Feedback on WSSD with reference to NEPAD, the African Process and Impact on SA Economy


17 September 2002
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

This report is brought to you by the Contact Trust with funding support from the Canadian High Commission
17 September 2002

Chairperson: Ms G. Mahlangu

Documents handed out:
The Joburg Summit 2002
Framework of an Action Plan for the Environment Initiative of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD)
Quantifying the Impact of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) on the South African Economy
The African Process for the Development and Protection of the Marine and Coastal Environment, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa
Global Oceans & Coasts: Towards Sustainable Development

Ms G. Mahlangu commenced the meeting by raising an issue of "national importance" - the failure of KPL to pay out money to those suffering from asbestosis by 14 September 2002. The chairperson urged the Committee to think of possible actions they could take to pressure the asbestosis company to pay its dues. The committee decided that it was necessary for them to be properly briefed on the issue before any actions were decided upon. Mr Dhesigen Naidoo of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism briefed the Portfolio Committee on South Africa's performance hosting the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. He further discussed the importance of integrating the agreements made at the WSSD within the framework of NEPAD.

Briefing by DEAT on the WSSD
Mr D. Naidoo of DEAT elaborated on the products of the Johannesburg Summit: The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, and the Partnerships. He declared The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development truly visionary. It consolidated The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, endorsed multilateralism and collective decision-making with collective action, and concluded with a call to action.

The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation was action-oriented, as 36 agreements were made at the WSSD with time-bound targets. It had a positive spin on trade, finance and globalisation, and focused on good governance at all levels, from international to regional to local. The Plan had a regional focus, as well as a chapter on Africa's development that endorsed Nepad. It emphasised the importance of focusing on the well-being of vulnerable groups, which ultimately placed more balance between the 3 pillars of sustainable development that previously placed greater emphasis on the environment. Mr Naidoo acknowledged the strong commitment by the European Union to promote renewable energy, and despite the United States' decision not to commit, many countries made the decision to act alone. Regarding health rights, all targets were endorsed, however, the issue of reproductive rights remained debatable among several countries. The goal of alleviating hunger by 2015 shifted from the green revolution philosophy of mass production to production by the masses, which would be more environmentally friendly and would create more jobs. Finally, with regards to trade, finance, technology, and education (TFTE) the WSSD saw a complete turn around of the technological process. For example, there would be centres of technology education established throughout the world.

Mr Saidoo noted that many partnerships were created at the WSSD between Type 1s (actions by governments) and Type 2s (voluntary actions by people), citing pledges of new resources for those in need. The WSSD declared the first decade of the millennium a decade of action, and Mr Saidoo told the committee that South Africa needed to consider its role in the international community and further discuss South Africa's own sustainable development strategies. He stressed the importance of Nepad meeting the sustainable development targets, as well as finding out how to engage in the new partnerships which will be created. Finally, Mr Saidoo spoke of logistical issues the WSSD and how South Africa proved to the world that it was capable of hosting such events in the future.

Questions and Discussion
Ms G. Mahlangu (ANC) agreed that South Africa had done a great job hosting the WSSD and should be proud. She believed that everything was well organised and that DEAT had done a lot of good work. She was also pleased that the people on the ground understood what the conference was about.

Mr J Le Roux (NNP) agreed that the WSSD was excellent and that the people of South Africa had done the committee proud. He asked for clarity on the shift from agriculture of mass production to agriculture produced by the masses. He also asked for accurate statistics of how much the WSSD cost South Africa.

Mr D. Naidoo (DEAT) explained that mass production was proving to be unsuccessful, as it was important to have more environmental diversity, and there was a strong need to create new jobs worldwide.

Ms J. Semple (DP) stated that the great number of people and the great experience they all head would have great benefits for South African tourism in the future, as she believed that people who attended the Summit would return to South Africa in the future. She asked why Agenda 21 had not been successful in the past. She also wanted to know how the committee would make sure that the principles would be enacted in South Africa.

Mr D. Naidoo (DEAT) explained that the implementation of Agenda 21 proved to be a complex problem for many countries. He further said that the strategy for sustainable development in South Africa would have to involve people from all walks of life and educational/technical backgrounds. He also noted that South Africa had already met its pre-existing targets, but that they wanted to work for 100% compliance.

Ms C. Ramotsamai (ANC) thanked all of the government departments for a job well done at the WSSD. She stated that action needed to be taken to assure that those who attended the World Summit returned to South Africa in the future. She also stated that the committee had a role to play in assuring that historically disadvantaged individuals (HDI's) in the rural areas benefited from the summit and increase in tourism. Furthermore, the committee needed to make sure that South Africa adhered to past agreements and that looking at them again at them would be wise.

