Maritime Governance and Sustainable Development; Report back on COP25 outcomes and implications for South Africa, with Minister

Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

10 March 2020
Chairperson: Mr F Xasa (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) said international law is worth very little without national implementation and this is why PGA is always at the United Nations and other conferences bringing Members of Parliament to the Conferences for them to be involved in the process and not only when passing the Bills. PGA does this by inviting parliamentarians to the United Nations conferences to expose members to the parliamentary process of implementing laws at an international level, for them to be able to implement them at a national level in their various countries. 

There are three treaties which build a legal framework to fight illegal fishing. Illegal fishing is not only a fisheries issue. It includes dealing with safety at sea and the livelihoods of people.

There are countries such as Indonesia who decide to close its borders to fishing boats which are not national. Indonesia went as far as bombing such boats if it was found in its national waters illegally.

Implementation of the Port's Agreement is the best method. A study done by the New York Times showed that illegal fishing without a licence also usually involved victims of human trafficking and forced labour. It might be difficult for the International Labour Organization (ILO) to prove fishermen are fishing illegally, but it can easily prove people working there are doing so illegally.

Abalobi non-profit organisation said one of the biggest challenges faced by small scale fisheries is it is much disassociated and disempowered from markets. It operates from a disadvantaged position, causing it to sell its products at a low value. Apart from this, is faces quota challenges of being asked to fish not exceeding a certain amount. This makes it difficult for livelihoods. As such, there is a need to fast track implementation of new policies. There is a disconnect between what happens in a small scale fishing industry and what happens in the market.

The South African Safety Authority (SAMSA) spoke to what it is doing regarding illegal fishing in South Africa. According to the Cape Town Agreement and Fishing Convention, SAMSA has a right to go on board any illegal fishing boat landing in its water, to check the safety and other living conditions of the boat, and people working on it. In terms of IUU fishing, SAMSA is allowed to inspect any boats to find out if it conforms to rules and agreements. There is a recent case where SAMSA crew members took action against a Chinese boat confiscated in SA waters, and are in the process of repatriating it back to its country of origin.

The Minister of the Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries, Ms Barbara Creecy said overall COP25 was a disappointment to developing countries. Issues of recognition of Africa Special Circumstances, amongst others, was transferred to the agenda of the next UNFCCC COP, scheduled to take place in November 2020 in Glasgow in the UK. This will look at trade barriers associated with climate response measures.

The UN Secretary General said at the African Union in February 2020, the disappointing outcomes of COP25 centres around the three emphases of the Paris Agreement. These are mitigation (making sure countries emit fewer greenhouse gases), adaptation (making sure those who are already impacted by climate change can do something about it by creating more climate-resilient countries), and thirdly, he talked about the means of implementation (these are financial and technological support.) 

These three all had to be focused on without neglecting any one of it.

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed Members from both Houses of Parliament, the guest from PGA, and all other participants. The session was meant to brief the Committee on Maritime Governance, Sustainable Development by PGA, and Small Scale Fisheries Development. It is also a presentation by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) on the update on key outcomes of UNFCCC COP25 Climate Change Conference, held from 02 to 15 December 2019 in Madrid, Spain, where Minister Barbara Creecy attended.

Presentation by Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA)
Ms Leyla Nikjou, Senior Advisor Ocean Campaign, PGA, said PGA is a global network for parliamentarians by parliamentarians with over 1 300 members worldwide in over 130 countries. To be a member, you must be elected as a parliamentarian. PGA deals with other issues as well such as the International Law on Human Rights Program dealing with international justice issues. There is also a Gender Equality Program and the Peace and Security Program.

The presentation detailed what PGA does around the ocean in line with Sustainable Development Goal 14. South Africa has seven members and is not far away from being a national Group.

PGA is more focused on taking actions by the declarations made by parliamentarians each year on the action plan to be taken, such as ratification, implementation of the treaties such as the Cape Town Agreement (CTA), Working Fishing Convention (WFC), and the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA).
 

