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Research documents

Environment Sector Research, Development and Evidence framework
Climate change, green economy and sustainable development
Biodiversity and conservation
Oceans and coastal research

 

Environment Sector Research, Development and Evidence Framework

 

Towards sustainable development and green economy evidence strategy: Workshop report

Mapula Tshangela, Nikki Funke, Ajoy Datta & Louise Shaxson

This report documents the workshop engagements and recommendations to provide inputs into the Sustainable Development and Green Economy (SD&GE) Evidence Strategy. The workshop was hosted on 30 May 2016 at the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in Pretoria. The Evidence Strategies are developed as part of implementing the environment sector research, development and evidence (R,D&E) framework1 approved by the Environment Minister and Members of Executive Council (Minmec) in 2012.

» download report [PDF - 924 kb]

 

Green Economy for Sustainable Development Evidence Framework
 

 

 

Working paper: Understanding the organisational context for evidence-informed policy-making

Louise Shaxson, Ajoy Datta, Mapula Tshangela and Bongani Matomela

This is the first in a series of documents that have been developed. This working paper presents ideas for discussion and debate; it describes the framework the team used to analyse how DEA’s internal structures and processes and the external policy environment in South Africa affect how its policy-makers source and use evidence.

» download report [PDF - 3.88mb]

 


 

 

 

Evidence and policy in South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs

Alf Wills, Mapula Tshangela, Narnia Bohler-Muller, Ajoy Datta, Nikki Funke, Linda Godfrey, Bongani Matomela, Gary Pienaar, Nedson Pophiwa, Louise Shaxson, Wilma Strydom and Ke Yu

This is the second in a series of documents that have been developed. This report synthesises the organisational issues that influence how DEA works with evidence to develop, implement, monitor and report on environmental policies. It is based on the findings of five studies that were conducted as part of a programme of support to DEA between 2014 and 2016.1

» download report [PDF - 2.09mb]

 


 

 

 

Guidelines and good practices for evidence-informed policy-making in a government department

Alf Wills, Mapula Tshangela, Louise Shaxson, Ajoy Datta and Bongani Matomela

This is the second in a series of documents that have been developed. This report intends to prompt discussion within South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs and across the environment sector in South Africa. It proposes five guidelines and sets of good practice that could underpin a systematic and phased approach to improving evidence-informed policy-making within a government department.

» download report [PDF - 3.18mb]

 


 

 

 

An approach to enhance science-policy interface and evidence-based policy making

This document addresses the need for a common framework for the collection of solid evidence that can be used in support of environment sector policy decisions and for the achievement of sector priorities. In response to the pressing environmental issues of our times the framework is seeking to develop a more rigorous approach that gathers, critically appraises and uses high quality research evidence to inform policy-making and professional practice.

» download report [949.35 kb]

 


 

Climate change and the green economy

 

Climate Change

 

 

Unlocking barriers and opportunities for land-use based climate change mitigation activities in South Africa 

The current document provides the first ever proposal for an approach to implement rehabilitation at national scale. On the one hand, the report explores opportunities that can be harnessed through the rehabilitation of the targeted systems in this study. On the other hand, it also identifies the potential barriers and how to unlock these in pursuit of ‘intact working landscapes as the foundation for the development of rural society and downstream economies’.

» download research report

   

 

 

The South African Carbon Sinks Atlas 2017 

 

The Carbon Sinks Atlas (CSA) is a web-based data and information tool aimed at providing spatial distribution of carbon stocks and fluxes across South Africa and it is the first of its kind. In this first edition, the CSA details soil and vegetation’s carbon content in the form of carbon data layers (maps) and metadata, based on the National Terrestrial Carbon Sinks Assessment (NTCSA).

» download research report

   

 

 

South Africa’s 2nd Climate Change Annual Report: A Synopsis of South Africa’s 2016 Annual Report on Monitoring Climate Change Responses 

This report has been prepared by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in accordance with the provisions of Section 12 of the National Climate Change Response Policy (NCCRP) (DEA, 2011a). It presents the results of country’s Climate Change Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Framework that are to be reported on an annual basis. This 2016 report is South Africa’s second Climate Change Annual Report.

» download research report

   

 

 

 

South Africa's first annual climate change report

The National Climate Change Response Monitoring and Evaluation System Framework
 

The NCCRP notes that the measurement and monitoring of climate change responses are critical in ensuring their effective implementation, and that South Africa, through the coordination of the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), will design and publish the country’s Climate Change Response Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) System. Details of this M&E system are outlined in specific sections of the NCCRP.

