Addressing climate change in South Africa

Programme description

Title: Climate Support Programme (CSP3)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Country: South Africa
Lead executing agency: Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA)
Overall term: 2017 to 2020



Climate change affects almost all aspects of daily life in the Republic of South Africa (RSA). The impact of extreme weather events such as heat waves and heavy rainfalls are being felt by all people in the country, and even more so by the poorer population. 

South Africa is amongst the 20th largest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitting countries worldwide. With a domestic economy reliant on coal resources to generate power and liquid fuels, South Africa ranks among the highest per capita emissions in the developing world.

As a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Paris Agreement), South Africa is taking active steps towards addressing climate change. The country’s Nationally Determined Contribution is consistent with its pledge under the Copenhagen Accord, which proposed emission reductions below usual business levels, including land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF), by 34 per cent by 2020 and 42 per cent by 2025. 


South Africa is able to further develop and implement its national policy on climate change consistently and continues to play a leading role in the international climate negotiations.



The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH implements the Climate Support Programme (CSP) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). CSP supports the development of climate policy and governance, as well as the implementation thereof, in the areas of mitigation, adaptation, and monitoring and evaluation. 

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) is the main political partner of which GIZ supports in policy development, scientific analysis, project management and implementation. This enables South Africa to create a legislative framework on which to effectively implement appropriate national climate action measures, in both adaptation and mitigation. 

CSP supports the DEA in achieving ambitious climate action objectives, strengthening DEAs catalytic role in engaging sub-national and other national government departments such as Department of Energy, Department of Transport (DoT), Department of Public Works, and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to implement the so-called “Flagship Projects”.

During its former phases, CSP provided support to the development of the country’s National Climate Change Response Policy and the draft of the National Adaptation Strategy. Furthermore, the programme supported the development of a national mitigation system composed of sectoral emission targets and carbon budgets for major companies. Several baseline documents supporting the development of effective mitigation and adaptation policies and measures based on scientific analysis have been established.  


The work on the National Climate Change Bill (later Climate Change Act) advanced significantly in 2018. Public consultation processes in all nine provinces of the country have been supported technically and logistically by CSP, therefore supporting the further development of the national climate change legal framework. 

The DEA is in the process of finalising a report on RSA’s post-2020 climate change mitigation system. This includes the design, approach and methodology for setting emission limits through carbon budgets for individual companies and SETs for sector departments.

The Waste Management Flagship Programme Phase I, commissioned by DEA and GIZ’s CSP, received a national award for the category ‘Most Outstanding Civil Engineering Project for Environmental Engineering’ from the South African Institute of Civil Engineering (SAICE) in October 2017. The programme’s primary objective is to enhance the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from extensive landfilling.

Transport is one focus of the Flagship implementation programmes. CSP supported DoT with the finalisation of the Green Transport Strategy. Further planning is being done with the City of Johannesburg to promote green mobility while protecting the environment and providing greater safety to commuters. 

 CSP facilitated the first BMU IKI Networking Workshop in South Africa in April 2018. CSP serves as an Interface Function for IKI projects in the country, assisting to align work streams and activities with all other entities implementing IKI projects in South Africa. 

The Local Government Climate Change Support Programme (LGCCSP) was supported by CSP. The type and level of support required by local government municipalities rested on their status and readiness to respond to climate change. 40 workshops were held over the programme period between July and September 2018. A total of 1,236 stakeholders participated, of which, 647 were municipal officials, other interested experts from civil society to institutions affiliated with municipalities, such as The National Disaster Management Service. The objectives of the LGCCSP included building the technical capacity of local government officials to develop adaptation responses, undertake climate vulnerability assessments and reviewing existing climate change adaptation strategies and action plans. 

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Further Information