South Africa’s National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy approved
South Africa’s National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS) supports the country’s ability to meeting its obligations in terms of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
“This Strategy defines the country’s vulnerabilities, plans to reduce those vulnerabilities and leverage opportunities, outlines the required resources for such action, whilst demonstrating progress on climate change adaptation,” said the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Barbara Creecy.
The NCCAS outlines a set of objectives, interventions and outcomes to enable the country to give expression to its commitment to the Paris Agreement. Developed in consultation with all relevant stakeholders and approved by Cabinet, it aims to reduce the vulnerability of society, the economy and the environment to the effects of climate change. It gives effect to the National Development Plan’s vision of creating a low-carbon, climate resilient economy and a just society.
The 2015 Paris Agreement elevated the importance of climate change adaptation through the establishment of a global goal on adaptation of enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change.
The international climate change talks in Spain in 2019 was an opportunity lost for the international community to show increased ambition on adaption, mitigation and the finance required to tackle climate change.
“Despite this, South Africa is moving forward and this Strategy is our response to the effort required to tackling the climate change crisis,” said Minister Creecy.
This Strategy is an important step forward for South Africa
She added that adaptation remains a critically important area for developing countries, expressing the hope that when COP26 – postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic – is hosted by the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in 2021, there will be a commitment for higher ambition on all the elements of the Paris Agreement: mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation.
To achieve this will require additional, predictable and adequate finance, technology and capacity building mitigation and adaptation support, including securing carbon market share of proceeds. There is also a need for Parties to support clear global adaptation goals with timelines as in the Paris Agreement.
The African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN)’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and its implementation is in line with the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC. These ensure balance between adaptation and mitigation, and adequate financial, technological and skills support for African countries to enhance their efforts against climate change.
South Africa’s Nationally Determined Contribution, deposited with the UNFCCC in 2015, outlines the country’s contributions to the global goals to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
“Adaptation to climate change presents South Africa with an opportunity to transform the health of the economy and build resilience, thus strengthening the social and spatial fabric, and enables the country to remain globally competitive,” said the Minister.
It will ensure that food production is not threatened, infrastructure is resilient and enable continued sustainable economic development.
“This Strategy is an important step forward for South Africa. We now have a common reference point for climate change adaptation efforts in South Africa in the short to medium-term, providing guidance across all levels of government, sectors, and stakeholders affected by climate variability and change,” said the Minister.
The 10-year plan, being coordinated by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, will be reviewed every five years.