» download research report

   
 

South Africa's first annual climate change report

South Africa's first annual Climate Change report 
 

The objective of this report is to communicate the progress and lessons learnt in tracking South Africa’s transition towards a climate resilient society and a lower carbon economy. As a knowledge product, this report aims to target people and institutions involved in technical, coordination and policy aspects of climate change, including those undertaking work relevant to these aspects of climate change. This annual report is seen as part of the broader programme to communicate regular reporting of climate change relevant information to the South African audience.

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Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) research report

Towards the development of a GHG emissions baseline for the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector in South Africa 
 

The purpose of this report is to provide the first emissions baseline for the AFOLU sector in South Africa. Due to the complexity of the AFOLU sector, the agriculture and land sub-sector baselines were developed separately but reported as one combined baseline. Furthermore, the study also developed baselines for each province as part of enhancing our understanding of emissions dynamics at a finer scale.

 
   

 

 

Sustainability of Decentralised Renewable Energy Systems report

Climate Change Mitigation Policy Mainstreaming 
 

The main objective of this study is to provide policy gap analysis of the alignment of existing legislation, policy, strategies, plans and regulatory frameworks in five key sectors with the National Climate Change Response Policy (NCCRP). The policy gap analysis shows the areas where alignment with identified NCCRP mitigation principles are lacking, and highlights priority areas to focus alignment efforts. The sectors considered are: Agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU); Energy; Industry; Transport and Waste. 

 
   

 

 

Sustainability of Decentralised Renewable Energy Systems report

Sustainability of Decentralised Renewable Energy Systems report
 
The purpose of the study was to stimulate the sustainable roll out of decentralised renewable energy system solutions to mitigate climate change and provide energy access where there is no mains electricity; the ultimate goal being to drive sustainable development by informing government policy and strategy on these issues..
 
 
 
   

 

 

Biogas report

Facilitation of large-scale uptake of alternative transport fuels in South Africa – the case for Biogas
 
The Department of Environment Affairs has completed the study to facilitate the large-scale uptake of alternative transport fuels in South Africa – the case for biogas. The main objective of this study is to establish an understanding of the economic and practical potential for CBG as an alternative transport fuel and GHG mitigation measure. This could provide the basis for the further development of policies promoting biogas for transport and the emergence of a national CBG industry.
 
 
   

 

 

Greenhouse Gas Improvement Programme

Greenhouse Gas Improvement Programme
 
Greenhouse Gas Improvement Programmes (GHGIP) refers to a series of sector-specific projects aimed at improving the quality and accuracy of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory.  The GHGIP is a result of a collaborative effort by the Department of Environmental Affairs working with other relevant agencies and industry sectors. A majority of projects are donor funded with clear objectives and targets primarily focusing on the improvement of estimation methodologies, activity data and development of country-specific emission factors.  The sectors covered in the GHGIP are the Energy Sector, Industrial Processes and Product Use (IPPU), Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use (AFOLU).    
 
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A National Climate Change Monitoring and Evaluation system of the AFOLU Sector

A National Climate Change Monitoring and Evaluation system of the AFOLU Sector
 
The diverse nature of the AFOLU sector requires a robust monitoring system which will allow for the structured collection, collation and dissemination of information. AFOLU comprises a variety of sectors, ranging from agriculture to land use change. This study identifies the various mandates that are currently in place to collect AFOLU data.
 
   

 

 

Carbon stock estimation capability

Current carbon stock estimation capability for South African commercial forest plantations
 
The South African forest plantation industry requires country-­specific carbon accounting/ estimation methods that are compatible with a wide range of existing local and/or regional forest plantation inventory and management systems. For this reason the Institute for Commercial Forestry Research (ICFR) was commissioned by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to conduct a scoping study to assess data availability for the development of local carbon estimation equations for all commercial plantation sites and species within the three major genera grown (i.e. pine, eucalypt and wattle), as well as the availability and access to grower activity data.
 
   
 

Carbon Offset Standards and Methodologies

Carbon Offset Standards and Methodologies Project Steering Committee

The National Terrestrial Carbon Sinks Assessment (NTCSA) for South Africa was primarily undertaken to improve our understanding of the distribution of carbon stocks and fluxes, equally important to identify landbased mitigation opportunities that can avoid or decrease emissions from the agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) sector.

