14 September 2011
South Africa will beef up its climate policy to ensure that all government departments respond effectively to the issue of climate change, says Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.
Addressing a media briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday, Molewa said it was important that government departments had a “common” strategy on how to help South Africa respond to global warming, which threatened development in poor countries.
“It is very important that as we host the Climate Change Conference in Durban, that we as a country start to demonstrate that we are serious about climate change and willing to take the issue forward in terms of policy.”
Molewa confirmed that up to 194 participants from different countries will form part of the 17th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 17), taking place in Durban from 28 November to 9 December.
SA to push for implementation of Cancun decisions
She said South Africa would use its position as a host to push for the implementation of several crucial political decisions that were taken at the Cancun round of talks last year. These included finance packages for poor countries and the extension or renewal of the Kyoto Protocol that binds nations to measurable carbon emissions reductions.
A new climate green fund – which Planning Minister Trevor Manuel co-chairs – was agreed upon at Cancun to transfer money from developed to developing countries to tackle the impacts of global warming, but no figure was put on how much money will go into it.
“We believe that Durban should be the place where we do something about all those decisions … on what to do with Kyoto and issues of adaptation, technology transfer and mitigation,” Molewa said.
Getting people involved
The South African government will be hosting a series of events during the build-up to the conference to get its people involved and educated about climate change.
Campaigns will include educational roadshows and community meetings in all nine provinces over the coming weeks.
South African officials have also been holding talks with African ministers in order to present a united African front at the Durban meeting.