Taking action against climate change in South Africa

Programme description

Title: Climate Support Programme (CSP)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)
Country: South Africa
Lead executing agency: Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA)
Overall term: 2009 to 2016

Climate change affects almost all aspects of daily life in South Africa. The impact of extreme weather events such as droughts and floods is felt most strongly by the poor sections of the population. At the same time, South Africa is a major emitter of greenhouse gases, generating its electricity largely from its own coal resources. The emission rate is at almost ten tonnes of carbon dioxide per person per year – 43% more than the global average. As a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, South Africa has made a voluntary commitment to combat climate change. It aims at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 34% by 2020 and 42% by 2025.

South Africa has taken important steps towards implementing its national climate policy and plays a leading role in international climate negotiations.

The Climate Support Programme (CSP) forms part of the International Climate Initiative (ICI) and is being implemented on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). It supports the South African Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in achieving its ambitious objectives. CSP has provided significant assistance to DEA in developing South Africa’s national climate policy and now supports its implementation. A system for measuring, reporting and verifying (MRV) climate-relevant activities is being set up with German support. GIZ is advising DEA in particular in the areas of scientific analysis, policy development and consensus building, thus supporting South Africa in creating a solid foundation for shaping and efficiently implementing its climate policy.

The programme has assessed the level of vulnerability of key economic and social sectors to climate change; this analysis will provide the basis for the development of strategic adaptation measures. In addition, the existing potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in key industry sectors has been identified. In cooperation with the South African Government, the private sector and research institutions, the programme has supplied research results that helped to shape the national climate policy following a comprehensive consultation process.

The programme currently supports the preparation of sector-specific greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, including their detailed application at company level.

In 2011, the White Paper on national climate policy was published in discussion papers, along with the research findings on which it was based. The Climate Support Programme has contributed both to policy development and to consensus building among important stakeholders.

The results of an investigation into the potential impact of climate change on tourism have been published in the Climate Change Business Journal. Assessments regarding the vulnerability of nine biomes to the effects of climate change were taken into account in the national biodiversity framework plan and long-term adaptation scenarios.

In 2012, the Let’s Respond Toolkit and Guide was presented, which was developed by several ministries working in cooperation. It supports municipalities in taking appropriate account of the effects of climate change and the need to limit greenhouse gas emissions in their planning.

In 2014, the South African Cabinet approved a study setting out the potential for greenhouse gas emission reductions in various South African industry sectors, including energy, transport and waste management. It provides the basis for defining the country’s mitigation strategy.

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Stephan Paulus