An Alternatanate member stated that she had heard many "prophecies of doom" and that journalists needed to make sure they were more accurate in what they were getting across to the public. She also noted that many people had complained about expensive transportation and accommodation.

Mr D. Naidoo (DEAT) said that "prophecies of doom" always exist. Regarding the expensive accommodation, he explained that many people had offered their houses to people for large sums of money. Some of the prices for transportation were high, as a result of a special deal that included transport for several days before and after the Summit. Mr Naidoo acknowledged that some people did get into the Summit for free and that they had tried to make it affordable for people.

A member pointed out that Kofi Annan (United Nations) had said that the WSSD in Johannesburg was the biggest and best United Nations event in terms of content, partnerships and agreements. The member wanted to know what those were and what the benefits would be for South Africa. He stated that he was pleased that South Africa was called in to broker deals between "giants".

Ms L. Mbuyazi (IFP) noted that there was a huge sanitation backlog in South Africa and wanted to know if there was now a time frame to phase out bucket and pit toilets, particularly from schools and rural areas. She said this had to be done if South Africa was ever to rid itself of its cholera problem.

Mr D. Naidoo (DEAT) said that the department was currently looking at access competency for sanitation and was rolling out a sanitation plan, which would half the number of people without sanitation by 2015 worldwide.

Ms J. Chalmers (ANC) wanted to know how South Africa could maintain the spirit and energy that came from the WSSD and build on their past successes. She asked how those at the WSSD could be brought into the tourism industry. She wanted to know how South Africa would act on the agreements that were made, particularly regarding time frames for protecting the marine resources.

Mr D. Naidoo (DEAT) agreed that the performance by untrained people at the Summit was outstanding. He said that they would try to find ways to continue the spirit that was generated at the WSSD. Regarding time frames, Mr Naidoo said that the targets must be met.

Mr J. Arendse (ANC) wanted to know at what pace South Africa would be moving forward to set the targets established on water provision. He asked if there would be periods of monitoring the progress of South Africa in meeting the agreements made at the WSSD. He asked why some people were saying that they did not make any money at the WSSD. Finally, he pointed out that there was a walk-out by environmentalists at the Summit and wanted to hear comments on this by Mr Naidoo.

Mr D. Naidoo (DEAT) responded that to stay updated on the progress, the committee would receive annual reports by officials, which would also be turned over to the United Nations. Regarding the walk-out by environmentalists who claimed that the Summit was a disaster, Mr Naidoo explained that South Africa had made the decision that sustainable development should be used to alleviate poverty, which would in turn protect the environment. Some environmentalists were not in agreement. He stated that many Northern NGOs have their own agendas.

Ms L. Mbuyazi (IFP) praised the fact that at the WSSD the transportation successfully got people to where they needed to go and that some who could not afford to get into the venue were permitted free admission.

Mr D. Naidoo (DEAT) said that the subsidisation of accreditation and transportation went well. He thought those in charge of those areas did South Africa proud.

Implications of the World Summit on NEPAD
Mr D. Naidoo (DEAT) told the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs and Tourism that the World Summit had acknowledged and accepted Africa as a focal point in world development. Africa showed those at the Summit that it had a plan for its development and was committed to it, to which the Summit stated its endorsement. Other areas of the world are considering similar regionalisation plans modeled after Nepad. The World Summit also introduced the issues of renewable energy, climate change, and disaster management to the Nepad framework. The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) would be helping to develop an environmental plan for Nepad, and AMNCEN would oversee the implementation of the environmental chapter of Nepad.

Questions and Discussion
An alternate member commented that the prostitutes and pornography that could be found in the WSSD vicinity should have been eliminated.

Mr R. September (ANC) said that the success of the Ubuntu Village at the WSSD should be copied and displayed throughout South Africa.

Mr D. Naidoo (DEAT) responded that a piece of the Ubuntu Village was currently being displayed in another town in South Africa, and that it should be copied.

Ms J. Semple (DP) stated that Ubuntu was expensive. She wanted to know how much SMMEs benefited from the Ubuntu Village.

Ms G. Mahlangu (ANC) said that the Johannesburg mayor held a function for those policement and workers who worked at the WSSD, and the portfolio committee should somehow thank the workers for a job well done. She offered the idea of bringing them to the parliamentary debate on the WSSD.