   

 

 

Assessment of the potential to produce biochar

Assessment of the potential to produce biochar and its application to South African soils as a mitigation measure

Biochar is gradually gaining interest globally as a climate change mitigation measure in the agriculture forestry and other land use (AFOLU) sector. It is produced in the absence of oxygen through a process called pyrolysis, mainly from biomass material. However, a host of other materials (feedstock) can be used. Several studies in different areas across the world have demonstrated that deploying biochar in soils results in benefits that include enhanced agricultural yield, a reduction in leaching of nutrients, a reduction in soil acidity, increased soil water retention and a reduction in fertilizer use and irrigation requirements.

   

 

 

Multiple pathways to substainable development: Initial findings from Global South

Multiple pathways to substainable development: Initial findings from Global South

The four national approaches to sustainable development reflect the particular experiences, circumstances, and priorities of the countries that adopted them. They are representative of the broad spectrum of sustainable development approaches that exist today.

   

 

 

Freight Shift from Road to Rail report

Freight Shift from Road to Rail report

The Department of Environment Affairs has recently completed a Mitigation Potential Analysis (MPA) for South Africa aimed at identifying priority mitigation measures which will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One of the most favourable measures, taking both the extent of mitigation of emissions and the associated social and economic impacts in to consideration is the shift of freight from road to rail.

» download research report 

 

 

South African National Terrestrial Carbon Sinks Assessment

South African National Terrestrial Carbon Sinks Assessment

The National Terrestrial Carbon Sinks Assessment (NTCSA) is a first of its kind for South Africa and was commissioned following a directive from the National Climate Change Response Policy (NCCRP). Given this, the aim was to assess the national carbon sinks in relation to afforestation, forest restoration, wetlands, agricultural practices and urban greening.

South African National Terrestrial Carbon Sinks Assessment

Research Synopsis Report      

 

 
The Long-Term Adaptation Flagship Research Programme (LTAS)

The Long-Term Adaptation Flagship Research Programme (LTAS)

The Long-Term Adaptation Flagship Research Programme (LTAS) responds to the South African National Climate Change Response White Paper by undertaking climate change adaptation research and scenario planning for South Africa and the Southern African sub-region. The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) is leading the process in collaboration with technical research partner the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) as well as technical and financial assistance from the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Phase 2 of the Long-Term Adaptation Flagship Research Programm include the following:

 

Adaptation Scenarios Factsheet Series

 

 

South Africa’s Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Potential Analysis
 
A greenhouse gas mitigation potential analysis has been conducted for South Africa. The analysis has identified and analysed mitigation options in key economic sectors. In the process, an updated projection of national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the future has been developed, along with marginal abatement cost curves (MACCs) for key sectors and subsectors.  A socio-economic and environmental assessment of the identified mitigation options has also been conducted, leading to the development of national abatement pathways and an assessment of the wider macro-economic impacts of implementing a broad set of mitigation options.
 
The suite of reports that make up South Africa's Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Mitigation Potential Analysis include the following:
 

 

       
Governance of climate change in South Africa [PDF- 670.61 kb]

 

Scoping of the approximate climate change adaptation costs in several key sectors for South Africa up to 2050 [PDF - 605 kb]
Synthesis of climate finance literature report to the DBSA [PDF - 1.77 mb] 
Opportunities for and cost of mitigation in South African economy [PDF - 1.27 mb]
       
Environmental research and technologies in South Africa [PDF - 892.31 kb]
High level consultation with finance sector on climate change and funding mechanisms [PDF - 104 mb]
Financing climate change  [PDF - 723.71 kb]
Institutional funding mechanisms: case study review [PDF - 783.22 kb]
 

 

Green economy

 

Report on the Implementation Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Environmental Governance in the Mining Sector

The purpose of this evaluation is to assess the relevance and effectiveness of the environmental governance legislation in mining and the implementation thereof in achieving its objective. The evaluation covers the period from the promulgation of the Minerals Act, 1991 (Act 50 of 1991) (the Minerals Act) up to the legislation in place as of March 2014. Given that amendments to the legislation were implemented on 8 December 2014, a post-script has been appended to the evaluation that details the context of these amendments and how they relate to the analysis and recommendations raised as part of this evaluation.

» read more

 

 

Green Economy Modelling Report of South Africa The Green Economy Modelling Report of South Africa: A focus on Natural Resource Management, Agriculture, Transport and Energy sectors

The present study was undertaken at the request of South’s Africa Department of Environmental Affairs. It presents a modelling exercise that compares a scenario of investments directed to “business-as-usual” (BAU) with scenarios of investments allocated to four critical sectors for a transition to a green economy in South Africa, namely: natural resource management, agriculture, transport and energy.

