National Strategy for Sustainable Development and Action Plan


Introduction and background



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In 2008, Cabinet approved the South Africa National Framework for Sustainable Development (NFSD). The approval signaled a new wave of thinking aimed at promoting the effective stewardship of South Africa’s natural, social and economic resources. This National Strategy for Sustainable Development and Action Plan, also referred to as NSSD 1 (2011 to 2014), was approved by Cabinet on 23 November 2011.

The NSSD 1 builds on the 2008 NFSD and several initiatives that were launched by the business sector, government, NGOs, civil society, academia and other key role players to address issues of sustainability in South Africa. The NSSD 1 will be implemented during the period 2011 to 2014. The lessons and evaluation of progress regarding the implementation of NSSD 1 will inform NSSD 2 (2015 to 2020)

This is a proactive strategy that regards sustainable development as a long-term commitment, which combines environmental protection, social equity and economic efficiency with the vision and values of the country. The NSSD 1 marks the continuation of a national partnership for sustainable development. It is a milestone in an ongoing process of developing support, and initiating and up scaling actions to achieve sustainable development in South Africa.

The 1992 Rio Earth Summit, which was followed by the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, provided a platform to learn and begin to implement sustainability practices. The 2012 Rio+20 identified two important themes to support the country’s efforts.

These are the green economy, in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development.

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Strategic objectives

The following five strategic objectives are identified in the NSSD 1:

  • Enhancing systems for integrated planning and implementation
  • Sustaining our ecosystems and using natural resources efficiently
  • Towards a green economy
  • Building sustainable communities
  • Responding effectively to climate change


Various interrelated and enabling interventions that promote sustainable development are being implemented throughout the country.

The NSSD 1 identifies 113 interventions that can be monitored for implementation. The twenty headline indicators have been identified to monitor progress in the implementation of NSSD 1 (2011 to 2014). These headline indicators are selected from existing indicators including the development indicators, the millennium development Goals and the 12 government outcomes.

Estableshment of national committee on sustainable development

The Department of Environmental Affairs will establish and oversee the national committee on sustainable development (NCSD) that will operate in multifold among government spheres to engage civil society, NGOs, the private sector, academia, independent reviewers and other multiple stakeholders.

South Africa’s commitment to a long-term sustainable development trajectory that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable, requires scientific, technological and innovation capabilities, supported by strategic public investments and strategic partnerships.

The department, in collaboration with all key stakeholders, will galvanise action towards the implementation of the strategy through the harmonised planning of programmes and execution.

Team responsible for development of NSSD 1

The team responsible for the development, coordination, monitoring and reporting of the NSSD 1 comprises Ms Dorah Nteo, Ms Mapula Tshangela and Ms Faith Phooko, acknowledging the contribution of the previous team, Ms Keleabetswe Tlouane and Mr Eddy Moeketsi.

Enquiries on the contents of the NSSD 1 and its implementation can be directed to:

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