Presentation on The African Process
Mr Andre Share (DEAT) presented on The African Process to the portfolio committee. The African Process for the Development and Protection of the Coastal and Marine Environment, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa is a regional initiative, in which Africa countries develop initiatives to combat the challenges posed to the oceans and coasts within a sustainable development framework. The current strategies to address global oceans and coasts challenges are:
-To enhance and establish Marine Protected Areas
-To mitigate impacts of climate change
-To manage and protect mangrove and coral reefs
-To integrate marine and coastal management
-To control pollution and solid waste management
-To control Coastal erosion and rehabilitation
-To develop mariculture
-To develop sustainable tourism strategies and policies
-To strengthen management, monitoring, control and surveillance capacity

The five key objectives of the African Process are:
-To identify areas, sites or living resources that are either suffering measurable degradation or threatened with future degradation and to determine, through root cause analysis, the leading causes of these impacts.
-To design a programme of interventions, including demonstration projects and preinvestment studies, addressing problems of regional priority.
-To strengthen existing regional institutions, in particular the Nairobi and Abidjan Conventions, and to establish synergies with relevant programmes and projects.
-To provide a framework for facilitating the mobilisation of resources for the sustainable development of the marine and coastal environment.
-To produce a self-sustaining model that can be replicated in other regions or thematic areas.

The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) was responsible for the technical implementation of The African Process through a medium-sized project. Mr Share said that the protection of the fisheries needed to be integrated into the WSSD and Nepad.

Questions and Discussion
Mr J. Le Roux (ANC) asked for an update on the Jolly Rubino, oil tanker.

Mr Andre Share (DEAT) said that the carbon on the Jolly Rubino was still burning and that there was concern that the fire might ignite the oil. However, he said that with the current wind direction, the impact on the coast should be minimal.

Ms J. Semple (DP) stated her concern that there were no partnerships between South Africa and Nigeria in The African Process. She wanted to know how new countries would be brought into the Process.

Mr D. Naidoo (DEAT) said that Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria all participated in the project. He pointed out that the GEF gave funding for a medium size project, which could not incorporate all countries.

Ms L Mbuyazi (IFP) wanted to know if there was a bilateral fishing agreement between South Africa and Namibia.

Mr D. Naidoo (DEAT) said with regards to Namibia, certain fish species and populations fluctuate greatly. When South Africa is experiencing low fish populations of a certain species, Namibia might be gaining a boom. Namibia required that people who are marketing fish must also be the ones who caught it. It can not come from outside ships. Currently, however, there was no agreement on catching with Namibia. The current agreement would become void in December.

Ms J. Chalmers (ANC) asked how capacity would be managed in the African Process. She said that most countries did not have the scientific capacity to address the issues, and they wanted South Africa to carry shark protection forward.

Mr D. Naidoo (DEAT) said that currently Angola, Namibia, and South Africa all research the coast, but agreed that there needed to be a joint effort and understanding of fish stocks. Regarding capacity, he said that there was civil society representation present on the preparatory committee, as government alone could not implement the projects. Finally, he said that they were planning on expanding capacity to other countries.

Mr R. September (ANC) said there was a need for South Africa to carry the population with them in The African Process. He believed there needed to be a plan of partnership with people and NGOS. He believed there needed to be a mutual agreement on the issue, and asked to what extent South Africa was relying on old scientists and not training new ones.

Mr D. Naidoo (DEAT) responded that NGOs were being incorporated in the process. He said that South Africa held conferences on marine science, in which one 100 South African students were invited to attend and make presentations. The most recent conference was held in Namibia.

Mr J. Arendse (ANC) wanted to know if it was known what skills would be needed to implement the plan. He said the needed to balance the impact of tourism on biodiversity. He also commented on the loss of opportunities to develop plant life commercially, because of Northern countries taking over.

Mr D. Naidoo (DEAT) said that South Africa had costed the projects, as had the other countries. With regards to the patenting of the environment, he shared Mr Arendse's concern and agreed that it needed to be looked into. Mr Naidoo said that the money earned from the indigenous species or knowledge of a community needed to go back to the communities.

Mr M. Moss (ANC) said that coastal erosion in his constituency was occurring at a very high rate, and his poorer communities located on the beach wanted to know what was being done to protect their homes. He wanted to know what had been done and if professionals from other countries had been consulted.

Mr D. Naidoo (DEAT) stated that the building of harbours in his area had affected the coastlines. He said that the dredging of the coasts would coast R21 million. The department was currently looking for other ways to do this, but still had to do an environmental impact assessment. An international team was looking at the issue.

A member wanted to know if DEAT had the capacity to run this program. He stated that there needed to be more commitment from the politicians.

Ms G. Mahlangu (ANC) thanked the presenters, and the meeting was adjourned.


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