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Minister Dr Edna Molewa advocates for inclusive Green Economy

29 March 2017

 

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa called for the inclusion of young people in the economy of our countries, in the process of transition and transformation into a sustainable future. She stated that we must use this opportunity to ensureinclusive and equitable growth that leads to sustainable development and promotes poverty eradication, eliminates inequality and creates green jobs.

The Minister was addressing the High Level Panel discussion at the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) Conference titled: “Inclusive and Sustainable Economies - Powering the Sustainable Development Goals.” The conference took place on 27 and 28 March 2017 in Berlin, Germany.

She said that “in South Africa, our focus on growing a green economy is an important means to respond to some of the critical and intertwined development challenges that range from unemployment, poverty and inequality to food and energy security and climate change.”

“We must ensure that as we transition to a green economy, we take our people along with us, especially in the space of technology development and renewable energy, where our young people could easily beskilled, or where necessary reskilled and Involved,” said Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Minister Molewa today.

The two-day Conference focused on the themes of green investment, sustainable lifestyles and inclusive growth. Under discussion were the necessary ingredients for the transformational change called for in the 2030 Agenda. The Paris Agreement requires the alignment of financial flows with the need to respond to climate change. These processes must enable consumers to choose healthy and low-carbon lifestyles, as well as to empowerthe vulnerable poor through jobs, access to education, health, skills and create conditions for equitable sharingof economic benefits.

The debates at PAGE providedan opportunity for South Africa to highlight progress on the implementation of the country’s Green Economy Strategy, with a focus on socio-economic benefits derived from greening industries without compromising the integrity of the environment.

Minister Molewa added that South Africa was among the pioneers in adopting the green economy strategies. The hallmark was the signing of the Green Economy Accord in 2011 and the adoption in 2012 of the National Development Plan 2030, which committed our country to an “environmentally sustainable and equitable transition to a low carbon economy.”

As such, South Africa has put in place many programmes and policy frameworks in the recent past, to translate theNDP Vision 2030into action. The country is currently implementing programmes to promote energy efficiency, green transport, sustainable housing and climate resilient agriculture.

“Significant investments have already been made in different sectors – notably in the energy sector, in which a highly successful renewable energy procurement programme has, as of October 2016, leveraged approximately R194 billion, with approximately R53 billion in foreign investment, since its launch in November 2011,” added Dr Molewa.

This has resulted in the contracting of 102 Independent Power Producers with 51 connected to the grid, and has seen approximately 6 700 MW of renewable energy generated. In addition, the South African government has allocated an amount of R1, 1 billion to the National Green Fund since its inception in 2012. The Programme provides support to investment projects, research and development and capacity development initiatives across the various thematic areas of the green economy.

The PAGE programme aims to further strengthen the cooperation, coordination and capabilities required to implement the country’s transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient and pro-employment development path. The PAGE Programme in South Africa has three main objectives:

  • To contribute to better policy coordination, strengthen dialogue and help deepen collaboration in green economy policy, planning and implementation processes;
  • To identify potential and enabling factors for selected green economy sectors and/or industrial segments with the intent of promoting sector reform;
  • To strengthening capabilities through enhanced green economy training, learning and knowledge sharing, including support for national learning institutions in South Africa.

These objectives are intrinsically linked to our country’s National Development Plan 2030 vision. 

South Africa became a founder member of PAGE in 2015. PAGE is the United Nations (UN) programme which brings together the expertise of five UN agencies – United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), to support countries and regions to put sustainability at the heart of economic, social and environmental policies and practices to advance the 2030 Agenda.

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