Minister Ms Nomvula Mokonyane officially opens the 3rd Partnership For Action on Green Economy (PAGE) Conference in Cape Town
10 January 2019
Representatives from various UN Agencies and Organizations,
Fellow Panel Members,
I am delighted to welcome you to our beautiful country. Meeting here in Cape Town, the home of the South African Parliament, to deliberate on the transition to a low carbon and climate resilient development pathway which has the ability to contribute to job creation, poverty alleviation and greater equality in our societies.
As South Africa celebrates 25 years of democracy it is fitting to reflect on progress made on sustainability objectives. As we reflect we also look ahead to what can be done to make the world we live in a better place for all.
Today we mark the start of the 3rd Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) Ministerial Conference since its launch in 2013. This platform supports countries and regions to put sustainability at the heart of economic policies and practices to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Over these two days our focus should be about advancing Inclusivity and Sustainability Economies. This is an important conference given that is follows the conclusion of the international climate change talks in Poland, where the Paris Agreement Work Programme was adopted setting out the Rules of implementation.
The natural capital dialogue at this conference should contribute to the formulation of the post 2020 Agenda for Nature.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This conferences relevance lies in its impetus for strengthening and leveraging partnerships for resource mobilisation that could catalyse the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It comes at a time when there is increasing understanding among decision-makers from public institutions and the private sector, that economic and financial policies and practices must play a far greater role in advancing the transition to green growth.
A cleaner and greener world demands a move away from business as usual to an ambitious and just transition.
South Africa’s vision of transitioning towards a green economy is embraced at the highest political level, through the National Development Plan’s Vision 2030. As such, the core objectives of the PAGE are aligned to Governments Programme of Action.
Our approach is to ensure that green growth is supported by practical and implementable actions – hence the importance of shared learning, building on existing best practice initiatives and innovation in key sectors.
South Africa’s commitment towards a resource efficient and pro-employment growth path requires collaboration between, and a buy-in from, all sectors. The means of implementation include the National Green Fund launched by the government in 2012 to address identified market weaknesses.
The government, through the Green Fund, has catalyzed additional financial resources through bilateral and multilateral donor partners.
Funded initiatives include the non-motorised transport programme, biogas to energy generation from agricultural waste, renewable energy procurement programmes (IRPP), and waste to energy programmes including methane gas capture at landfill sites.
PAGE should transition from policy development to action on the ground meaning growing good while reducing bad. This will entail catalyzing economy wide transformative actions such as enhancing the natural capital, promoting renewable energy, keeping rain forests, wetlands, rivers and oceans functional.
Therefore, the various initiatives which are being undertaken are key in enhancing technology development and uptake in small, medium and micro-scale enterprises (SMMEs) in South Africa which are inclusive of youth and gender advancement.
Despite the triple socio-economic challenges being faced by South Africa, and many other countries, today, the Green Economy has the ability to contribute to economic growth, not only through job creation and economic development, but also through its contribution to the reduction of our carbon footprint.
The success of greening our economies depends to a large extent on our ability to educate and skill our youth as the drivers of innovation in the greening of economy and society. Success relies on our willingness and collective efforts across all sectors. Sustainability should underpin decision making and resource allocation. Therefore, the Partnership for Action on the Green Economy must be forward-looking in its approach post 2020, for South Africa and other countries who are concluding their programmes.
With that being said, let us all be part of the green revolution.