Minister Edna Molewa delivers remarks at informal International Climate Change Meeting in Montreal, Canada

16 September 2017


ICE BREAKER REMARKS: South Africa’s policy approach to climate action,key elements of South Africa’s NDC and South Africa´s preparations for  NDC implementation. 

The Paris Agreement commits ALL Parties to take ambitious steps to guarantee a low-carbon and climate-resilient future. In addition, the fact that the current (Nationally Determined Contributions) NDCs are not sufficient to meet the 2 degree temperature target, let alone the 1.5 degree aspirational goal, means that all countries will have to consider making more ambitious contributions.

As our contribution to this global effort, South Africa’s NDC has both mitigation and adaptation components, as well as a support component. Our mitigation NDC has three key elements: a long-term goal in the form of a national emissions trajectory range to 2050, a 2020 to 2025 contribution, as well as an indicative 2025 to 2030 contribution. Our adaptation component anticipates the country’s adaptation requirements, with an expected median cost of about $3bn per annum for the period 2020 to 2030. The formulation of these contributions are based on long-term scenario analysis involving key stakeholders.

The implementation of South Africa’s NDC includes all spheres of government, i.enational, provincial and local government level. The successful implementation of the NDC will also require the active involvement of non-state actors roleplayers, such as the civil society and private sector.

To this end we have developed, and are currently implementing, a national mitigation system which amongst others, comprises of a mix of policies and measures and will improve the quality of our greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting and inventory system, whilst providing for the assessment of mitigation potential, policies and measures to inform sectoral targets. Some of the key policies and measures we are putting in place include the allocation of company-level carbon budgets; and a large scale renewable energy procurement programme, which has procured 6,327 megawatts of renewable energy in 5 bid windows, with an investment of about $15 billion US dollars.

One the key principles of our climate policy is that climate change action has to be integrated with development imperatives. To this end, South Africa has joined the Partnership for Action on the Green Economy (PAGE) aimed at facilitating scaled up, economy-wide implementation of green, low carbon and climate resilient sustainable development interventions. Furthermore, as part of this effort, South Africa’s Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) was the first stock exchange to require mandatory Evironmental Sustainability Governance (ESG) reporting from all companies listed on its exchange. Equally important is our efforts to mobilise sufficient finance and investment flows in low carbon, climate resilient sustainable development by creating an appropriate enabling environment. Towards this end, we established a national Green Fund with a public investment of R1.3 billion aimed at catalysing and supporting public, civil society and private investment in innovative climate initiatives. This requires establishing appropriate institutional frameworks, which also needs resourcing.

It is however not possible for South Africa to achieve these objectives at the scale possible without international cooperation enabling access to climate finance and technologies.

In order to create a facilitative legal foundation for our climate policies and measures we are developing a Climate Change Act. That act shall legally facilitate both mitigation and adaptation actions, including planning, reporting, accounting, vulnerability assessment and resilience options, whilst providing for periodic projection of needs and costs.

The final aspect of NDC implementation relates to trackingprogress in the implementation based on tools to plan, and track, our transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient sustainable development trajectory. To this end, we are tracking adaptation efforts through impact indicators. For mitigation we have promulgated regulations which require large emitters  to submit mandatory mitigation plans and GHG emission reports.

It is thus important for the current UNFCCC negotiations to conclude their work; firstly, on harmonised transparency, global stocktake and NDC communication cycles. AND secondly, on further guidance in relation to adaptation communications. Both of these elements are necessary to ensure that developing countries receive adequate financial resources for the formulation, update and implementation of such communications.

We therefore look forward to the conclusion of the current process of developing modalities, procedures and guidelines for the enhanced contribution communication, transparency, accountability and support frameworks under the Paris Agreement. This is necessary to assist Parties in their domestic policy development and evaluation, provide a clear basis for assessing international progress on the goals of the Paris Agreement, as well as building necessary trust between all Parties.

I thank you and I look forward to the discussions on how to move the process forward.