Those three treaties build a legal framework to fight illegal fishing. Illegal fishing is not only a fisheries issue. It includes:

  • dealing with safety at sea
  • livelihoods of people working on fishing boats
  • food security
  • if there is a lot of illegal fishing taking place, the small scale fishermen closer to the coast will not have opportunities to catch fish at all
  • rights of those people who use traditional methods, and cannot catch fish anymore because of industrial methods used by illegal fisheries
  • women’s rights especially those who work in a small scale fisheries are women

 

South Africa will be an ideal country to hold a regional meeting as well as an international meeting on PGA. This will allow other members to come and learn how South Africa implemented these international treaties and what challenges it faces in small scale fisheries.

 

The work PGA is doing around small scale fisheries includes working together with environmental institutes on implementing the guidelines from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on the voluntary guidelines for small scale fisheries. At the moment there is no international law guiding small scale fisheries, and it is totally dependent upon countries. There is a need for international guidelines where small scale fishermen are protected by law. It is developing guidelines for this to come up with a template that talks about what was successful or not. This is why the exchange of parliamentarians becomes so important, to share experiences. The high seas were the common heritage of mankind and there was not one country which had jurisdiction over the high seas. As such, there is a need for countries to come together at the United Nations to discuss the High Seas Treaty. The meeting was supposed to take place in March this year but it was postponed due to the Coronavirus infection pandemic.

Discussion
Mr N Singh (IFP) asked the PGA team if the international laws are implemented and monitored for the benefit of millions of people around the world. This is because there are international commercial fisheries that catch large amounts of fish without proper monitoring and yet small scale fishermen are punished for catching fish to feed their families. Are there international examples of illegal fishermen whose trawlers are confiscated? How does international law deal with issues of consequence management? He also asked what is its understanding of Sustainable Development.

Ms W Ngwenya (ANCl Gauteng) asked if the Department has set up cooperatives in coastal areas for the small scale fisheries and if yes, how many cooperatives are owned by women. To how many provinces has the Department rolled out the small scales fisheries?  What is the duration period of the small scale fishing rights allocated to the cooperatives? Are they renewable? If yes, what are the criteria? What is the true state of the fishery resources available to commercial fishing? 

Ms Nikjou answered by saying international law is worth very little without national implementation and this is why PGA is always at the United Nations and other conferences bringing Members of Parliament to the conferences for them to be involved in the process, not only when passing the Bill but from the beginning. PGA does this by inviting parliamentarians to the United Nations conferences to expose Members to the parliamentary process of implementing laws at an international level, for them to be able to implement them at a national level in their various countries. 

Regarding the IUU Fishing and the Cape Town Agreement, there is the issue of implementation, enforcement, and capacity. This means, even if the law is implemented, it may not be enforced because of a lack of capacity to enforce.

On confiscation and management, Ms Nikjou said there are other countries such as Indonesia who just decide to close its borders to other fishing boats which are not national. For Indonesia, it went as far as bombing such boats if it was found in its national waters illegally.

Implementation of the Port's Agreement is the best method. A study done by the New York Times on an investigative journalist who wrote a series on illegal fishing around the world showed that illegal fishing without a licence is also usually involved with victims of human trafficking, and forced labour.

It might be difficult for the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to prove fishermen are fishing illegally, but it can easily prove people working there are doing so illegally. The guidelines towards fishing in the oceans also apply regarding inland fishing. PGA is working closely with FAO on this matter. In countries such as Namibia, PGA is working with the National Fisheries on a big project involving inland fisheries. PGA is working in 130 countries and is exposed to different Parliamentarians who know fisheries. Ms Nikjou said if there are any questions she cannot answer, she can connect people to those who have expert knowledge in the fisheries area.

Sustainable development is the implementation nationally of international UN Sustainable Development Goals. These goals usually change after some years because it is not fully met after a certain period. There cannot be a legal definition of sustainability. Sustainable development is the way for the environment and humans to live together securely without creating too much harm to each other. 
 
Presentation by Abalobi: Transformation of Small Scale Fishing in South Africa
Dr Serge Raemaekers, Managing Director, Abalobi, gave a presentation on the transformation of the small scale fisheries policy in South Africa (SA) since the end of the apartheid era. His presentation was titled: Enabling Small Scale Fisheries from Hook to Cook.

