Africa strives for a climate resilient economy

Africa strives for a climate resilient economy
Africa strives for a climate resilient economy
Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa says collaboration between the public and private sectors will contribute to the development of a climate resilient economy in Africa.

Minister Molewa said this in an address at the Paris Agreement in Africa event at the World Economic Forum in Africa (WEFA), in Durban, on Friday.

The session brought together the World Economic Forum’s Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, and CEOs who are part of the group and those interested in joining their group, key government officials and international organisations to discuss the priorities and opportunities for delivering the Paris Agreement.

Minister Molewa said the adoption of the landmark Paris Agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015 concluded a four-year negotiating process that was mandated by the COP17 hosted by South Africa in Durban in December 2011.

By ratifying the Paris Agreement, countries had not only committed to the implementation of their Nationally Determined Contributions to ensure that greenhouse gasses  are reduced, but had agreed that investment should takes place in climate resilient communities.

The discussion at the World Economic Forum, covered priority areas for Africa to realise the opportunities for accelerating low carbon action and to manage the risks associated with the impact of climate change, with specific emphasis on the risks associated with water management and sustainable agriculture.

Minister Molewa said at the COP22 Marrakesh Climate Conference in Morocco in November 2016, the political message was clear – that the “momentum behind the Paris Agreement is irreversible and that it is in every Party’s interest to deliver on the contribution it has communicated under the Agreement”.

The message from the 2017 WEFA was therefore to remind and urge all Parties, including the US, not to backtrack on these issues of importance to humanity.

Delivering on the Paris Agreement requires unprecedented public and private partnerships to create the best pathways to enable an inclusive economic growth that supports low-carbon and climate resilient economies, delegates heard.

“Securing access to new, additional and predictable sources of funding without unrealistic pre-conditions is of central importance to African and other developing countries.

“As highlighted in Marrakesh, there needs to be predictability of public climate finance flows from 2016 to 2020,” the Minister said.

As countries moved towards the development of a green economy, there would be a need for “effective understanding of climate-related financial risks that prevent clear planning, decision-making and investment” in the public and private sectors.

These risks must be mitigated and or better- less risky models be found.

Adapt to climate change

“Also required is a greater understanding of the urgency to adapt to climate change, and an understanding of the scale of low-carbon investment needed to prevent dangerous climate change,” Minister Molewa said.

The Paris Agreement secured commitments by a global alliance to mobilise up to US$1 trillion in solar investments.

On behalf of the African continent, Minister Molewa called on the developed countries to honour their commitments to the developing world, particularly African countries, and support Adaptation and Mitigation programmes to enable the Continent to transition to a low-carbon economy.

Furthermore, the importance of Climate Smart Agriculture in Africa was also discussed.

The absence of specific agriculture related matters in the Paris Agreement short-changes organized and coordinated actions in the development of the agricultural sector and its responses to climate change.

The Minister said South Africa is among the pioneers in adopting the green economy strategies. The hallmark was the signing of the Green Economy Accord in 2011 and the adoption in 2012 of the National Development Plan 2030, which committed the country to an “environmentally sustainable and equitable transition to a low carbon inclusive economy.”

She said South Africa has put in place many programmes and policy frameworks in the recent past, to translate the NDP Vision 2030 into action. The country is currently implementing programmes to promote energy efficiency, green transport, sustainable housing and climate resilient agriculture.

“We are glad that there is great visible progress on these sectors as we all see new multimodal transport in cities like Johannesburg, Tshwane and Cape Town.

“We will forge ahead with the green development in these cities. Through the Green Cities program, our government continues to ensure that all other cities implement the green development measures, including in greening all our human settlements and habitats,” the Minister said.

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