On 23 and 24 August, South Africa hosted its first Talanoa Dialogue in Gauteng in order to discuss climate change mitigation and adaptation. The dialogue was hosted by the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa and involved key South African constituencies and stakeholders in the presence of international partners, specifically the European Union and Federal Government of Germany.
South African participants in the event included the Ministries of Energy, Water Affairs and Sanitation, Economic Development and International Relations and Co-operation. The purpose of the event was to discuss South Africa’s contribution to the international effort to address the pressing challenge of climate change.
The purpose of the dialogue on climate change
The dialogue was adopted in response to the 2015 Paris Agreement dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance, starting in the year 2020. South Africa’s first Talanoa Dialogue was premised on three overarching questions: Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there?
According to Dr Molewa’s keynote address at the opening of the dialogue, she believes that South Africa can bring about the low emissions transition if citizens adopt the same “can-do spirit” that secured the country’s transition to democracy. “Our story teaches us that it is possible to overcome even seemingly intractable challenges through dialogue,” says Dr Molewa.
She went on to say that climate change posed the single biggest threat to development in the country, with its widespread and unprecedented impacts that disproportionately burden the poorest and most vulnerable. “It is therefore essential that all South Africans work together to address this challenge and that we deepen and broaden our national conversation on how best to achieve a just transition to a low carbon and climate resilient world,” she says.
South Africa is making progress with climate change solutions
One of the success stories South Africa had to share with the international community is the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPP). The National Development Plan 2030 requires 20 000 MW of renewable energy by 2030 and this is supported by the Integrated Resource Plan of the Country. So far, we have procured 6 376 MW.
Another promising story is the initiation of a process to “decarbonize” the transport sector and lower its emissions by introducing and providing support for initiatives ranging from the uptake of electric and hybrid cars, cleaner fuels and energy efficiency, expansion of non – motorized transportation, efficient and integrated Bus Rapid Transport System, amongst others.
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