and the Global Atmosphere Watch, to play a crucial role. It had established seven strategic programmes, and the Climate Change and Variability Programme would address and support national climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives.
The SAWS offered weather forecasts to different stakeholders on a daily basis to inform their decision making. Forecasting could be categorised into: Nowcasting, Short and
The White Paper pointed to a need to use early warning systems to give timely warnings of adverse weather, as part of adaptation to Climate Change and variability impact. It also encouraged investment in education and awareness programmes. The enhancement of the Early Warning Service (EWS) was based on international best practices, using the international weather services and World Metrological benchmarks, and introduced three colour-coded alert categories. The Advisory, Watch and Warnings related to specific hazard thresholds and lead-times. It sought to standardise the content of messages and collaborated with the National Disaster Management Centres to improve warning dissemination.
Climate Change and variability research entailed investigating the future patterns of change in
The SAWS was active on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 1, which investigated how the intensity and frequency of climate extremes such as droughts, floods coastal storms were expected to respond to climate change. It planned to develop a climate change impact modelling capability, to support development of applications that would inform adaptation efforts and strategies on time scales between bi-annual and ten years.
Its Air Quality modelling and forecasting group was developing the capacity to produce forecasts of national ambient air quality for a period of 48 to 72 hours. Pollutants included particulate matter less than 10µm, sulphur dioxide, and tropospheric ozone. The entity initially used the UK Metrological Office “NAMEIII” model, which was currently in use in the
SAWS had embarked on road shows initiatives to raise severe weather awareness among communities as part of the adaptation strategy. It had developed new warning systems and worked on an expansion of the Weather Forecast Development Patterns into the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
The SAWS had many successes and various challenges. It had managed to develop a sophisticated hazard monitoring system, comparing very well with international best practices. There had been development of relationships between forecasters and disaster management structures, but more success in some districts than others. However, it noted that effective dissemination of warnings to all levels of society were still a problem, and so it needed significant support from and participation with other structures, including disaster management, government departments, media and other role players. Public awareness around the SAWS and response to warnings and hazards needed significant effort from all involved.
Mr P Mathebe (ANC) asked how the SAWS liaised with other stakeholders involved in the research, and how stakeholders were brought together, so that the message sent to the public was consistent and accurate.
Mr Ndabambi used the recent tropical cyclone Irena as an example on how well the structures had shared the level of threat between themselves, and emphasised that various meetings were held where the status of the threat was shared.
Department of Cooperative Governance: National Disaster Management Centre briefing
Mr Ken Terry, Head, National Disaster Management Centre, Department of Cooperative Governance, noted that the Centre (NDMC) currently resided with the Department of Cooperative Governance. Its objective was to promote an integrated and coordinated system of disaster management, with special emphasis on prevention and mitigation, by national, provincial and municipal organs of state, statutory functionaries, NGOs and other relevant role-players and communities. In addition, it focussed on emergency preparedness, early warning systems, rapid and effective response to disasters, and post-disaster recovery. The NDMC, following the White Paper, advocated a link between Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation, and had made provision, when reviewing the Disaster Management Act, for climate change adaptation. The frequency of disaster incidents had changed drastically in recent years.
The mandate of the NDMC was to improve coordination across the spheres of government and to ensure that provinces and municipalities, in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders, carried out their service delivery and development functions effectively. In support of the developmental state and in the context of the National Climate Change Response White Paper, the Department of Cooperative Governance was to facilitate mainstreaming of climate change into municipal development planning and programmes, and improve mechanisms on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Management into planning and strategies of the three spheres of government.
The NDMC, Provincial Disaster Management Centres (PDMCs), and municipalities faced various challenges in terms of Climate Change. There was a lack of in-depth understanding of the subject of disaster management generally, and a lack of mainstreaming and integration of climate change into disaster management planning process. There was also inadequate capacity to deal with the increase in frequency and intensity of weather-related events associated with climate change. Lack of political will was shown in relation to disaster management risk reduction matters. However, the Disaster Management Act and the National Disaster Management Framework set out a comprehensive approach to risk reduction, and identified the roles and responsibilities of organs of state and key institutions. Resilience to climate change-related extreme events, such as heat waves, floods, droughts, wildfires and storm surges, would be an important focus.
The NDMC would actively participate in the Intergovernmental Committee on Climate Change to ensure that disaster risk and management issues were adequately addressed in the Climate Change policy and its implementation. It would also support mainstreaming of DRR. The National Disaster Management Advisory Forum (NDMAF) was a legislated structure, which served as a multi-stakeholder platform where issues of climate change adaptation and DRR were discussed. This Forum would facilitate a coalition for action, and climate change and increasing weather hazards added a sense of urgency. The Forum’s technical task teams would provide clear guidance across all spheres and sectors of government for managing climate change-related risk and for ensuring that an effective communications strategy was in place for early warnings to vulnerable communities. Structures were duplicated across the various spheres of government and provided an ideal institutional platform to discuss issues of climate change adaptation and DRR.
