Civil society plans for 2017

By Candice Arendse

In mid February the South African Climate Action Network (SACAN) hosted a meeting at Wits University in Johannesburg that brought together civil society organisations (CSO’s) to reflect on the most recent session of the climate change negotiations (UNFCCC COP22) and share information on activities planned for this year.

Happy Khambule of Greenpeace and Jaco du Toit  of WWF reported on COP22, which was held in Marrakesh in November 2016, and drew attention to key issues emerging from the negotiations that are relevant for South Africa. They said that the South African delegation is open to discussions with South African CSO’s, and recognises the importance and relevance of the integrated networks and avenues within civil society.

Desiree Kossciulek of the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) highlighted the work of four youth who attended COP22.  One of the youth delegates was given accreditation as part of the South African delegation, and SAIIA aims to secure two youth spots in the delegation at future COPs.

An overview of COP22 is provided in the November 2016 Adaptation Network Newsletter: Overview of COP22.

The meeting discussed a workshop held in February by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) that was intended to canvas input into the South African Green Climate Fund small grant project proposal. The article Designing the South African Green Climate Fund small grant project proposal in the February 2017 Adaptation Network Newsletter provides some insight in this regard: Designing the South African GCF SCF Proposal.

Independent energy consultant Richard Worthington, provided feedback on the draft document, Development of South Africa’s Climate Change Mitigation System, which was submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs in mid February.  It proposes a structure for reducing South Africa’s greenhouse gas emissions post-2020 in accordance with its international commitments.  The proposed system is comprised of two mechanisms: the Sectoral Emissions Targets (SETs), and entity-level carbon budgets.

Stakeholders were invited to comment on the draft, and a civil society response was submitted.  The absence of the Mitigation Potential Analysis (MPA) was raised as a key concern. The MPA identifies actions and sets greenhouse gas reduction limits for the key sectors of South Africa, and provides analyses of projections of national emissions and a socio-economic and environmental assessment of identified mitigation options. A second key concern raised by civil society is that there is a risk that the five-year interim system discussed in the draft mitigation system might be kept in use until 2035.

Janet Kachinga of SACAN reported on a stakeholder meeting hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on 07 and 08 February 2017 that was aimed at identifying and informing participants of possible collaborations and engagements. UNEP provides support in the form of technical support, information sharing, and expertise for national efforts in addressing areas ranging from climate change and sustainable development to the green economy, and creates platforms for dialogue and regional integration.

Participants discussed the current UNEP-South Africa Consolidated Programme Framework and its alignment with the National Development Plan. Resilience in the Limpopo Basin Program, the South African National Biodiversity Institute and Department of Trade and Industry presented on potential projects and regional collaboration opportunities.  Participants formed groups to discuss the different aspects of project implementation with a focus on subjects that included climate change and green economy, science-policy interface, and environmental governance.  Participants were encouraged to make suggestions for collaborative campaigns, initiatives, and work for 2017.

At the CSO planning meeting, the organisations present shared their planned activities for 2017.  Working groups were then formed around Adaptation, Mitigation and Capacity Building, and an open invitation was given for members to join a working group of their interest.