There is a wide range of different fisheries in SA ranging from short-based to broad-based fisheries. These are spread throughout the shoreline bordering from Namibia in the West to Kwazulu-Natal, and towards the border with Mozambique. The fisheries industry is mostly male dominated, particularly in the Western Cape. There are many small scale fisheries along the estuaries and in the Eastern Cape (EC), and many women are involved in small scale fishing during the inter-tidal and spring-load periods harvesting resources such as mussels, oysters and such. Some of them are using old traditional methods of traps to catch fish. There is a population of about 50,000 to 100,000 in SA that depends on small scale fisheries.

These are spread throughout the country and are among different cultures, linked to geographical locations of about 300 to 350 communities. Government is in the process of recognising small scale fisheries. There are also some inland fisheries in a couple of dams in different provinces, which are not as big as in countries such as Uganda. These are used for selling or for household food security.

There is a wide variety of species of fish such as the iconic snoek fish, harvested in different parts both in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape. There are several Marine Protected Areas in the EC where traditional fishing communities are still fighting for fishing rights.

During the colonial and apartheid era, fisheries law prioritised the needs of commercial and recreational users while small scale informal traditional practices were marginalised up until 1998.This was a period when local coastal communities started claiming their fishing rights for socio-economic livelihoods and this has been going on for the past 15 years with various tensions at various times.

Since 2004, the fishing communities in the Western Cape, through the help of various organisations went to the Constitutional Court and the Equality courts to fight for its rights, arguing that since the end of the apartheid era, the transformation and reallocation have not met the needs of these communities. It also said that policies are not in tune with traditional rights of these communities. In 2007, the Constitutional Court ruled in favour of these fishing communities and, asked the fishing authorities to go back to its drawing board to come up with new policies through participatory policy formulation processes with these coastal line communities.

These policies have to recognize the traditional rights of fishing communities. This policy participatory process was gazetted in 2012 and it takes into context the human rights and fishing rights of the communities. This small scale policy is still implemented now. This means other small scale fishing communities are yet to receive fishing rights.

Previously, both the small scale and commercial fisheries had to get a permit or right from the Post Office for fish. Over the years through the opening of SA borders, the fishing industry experienced very organised illegal fishery, which specifically harvests the lucrative abalone and exports this sea harvest to Eastern countries such as China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

On the international market, from the legal point of view, SA is the smallest exporter of abalone while from an illegal point of view, it is the highest exporter reaching as far as 3 000 to 4 000 tons of abalone exported yearly.

From a governance point of view, how do we address illegal fisheries through the IUU for a resource re-allocation and for fishing rights of these coastal communities? How do we recognize community rights for these water resources for communities to harvest a scientifically recommended quota sustainably? How can the Government stimulate collaborative management with fishing communities through a scientific talk where all participants can speak the same language from the position of equal power and, how do we implement small scale fishing policy by building enough tools and capacity for this to be successful?

This is where the Abalobi comes in, intending to help the small scale communities with policies which recognize its human rights and fishing rights for its livelihood. Even though the fisheries in the Western Cape are currently male dominated, several females are involved at a small unrecognised scale. The other interesting thing is, certain species of fish such as the SA iconic yellow-tailed oriole fish displays deep ecological knowledge of its environment concerning other different species, resources, and the surrounding habitat. At a governance level, if such knowledge is fully acquired, this can be instrumental in understanding some of the climate change and pollution-induced challenges we are facing.

Challenges
One of the biggest challenges faced by small scale fisheries, is it is much disassociated and disempowered from markets. It operates from a disadvantaged position, causing it to sell its products at a low value. Apart from this, is faces quota challenges of being asked to fish not exceeding a certain amount. This makes it difficult for livelihoods. As such, there is a need to fast track implementation of new policies considering that small scale fishing communities have a deep ecological knowledge of the local fishing industry. There is a disconnect between what happens in a small scale fishing industry and what happens in the market.

Opportunities for a Change and to Rebuild Fishing Industries
One of the other opportunities is for the small scale fishing communities to start using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the marketplace. ICT has the potential to interconnect the small scale fishing communities through interconnected mobile apps and cloud-based technologies, including an electronic Catch Documentation and Traceability Platform at a marketplace. This can be beneficial as an integrated digital transactional system. The other benefit is, this technological design system is human centered and is aimed at undertaking capacity building towards community entrepreneurship and improved safety at sea.

