South Africa’s seventeenth Conference of the Parties (COP 17) discussion paper will acknowledge Mpumalanga’s vulnerability to climate change, including the possible impact on the province’s agricultural resources, bio- diversity and conservation.
The national Department of Water and Environmental Affairs (DWEA) has developed a clear vision and plan going into the talks, which will be held in Durban from November 28 to December 9.
Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa put forward the Mpumalanga department’s commitments to climate change mitigation at a summit held in Nelspruit, in October.
The department acknowledged that the province’s high levels of poverty and inequality, as well as the limited adaptive ability of its natural resources exacerbate its vulnerability to climate change.
Therefore, the DWEA’s commitments include miti- gating the climate impact by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and cooperating with affected sectors to reduce the impact of climate change.
Areas of cooperation include climate change adaptation and mitigation, support for adaptation projects in the province in line with sustain- able development priorities, technology development initiatives, energy efficiency and renewable energy, agricultural efficiency and sustainability, exploring the feasibility of carbon capture and storage and broad collaborative scientific research related to global climate change, energy and climate sciences.
Further, Molewa stated that education and creating awareness to establish programmes and projects in partnership with all stake- holders were important.
“We plan to improve cooperation between government, business and all social partners to address environmental challenges. “We plan to ensure the conservation of biodiversity in the province, as well as the contribution of eco- system goods and services to the social and economic development of the province,” she stated.
The department planned to promote renewable energy and create sustainable live- lihoods to increase the province’s contribution to a low carbon footprint.
“The implementation of a waste management hierarchy, cleaner technologies and development mechanisms will promote the development of a green economy,” said Molewa.
The declaration recog- nised that all levels of government, communities and sec- tors played a role in the collaborative response and it demonstrated the DWEA’s commitment to action.
Policymakers, financiers, operators and the private sector are all defined as strategic stakeholders in reaching these goals.