 

» read more

 

 

 

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Biodiversity and conservation research

 

National Biodiversity Research Development and Evidence Startegy 2015 - 2025

This document sets out the strategy for biodiversity research and evidence between 2015 and 2025. It broadly describes the needs for evidence to support achievement of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) and other policy priorities. This strategy document is accompanied by an annual implementation plan, which details what evidence is needed in the short to medium term to inform policy decision-making, and the medium to long-term evidence that provides the foundational knowledge for the sector.

» Strategy document 2015 - 2025  [PDF]
» Annual implementation plan 2016 - 2017 [PDF]
 

 

Overview of current approaches and practices of South African businesses to the mainstreaming of biodiversity - A Preliminary Baseline Assessment

The National Biodiversity and Business Network (NBBN) was created to support the mainstreaming of biodiversity into business in South Africa. In order to better understand the current status quo in South Africa, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in collaboration with the NBBN decided to conduct this preliminary baseline assessment with the aim of assessing current approaches and practices of South African businesses to mainstream biodiversity.

» Download report [PDF]
 
 

 

Regional Environmental and Social Assessment (RESA) of Coal Based Energy Projects along Botswana-South Africa Border: Phase 1 and TOR

The Government of the Republic of Botswana and the Government of the Republic of South Africa have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to carry out a Regional Environmental and Social Assessment (RESA), with support from the World Bank, to examine the cumulative environmental and socio-economic impacts of all the planned and existing energy sector investments on both sides of the border between Botswana and South Africa. In order to define the scope of work for a detailed RESA Study, an initial assessment was made which is included in the Phase-1 Report of the RESA hereby attached.

» download research [PDF - 766kb]

 

 

A study on the dehorning of the African rhinoceroses as a tool to reduce the risk of poaching

This report is the product of the study on rhino dehorning and was conducted on behalf of DEA by the Endangered Wildlife Trust. The aim of the report is to provide clarity on the impacts and efficacy of dehorning and to identify the circumstances under which the intervention is most likely to be effective at reducing poaching.

» download research [PDF - 2.95 mb]

 

 

Working for Water priority needs in the field of research include: (a) the need to convince all the relevant people within WfW and its parent departments of the essential nature of the programme’s research effort; (b) the urgent need to secure a sound institutional base for, and to massively increase the human capacity for the research effort that will be necessary if WfW is to have any hope of achieving its long-term objectives among others. 

» read more

 

 

Oceans and coastal research

 

State of the Oceans and Coasts: Around South Africa 2015 Report Card - Report No: 15

In this report card, DEA provides brief synopses of some results of monitoring a suite of variables that range from physical and chemical ocean properties to plankton and other biological attributes, which have been chosen as potentially useful indicators of change, health and management of South Africa’s marine and coastal systems.

» download report

 

 

State of the Oceans and Coasts:  Around South Africa 2014 - Report No: 14 

In this report, aspects of this monitoring and research are briefly elaborated upon. The report considers some features of the physical and chemical oceanography of South Africa’s marine environment and then the plankton of its oceans, which form the basis of the marine food webs.

» download report

 

 

South African Water Quality Guidelines for Coastal Marine Waters: Volume 2 - guidelines for recreational use

This document contains the revised guidelines for recreational waters of South Africa's coastal marine environment, which addresses some of the shortcomings of the previous version (DWAF, 1995). The aim is to provide managers and governing authorities with the background and guidance to define target ranges for recreational waters, as well as to provide guidance on the implementation thereof....

» read more

» download a summary

 

 

Antarctica and Southern Ocean Islands

South Africa’s involvement in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean Islands dates back to the earliest voyages of discovery, due to the then Cape of Good Hope’s position as a stop-over for explorers, whalers and sealers (people hunting whales and seals). Post-graduate thesis have been produced from research on Marion Island, and South Africa has been operating a weather station on Gough Island since 1956. The country has also  launched the new research and supply vessel, SA Agulhas II and was dedicated to the late Singer Miriam Makeba.

» read more

 

 

 

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Working paper: Understanding the organisational context for evidence-informed policy-making

Louise Shaxson, Ajoy Datta, Mapula Tshangela and Bongani Matomela

This is the first in a series of documents that have been developed. This working paper presents ideas for discussion and debate; it describes the framework the team used to analyse how DEA’s internal structures and processes and the external policy environment in South Africa affect how its policy-makers source and use evidence.

» download report [PDF - 3.88mb]