Speech delivered on behalf of Minister Molewa at Adaptation Futures 2018 Conference

19 June 2018

 

Speech delivered by the Acting Deputy Director General: Climate Change and Air Quality, Mr Tlou Ramaru
Cape Town International Convention Centre, Western Cape Province, Republic of South Africa. 

Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Mayor Patricia De Lille
Deputy Secretary of the UNFCCC; Mr Ovais Sarmad
The Director of ACDI: Prof Mark New
Deputy Director General Research and Innovation, European Commission; Mr Patrick Child
CEO of the South African National Biodiversity Institute; Dr Moshibudi Rampedi
Programme Manager, Adaptation Network: Prof Noel Oettle
Business leadership;
Scholars from all over the world;

Ladies and Gentlemen

It gives me great pleasure to address you all to such an auspicious event, the 5th International Climate Change Adaptation Conference which is been held in the African Continent for first time. The hosting of the conference in Cape Town is opportune to provide us with a platform to exchange views and experiences on innovative solution for adaption as we are currently struggling with the effects of drought in this province.

I am informed that the conference brought scientists, practitioners, business leaders and policymakers from around the world to connect, learn and inspire actions for climate change adaptation. This is indeed for the first time the conference is held on the African soil and we are excited that the setting will foreground developing country adaptation issues and ensure the continent perspective and innovative thinking is shared with the world practitioners.
 
As the Conference aims to facilitate dialogues for solutions between key actors from diverse perspectives and regions, allow be to draw from the Africa’s Adaption Gap technical report and highlight some of the key issues requiring attention in the Continent.
 
Ladies and Gentlemen;

Africa is a vulnerability hotspot for the impact of climate change. Africa faces a significant challenge in adapting to climate change with the cost and damages of the climate change impacts rising rapidly with increase warming. The adaptation challenges for Africa will be much larger if the emission gap is not closed the synthesis report by the United Nation Framework on Convention Climate Change on (UNFCCC) mitigation beyond 2020 falls short, which likely implies a 4 degrees Celsius warmer world at the century.
 
In African, the impacts of projected warming are relatively extreme compared to the historical climate condition under which human and natural system have evolved. Addressing the challenges posed by climate change will inevitable require adaptation, but the intensity of the needed adaptation measures and the scale of damages will tightly linked subsequent to the achievements or inadequacies of efforts made to curb emission.
 
Ladies and Gentlemen;
According to the adaption gap technical report, the extreme weather events including droughts, flood, and heat waves are likely to become both more frequent and more severe. Human health will be undermined by the risks associated with extreme weather events and increased incidence of transmittable diseases as well as under nutrition. Those African populations that are already most vulnerable to climatic variability, such as poor inhabitants of informal settlements, will become even more vulnerable.
 
We are therefore, looking forward exchange experiences and knowledge that will help the African continent to adapt to these impacts.  Allow me to take this opportunity and share with you some of our experiences here in South Africa.
 
We have witnessed a number of times in the recent past, the occurrence of unprecedented extreme weather events due to climatic variability in the country, ranging from severe storms and cyclones to a debilitating drought over large parts of the country.   The reality became more evident last few months when our government declared the current drought crisis across the country a national disaster.

In recent years, South Africa has experienced an El Niño-related drought that is reported to be one of the worst meteorological droughts since 1904. The drought and heat conditions have impacted on already dry and drought-stricken parts of the country, exacerbating existing vulnerabilities and affecting sectors such as water and agriculture
 
Furthermore, provinces such as the Western Cape, Free State and the Northern Cape have experienced water restrictions, widespread crop failure and substantial depletion of livestock. From late 2016, intense storms followed this drought resulting in flooding in other parts of the country including Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. The Western Cape winter rainfall region is, however, still suffering one of its worst droughts in decades.
 
In this regard, we have a number of initiatives on the ground to foster climate change adaptation and reduce risk and vulnerability of our people. We have developed the Long Term Adaptation Scenarios Flagship Research Programme (LTAS) aims to respond to the South African National Climate Change Response White Paper by developing national and sub-national adaptation scenarios for South Africa under plausible future climate conditions and development pathways.
 
This is a complex research work required the projection of climate change impacts for key sectors, and an evaluation of their socio-economic implications in the context of the development aspirations of these sectors.
 
Furthermore, we have developed the National Framework on Climate Services is to enable better management of the risks of climate variability and change at all levels, through development and incorporation of science-based climate information and prediction services into planning, policy and practice.  The Nature of the National Framework on Climate Services requires an interface with different stakeholders within the various levels of government, and outside government.
 
Therefore, successful implementation of the National Framework on Climate Services requires a well-coordinated structure with good governance to enhance the country’s capability to provide integrated climate services to all relevant users in a manner that empowers them to be climate resilient.
 
Furthermore, we have Adaption Fund programmes on the ground, implemented by the South African National Biodiversity Institutes, which address among other thematic areas the following, drought resilient agriculture; rain water harvesting; climate smart agriculture, sustainable livelihoods; ecosystem based adaptation as well as climate proofing.
 
One of the notable projects yielding results is the one being undertaken with the support of the Department and focusing on building resilience in the Greater uMngeni Catchment in KwaZulu-Natal. The project produces early warning systems in support of local communities and small-scale farmers to inform them about, amongst other things, climate-proof settlements (built and ecological infrastructure), settlement planning and climate resilient agriculture.
 
Ladies and gentlemen we have just developed the draft national climate change bill, which is currently published for public consultations.  The climate change bill will provide for the effective management of inevitable climate change impacts through enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change, with a view to building social, economic, and environmental resilience and an adequate national adaptation response in the context of the global climate change response.
 
The Department of Environmental Affairs has further initiated the development of the National Climate Change Strategy (NAS), which will provide the strategic framework to anchor climate responses to specific sectors.  
 
In doing so, it is important to note that one cannot provide appropriate adaptation responses without the necessary climate data or information to inform us of what the climate risk is, or to guide us toward appropriate planning and adaptation responses. This requires reliable infrastructure.
 
As you are well aware, that we are working towards the implementation of the Paris agreement, your exchanges will contribute significantly towards the realization of the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA).
 
 In this regard, in your exchange you should consider work towards the implementation of the Global Goal on adaptation.
 
I also encourage you to document the adaption views and experience from the perspective and the lens of the continent, which we can use as the tool to further engage with practitioners across the continent.

I therefore wish you a fruitful discussion during the course of the conference.
 
Thank you Very much!!!!