This ICT program design is implemented in nine different communities as a way of capacity building. This Fisher App records fishers’ catch, expenses, and sales by visibly displaying data. The free mobile app has the potential to hold the fish buyer in terms of delayed payments or exploitative buying prices offered to the fisherman. This app also has a link for fishing authorities to monitor fishing tools, for recording accurate fishing data from various fishing communities. This mobile app also connects the public such as the chefs, and retailers to fishers, so they can buy and pay directly from and to these small scale fisheries in such a way it is highly traceable. This has the potential to transform the small scale fishing industry.

How does the Value-Chain Work in the Small Scale Fisheries
Through satellite tracking via communication and catch reporting, fisher analytics, quality control, and collective stock-taking and bargaining in marketplaces, to traceable digital payments. All this is done through mobile smart-phone apps by reaching market places along the coastal lines as well as far inland markets such as Johannesburg.
 
Entry Points for Software as a Service and Enabled Marketplace
The entry points for Abalobi are through various points ranging from safety at sea, community catch monitoring, self-reporting, tracking, traceability in the supply chain, data collection from boat to plate, market access, fisheries improvement projects, community small business development, digital payments, and financial services.

Key Design Principles of the App
It is designed in such a way so as to encourage fishers to start small. This encourages trust among them. This app is a human centred design. The other key principle is, it is a clear tech and data ownership app considering data is power. It is also real-time data feedback through the right visualisation and process. Finally, it is self-sustainability.

Mr Selwyn Bailey, Fishing Safety Specialist, SAMSA, said he has answers about what SAMSA is doing regarding illegal fishing in South Africa. According to the Cape Town Agreement and Fishing Convention, SAMSA has a right to go on board any illegal fishing boat landing in its water, to check the safety and other living conditions of the boat, and people working on it. In terms of IUU fishing, SAMSA is allowed to inspect any boats to find out if it conforms to rules and agreements.

There is a recent case where SAMSA crew members took action against a Chinese boat confiscated in SA waters, and are in the process of repatriating it back to its country of origin.

The Chairperson said some of the questions are overlapping with some of the presentations yet to be completed. Such questions will be answered after the presentations are made. Other questions have not been answered because the small scale fisheries presenter, Dr Raemaekers, was not available in Parliament to answer. The Committee will organise a day to invite him to answer some of the questions about small scale fisheries.

Ms Nikjou said she spoke to Dr Raemaekers and he said the audio is available on Google store, and he will send the link to the Parliament Committee.

In the next meeting arranged, there will be facilities and provisions to cater for all South African languages.

Presentation by the South African Maritime Authority (SAMSA)
Improving Maritime Governance, IUU Fishing, and High Seas
Mr Bailey gave a presentation on the Implementation of the 2012 Cape Town Agreement and the work in Fishing Convention. IUU deals with fishing and fishing related activities carried out in contravention (illegal) of national, regional and international laws. This includes non-reporting, misreporting or under-reporting information on fishing operations and its catches (unreported) fishing by “stateless” vessels (unregulated).

IUU Fishing is widely associated with unsafe vessels and human rights violations. South Africa and SAMSA have ratified both the Cape Town Agreement, 2012, and the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007, (C188). This is in agreement and support of the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Port State Measures Agreement.

The 2012 Cape Town Agreement on implementation of the Provisions of the 1993 Protocol, adopted by a Diplomatic Conference in Cape Town, seeks to give effect to the Provisions of the Torremolinos Protocol on the Construction, Equipment and Safety Management of Fishing vessels over 24 metres in length operating on the high seas.

Advantages of entry into force of the Cape Town Agreement include reduced accidents, benefits of harmonised regulations, vessel transfer between states, control and surveillance (port inspections), and improved safety culture.

The 2007 Work in Fishing Convention (C188)
There is an International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention which seeks to regulate decent work for fishers globally. The objective of the Convention is to ensure fishers worldwide have decent work through a modern legal instrument which can be widely ratified. C188 requirements include general principles and responsibilities, minimum requirements for work, conditions of service as well as occupational health and safety.
 