It was pointed out that extreme weather events often crossed country borders and impacted on the region as a whole, so that region-wide approaches to disaster risk reduction and management were needed. The NDMC would seek to collaborate and strengthen relations with neighbouring states, to build regional capacity and share early warning systems. It recommended that all spheres of government should undertake disaster risk and vulnerability assessments, to inform the national disaster risk profile and disaster risk reduction planning priorities. In particular, there was a need to take into account the potential consequences of climate change (including increased incidence of extreme weather conditions) along the coast, and in vulnerable rural and urban communities. The NDMC would promote mechanisms and partnerships to mainstream DRR & climate change adaptation into integrated development planning and strategies of government and municipalities. It would continue to advocate that disaster risk reduction be a priority, and would emphasise the need to proactively build the knowledge base and capacity to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change.
NDMC had strengthened its relationship with the South African Weather Services, with regard to monitoring of weather patterns. It also received the Indian Ocean National Tsunami Warning through South African Weather Services. A local task team on early warnings was functional, and this updated and provided information to NDMC on potential disasters. NDMC held discussions with sector departments to encourage development of disaster management plans, to strengthen response preparedness in government. It facilitated increased use of seasonal climate forecasts among the stakeholders, and dissemination of information to provinces and municipalities. Aerial support resources were provided to areas in need.
NDMC was currently supporting provinces and municipalities with winter awareness campaigns to promote fire safety, reduction and prevention. The NDMC would strengthen the institutional and legal basis of disaster risk reduction and ensure stronger linkages between climate change adaptation and DRR, through the development and review of its policies and legislation. Resilience to climate change-related extreme events, such as heat waves, floods, droughts, wildfires and storm surges, would be an important focus for the approach to Disaster Risk Reduction and Management.
The culture of safety and resilience would be promoted through awareness programmes and strengthening of NDMC capacity to support provinces and municipalities. In particular, it was focusing on the most vulnerable sectors, including rural communities who were most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Effective planning and coordination of an integrated adaptation response was of necessity linked to early warning and forecasting of emergencies and disasters. For this reason, it would build on collaboration and partnerships with SAWS, DEA, and Departments of Water, Agriculture and Forestry and Human Settlements. Finally, it mentioned that its policies and programmes would continue to be guided by the White Paper, the IGCCC Programme of Action, the Charter for Local Government, adopted at COP17 in
Mr Morgan asked if there were Disaster Management Centres in every province. He also asked what the plans were regarding every province and how often these were updated.
Mr Terry said he had been part of the NDMC since January 2012. There were centres in all provinces, although some provinces were better resourced than others. There were processes in place to see that work was regularly updated.
The Chairperson said he had not seen the impact of the NDMC, and asked how it communicated with the general public.
Mr Terry replied that communications were done through joint operations with various departments. There were requirements for provinces to submit all plans to the NDMC. The entity fell under the UN Disaster Management structures, and it was benchmarking and taking best practices from the UN.
Mr Mathebe asked if the NDMC had mechanisms in place to monitor disaster risk and reduction in various municipalities.
Mr Terry said the risk and reduction in the country was not yet up to scratch, but the NDMC was trying very hard to get disaster management included in the plans of all municipalities.
Mr Holomisa, from seeing the effects of climate change across the country, had a sense that the disaster management structures were not sufficiently equipped to do their work effectively, and asked if they had conveyed their needs to government.
Mr Mathebe asked if the NDMC had mechanisms in place to verify the information received from other institutions. It seemed that it did not analyse the information received.
Mr Terry responded that the NDMC did verify information received from provinces and also engaged with provinces to see that processes were in place. All information coming to the NDMC was analysed and verified, and assistance was provided accordingly.
Mr Morgan asked if NDMC had any comment to make or guidelines to give on how district municipalities and provinces should be budgeting for disaster management.
Mr Terry said NDMC did make comments on budgets, and finances were put aside as a Disaster Relief Fund. Disaster Management was better funded in urban areas than in rural areas. There was an Immediate Relief Fund, to cover the situation when district municipalities may have exhausted their funds and needed more finances.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Oceans and Coastal Research—Climate Change Research paper
- The National Climate Change Response Implementation Framework
- Climate Change Science and Technology Research Platform submission
- Department of Cooperative Governance: National Disaster Management Centre presentation
- Department of Environmental Affairs, June 2012
- Climate Change, Early Warning, Advisory Services and Related Initiatives presentation
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting