SA gets access to UN climate fund

2 December 2011

The South African National Biodiversity Institute has been accredited as a national implementing entity for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Adaptation Fund.

National Planning Minister Trevor Manual made the announcement in Durban on Tuesday on the sidelines of the launch of Living Beehive, a legacy project of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 17).

South Africa is now the fourth country that has an accredited national implementing entity, which translates into direct access to the UNFCCC adaptation fund.

The fund, which became fully operational in January, has conferred US$50-million worth of grants this year alone.

“This access, combined with our rich biodiversity and extensive mineral wealth, will allow South Africa to balance investment in optimal development futures with the appropriate allocation of resources to environmental programmes,” Manuel said.

The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) works closely with national climate change policymakers, and it has led the development of South Africa’s second national communication on climate change for COP 17.

Manuel said the fund would finance projects that aim to improve society’s ability to cope with the risks posed by climate change.

“As a country that is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, this appointment is significant for South Africa for securing the funds needed to plan our development trajectory in a way that is responsive to climate change.”

Zulu beehive hut construction

Also launched on Wednesday was the Living Beehive, which contains architectural techniques of the original Zulu beehive hut construction, but combines modern materials such as steel frames with natural building materials, such as indigenous plants typical of the rolling hills of the grasslands in KwaZulu-Natal.

Located at Durban’s Botanic Gardens, it represents the type of innovative, out-of-the-box thinking that is needed to address the impacts of climate change and the need to find solutions to a low-carbon economy that can also create sustainable jobs.

Seventeen metres in diameter and nine metres high, the art installation has been designed to showcase South Africa’s rich blend of natural, cultural and mineral wealth at COP 17. The Beehive’s living walls represent the importance of healthy ecosystems and are populated with indigenous grasses, forbs and bulbs.

The project was funded by the Department of Environmental Affairs and the UN’s Industrial Development Organisation.

Deputy Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi said the Living Beehive was an example of nature and people working together.

“By recognising the importance of built and ecological infrastructure, and by bringing together natural and man-made design, the Living Beehive shows us the possibilities for job creation, service delivery and economic growth in a truly green economy,” Mabudafhasi said.

Source: BuaNews