Joint Port State Measures (PSMA) and C188 Port State Control Inspection
Through a joint operation the fishing vessel “Yong Qing FA No. 666” was arrested. It arrived unannounced outside the Port of Cape Town at the end of November 2019. The DEFF started an investigation under the PSMA and asked SAMSA to inspect the vessel’s safety according to C188. The vessel was since detained by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), under Section 240 of the Merchant Shipping Act, for being unseaworthy. Apart from this, SAMSA also found non-conformities with C188. It informed the Flag State and the ILO, because of its obligation as contained in the Articles of the Convention, becoming the first Member State to do so.

Mr Vernon Keller, Deputy Chief Operations Officer, SAMSA, said the Yong Qing FA 666 boat arrived unannounced on the Cape Town port. It was determined it was abandoned by the vessel owner and on inspection, it was noted the vessel was unseaworthy according to the Fishing Convention because it had no food, no water, no electricity, and the conditions for the workers were not good. SAMSA therefore used the C188 Convention to invoke 43 and 44 of the Convention and the ILO was notified about the detention of the vessel and will proceed to sell it if no one claims its ownership. The initial judicial process of sale for the vessel started in January 2020 and once this is done, the vessel will be sold to cover for the payment costs of the workers and other costs such as their repatriation to countries of origin, which are Taiwan and Myanmar.
 
Discussion 
Mr N Paulsen (EFF) asked what types of resources are put in place to enforce the implementation of the promulgation, considering the first set of regulations which governs vessels under 24 metres long will soon be promulgated. How are seafarers able to report to authorities such as the CCMA or Labour Courts if the working conditions in their vessels are not following the required standards? How regularly does SAMSA engage with vessel owners to update them with all these new regulations and check they are abiding by it? Which employers does SAMSA consult with?
 
Ms M Khawula (EFF) asked several questions in isiZulu which were interpreted as follows:
What is so important between human beings and wild animals? Most of the time when a wild animal is killed, there is news all over but when the animal kills a human being, it is business as usual as what happened in Jozini. How many women are supported to have permits in these fisheries, how much support do women get, why is the Committee not doing oversight to communities to see for themselves the challenges people are facing, what is the DEFF doing about animals polluting the water people need for domestic use, what is the DEFF doing about animals who have become extinct, what about the dam in East London that is highly polluted, what is the Environmental Department doing about it, why does the DEFF not teach or inform communities through media to inform them about all these challenges, what about the safety of people working on farms, what does the Government do about it?
  
The Chairperson said these questions were mostly directed to the Committee and this does not mean all of them should be answered immediately.
 
Mr Singh asked how the Taiwan vessel entered the South African ports if it is not seaworthy, it the liaison office for Taiwan here in South Africa has been contacted regarding this vessel, and what is our surveillance capacity in our oceans?
 
Mr Bailey said enforcing the under 24-meter regulations does not affect the old one because SAMSA does not need to change anything. SAMSA has already inspected them. What will be done is simply to introduce this new regulation to the new vessels. The standard of the new regulations is very close to the old standards. Apart from this, there are no additional resources needed to police the implementation of under 24 meter vessels.

SAMSA conducts annual inspections on Board to check safety pieces of equipment, safety training, job contracts and also check all the general working conditions of workers. Sometimes, it does have complaints of non-compliance. For example, on the West Coast, there was a single boat owner who employed three men but he did not comply with regulations on the working conditions of these workers. SAMSA came up with a one pager to make it easy to understand and comply with.

Generally, it has 60% compliance from boat owners. Whenever the worker has an issue with the employer, they report the matter to SAMSA and it helps to intervene to make sure the employer is compliant with regulations.

All fishing trawlers belong to a bargaining council that has its agreement. SAMSA checks such agreements to see if it complies with regulations. For example, if an employee comes to SAMSA to complain about wages, it checks if the person belongs to the bargaining council and SAMSA refers him to them to deal with the matter.
 
SAMSA engages with all role players in the industry such as the bargaining council, the State Council, communities to make sure that it shares with them any important issues about the fishing industry.

There are two companies with women going to sea. One is in St Francis and another one in Saldhana. Apart from these, there are no other fishery companies supporting women.

