The South African cabinet has approved the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS) which supports the country’s ability to meet its obligations in terms of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, a cabinet minister said on Tuesday.
“This strategy defines the country’s vulnerabilities, plans to reduce those vulnerabilities and leverage opportunities, outlines the required resources for such action, whilst demonstrating progress on climate change adaptation,” said Barbara Creecy, Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.
Developed in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, the strategy aims to reduce the vulnerability of society, the economy and the environment to the effects of climate change, according to Creecy.
The NCCAS outlines a set of objectives, interventions and outcomes to enable the country to give expression to its commitment to the Paris Agreement, and gives effect to the National Development Plan’s vision of creating a low-carbon, climate resilient economy and a just society.
The 2015 Paris Agreement elevates the importance of climate change adaptation through the establishment of a global goal on adaptation of enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change.
Creecy said the international climate change talks in Spain in 2019 was an opportunity lost for the international community to show increased ambition on adaption, mitigation and the finance required to tackle climate change.
“Despite this, South Africa is moving forward and this strategy is our response to the effort required to tackling the climate change crisis,” the minister said in a statement.
She voiced hope that when the UN climate conference (COP26), which was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is hosted by the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in 2021, there will be a commitment for higher ambition on all the elements of the Paris Agreement: mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation.
To achieve this will require additional, predictable and adequate finance, technology and capacity building mitigation and adaptation support, including securing carbon market share of proceeds, Creecy said, adding that there is also a need for parties to support clear global adaptation goals with timelines as in the Paris Agreement.
“Adaptation to climate change presents South Africa with an opportunity to transform the health of the economy and build resilience, thus strengthening the social and spatial fabric, and enables the country to remain globally competitive,” said the minister.
The 10-year strategy will ensure that food production is not threatened, infrastructure is resilient and enable continued sustainable economic development, she said.
With this strategy as an important step forward, South Africa have a common reference point for climate change adaptation efforts in the short to medium-term, providing guidance across all levels of government, sectors, and stakeholders affected by climate variability and change, according to Creecy