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Climate Change


As a build up to the 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17 Conference on Climate Change), Mpumalanga Province held a high profile climate change summit at Ehlanzeni District Municipality office complex in Nelspruit, from 06 – 07 October 2011.

Addressing the delegates during the summit, MEC  for Economic Environment and Tourism, Mr Norman Mokoena said '' Climate change posses a serious threat to the existence of human beings and other living organisms, and if drastic measures are not taken to combat climate change, we will continue to be the biggest treat towards the  environment .

''We must play a critical role in the reduction of green house gas emissions, subsequent to the declaration of the Highveld Priority Area , and it is pleasing that a number of steps have been taken to ensure a focussed approach to the management of  air quality in the Highveld. Some of the critical milestones include the establishment of the Highveld Priority Area Air Quality Officers Forum in which each municipality included in the Priority Area is represented,'' said MEC Mokoena.

Responding to climate change and preparations for COP 17, Minister of Water Affairs and Environment Ms Edna Molewa said, '' South Africa needs to act now to prevent irreversible damage to the environment. During the COP 17 meetings, South Africa will seek pro-poor resolutions in line with Africa’s development and agenda. COP 17 will see over 20 000 delegates from more than 190 countries descending on our shores to seek mechanisms to combat the challenge we are facing.

Declaration of the Summit

The signatories to Mpumalanga's Climate Change Declaration acknowledge the reality and importance of climate change and are committed to:

  • Mitigating climate change impact through reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Co-operating with affected sectors (e.g. agriculture, water, mining, forestry, local authorities, industry, energy, transport) to reduce the impacts.  Areas of cooperation include the transfer of technologies relating to inter alia, the following areas:

                      -  Climate change adaptation and mitigation
                      -  Support for adaptation projects in the Province in line with sustainable development priorities 
                      -  Technology development initiatives           
                      -  Energy efficiency and renewable energy
                      -  Agricultural efficiency and sustainability
                      -  Exploring the feasibility of carbon capture and storage     
                      -  Broad collaborative scientific research related to global climate change and energy and climate science

  • Education and creating awareness to establish programmes and projects in partnership with all stakeholders to respond to the challenge of climate change;
  • Improving cooperation between government, business and all social partners to address environment challenges;
  • Ensuring the conservation of biodiversity in the province;
  • Ensuring the contribution of ecosystem goods and services to the social and economic development of the Province;
  • Increasing the contribution of a low carbon footprint in the economy of the province through the promotion of renewable energies and the creation of sustainable livelihoods;
  • Promoting the development of a green economy through inter alia, the implementation of the waste management hierarchy, cleaner technologies and development mechanisms;
  • Encouraging government, business and industry to engage in sustainable climate change projects in Mpumalanga;
  • Ensuring green design in urban and rural settlements.

The declaration recognises that all levels of government, communities and sectors, play a key role in our collective response to the challenge of climate change, and publicly demonstrate our commitment to action.

THE ROLE OF STRATEGIC STAKEHOLDERS ARE DEFINED AS FOLLOWS:

Policymakers

  • To Set up a provincial innovation council in the Office of the Premier or the Office of the District Mayors and have regional innovation forums at district municipalities, to address the agenda on climate change, and the relevant departments to partner with National Government as we continue to set up an enabling environment. Government will develop policy instruments to change behaviour of industry and society at large. (the National Department of Science and Technology, National Department of Trade and Industry and the Dedet in the Province should be the strategic co-ordinator of all departments and Municipalities).

Financing

  • Trade and Investment agencies, MEGA, IDC, NEF, other regional agencies should design funding models that also address contingency plans to growth path and climate change incentives, to manage long term rehabilitation plans.

Operators

  • Technology, Innovation agency, Science parks, Public Research and development Centres and FET's should be the strategic support base for the province in rapid prototyping solutions to climate change.

Private sector

  • Industry associations, research institutes, funds, foundations, enterprises at local and district municipalities should be the implementers of these rapid prototype solutions developed by operators to bring a competitive sustainable advantage for the Province to de-marginalise communities.
The summit was also used as a platform to pay tribute to a fallen hero, a fallen environmentalist, a great women, and inspiration for many women across Africa, a magnificent visionary the late Professor Wangari Maathai, a combative Nobel Peace Prize winner who died at the age of 71.
 

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