On animals polluting the water, Mr Bailey said this is a question directed to the municipality because SAMSA deals with pollution in the seas. Apart from these, all questions should be directed to the Small Scale Fisheries.  
 
The Chairperson thanked PGA for proving to be a good partner in empowering parliamentarians regarding issues on the Protection of Oceans and Implementation of the SDG 14. He thanked SAMSA for its role and declared this section of the meeting closed.
 
Presentation by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) on the update on key outcomes of UNFCCC COP25 Climate Change Conference, held from 02 to 15 December 2019 in Madrid, Spain
 Minister Barbara Creecy introduced Mr Maesela Kekana, Chief Director: Climate Change, Air Quality and Sustainable Development, DEFF, to do the briefing.

South African Priorities for COP25

Some of the South African priorities for COP25 include complete work under Article 6 on guidance to cooperative approaches, Rules Modalities, and Procedures of the mechanism and the work program on non-market approaches.

The urgency of these issues is evident with the disasters which have taken place in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, as well as in Durban.

Some of the substantive outcomes of COP25 were as follows:

  • the Conference made incremental progress
  • It adopted a Gender Action plan, and
  • made progress on agriculture and technology

Overall it was a disappointment to developing countries. Issues of recognition of Africa Special Circumstances, amongst others, were transferred to the agenda of the next UNFCCC COP scheduled to take place in November 2020 in Glasgow in the UK. This will look at trade barriers associated with climate response measures.

Positive Outcomes for the COP25 

  • Adopting the enhanced five-year Lima Work Programme and its Gender Action Plan
  • financing and strengthening the capacity of women
  • Deciding the Paris Committee on Capacity Building (PCCB) serves the Paris agreement
  • Adopted the work-plan of the Forum on the Impact of the Implementation of Response Measures and the Katowice Committee of Experts on the Impacts of the Implementation of Response Measure

Way Forward

COP26 will take place in Glasgow, UK and this is probably why the UK MPs want to come to South Africa in preparation for this meeting. South Africa and all parties to the UNFCCC are expected to update their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and also submit long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LEDs) this year.

The Department said it will use its position as Chair of Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) and African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) to consolidate a common African position, based on science, moral authority and alliances, and make sure Africa is not left behind. Trust must be rebuilt between developed and developing countries.

The Department advocates for African countries to secure the finance, technology and other support required to raise ambition, more effectively combat climate change and to transition their economies to more sustainable development pathways. It will focus on the strategic aspects of unlocking new, additional and at scale financial support such as grants, instead of conditional loans with high co-financing rations that could exacerbate Africa’s debt burden. Those are the top priorities moving into

COP26.

Discussion

Mr Paulsen asked how the DEFF is measuring the interventions of climate change, what technologies are being used considering most of the available ones are only in developed countries and for developing countries to acquire them, it will cost a lot, why should technology meant to benefit mankind be sold instead of allowing all countries to use it, what do these technologies do, can the DEFF not develop such technologies locally?

Mr Singh asked to what extent the South African Development Corporation (SADC) and the European Union (EU) come together to lobby for climate change, what is the Department doing locally to strengthen the capacity of youth and women financially related to challenges induced by climate change, and if there was anything he could take with him to share with other delegates when he attends the Political Communication of Climate Change in Paris this year?

Ms N Gantsho (ANC) asked what the status of US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change is and what the consequences of US withdrawal is for South Africa and the rest of the Continent?

The Minister said these questions go to the heart of politics on climate change. This also links with the questions on how the South African Government deals with delegations coming from other countries. What the UN Secretary General said at the African Union in February 2020 about the disappointing outcomes of COP25 centres around the three emphases of the Paris Agreement.

These are:

- mitigation (making sure countries emit fewer greenhouse gases),

- adaptation (making sure those who are already impacted by climate change can do something about it by creating more climate-resilient countries)

- Thirdly, he talked about the means of implementation (these are financial and technological support.)

The United States withdrawal means all other developed countries also withdraw, because US withdrawal would create uncertainties especially on the issues of mitigation and adaptation targets. This would impact South Africa and the rest of the Continent negatively because our Continent is already impacted by climate change

We are already facing adaptation challenges such as sea-level rise, storms, increasingly dry conditions, and extreme weather events. All these cost money and affect the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on African countries.

For example, the storm which destroyed Beira in one night, what impact has that brought on the GDP of Mozambique? More especially considering Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world. Where does the money come from to rebuild Beira?

What the international community is saying is there are two places where it can get the money from:

  • either from a bilateral agreement whereby developed countries will provide grant funding under specified conditions and because the country needs the money, it will agree to those conditions or,
  • if a country wants funding without conditions, then it can go to financial institutions and this will contribute to debt because it is loan financing

This is why COP25 was a very difficult conference for Africa. The African Group of Negotiators in this matter met before COP25 in Durban to discuss Africa's mandate to go to COP 25, and our countries are influenced by this mandate. The idea is to work as a Continent and not as multi-lateral institutions and of course, the Continent has other relations such as G77. What is important is to work in the reflection of those three mandates of the Paris Agreement: Mitigation, ambition, and means of implementation.

Not only one of these mandates must be emphasized at the neglect of the others. It relates to if you are in a developed or in a developing country. It relates to the current contribution to carbon emissions and historical contributions to carbon emissions. It is very important to understand that context.

These three issues are important to consider even at the conference that Mr Singh is attending in Paris this year in November. One cannot discuss carbon emission in the absence of mitigation, ambition, and means of implementation. It is a tendency of developed countries only to talk about mitigation and not to talk about means of implementation and adaptation. So for COP26, there must be a global goal not only on mitigation but on adaptation as well.

Africa is already spending 2 - 9% of its GDP on adaptation. In the past, people had the view that talking about adaptation means you are admitting there is climate change. But, science speaks for itself and experience speaks for itself. By not accepting that extreme weather events are happening and impacting in developing countries, you are denying the realities and difficulties developing countries are facing. Those are some of the general points which have to be made by the representatives to the Conference that Mr Singh is attending this year in Paris.

Mr Kekana said whatever measures are undertaken, it reflects in the inventory if achievements are made or not, concerning the set targets. Besides this, there are monitoring and evaluation targets which must be established to measure the impacts of the projects going on, such as the one in KZN which is aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

The system can see an impact is made or not. There is the provision from the Paris Agreement on that as well for all countries to improve on the monitoring and evaluation systems. South Africa was one of the recipients of funding aimed at a capacity building initiative on transparency for the expansion of the system and is in the process of participating in some committees which help other developing countries to build such systems. Because of that, South Africa has been able to submit transparency reports more than other developed countries because of the systems built right from the beginning. This was in anticipation of the monitoring evaluation of the programs. On the technological aspect, this has always been a difficult issue because, under the Convention, there is a technology whereby every country has a national focal point and in the context of South Africa, it is the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

However, there was a disjuncture where it could have a plan even at a provincial level and submit it, but if there is no financing to help those technologies, then it becomes a problem. What COP25 did was link up the think tank with the finance mechanism of the Global Climate Finance (GCF). Without financing, it becomes difficult to implement those plans. It was a breakthrough because it links directly with the implementation on the ground. 

On the question regarding gender, the program was designed in such a way, it is more focused internally on UNFCCC to see if there is progress when it comes to advancing the issues of gender. So far, it has not gone beyond the country level if there are enough women in the Convention itself and what their role is. There was no monitoring for that.

The new plan is to call for monitoring this and it also calls for countries to ensure policies implemented are gender-responsive. From the Department’s perspective, there is a lot of partnership with the gender movement here at home and also internationally so it can feed on each other. There are regular meetings but the main focus is to make sure there is capacity building on the ground, so people are aware of climate change and enhancement of indigenous knowledge. This is a partnership between the Department and Gender Climate Change which is ongoing. It is beginning to influence the Southern African Development Community (SADCC) region. This partnership is on-going. The gender issue is not only limited to UNFCC discussions but also extends to another sphere such as science and so forth. The Department works with this organization in the country. In this 5 year plan, the idea is to increase women’s participation in the issues of climate change. This issue also calls for delegation to make sure women's participation increases. 

The Chairperson said such discussions will keep on happening as COP26 approaches. The Department will keep the Committee on board as well as including others, such as municipalities and provinces.

The meeting was adjourned.

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