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SOUTH AFRICA POSITION PAPER TOWARD CLIMATE CHANGE ISSUE

Name : 1. Sri Rezeki


2. Febrian Dneuilly
3. Arya Rachmat Johari
4. Romarga Waworuntu
5. OK Fachru Hidayat

“We need to act now to ensure there is a global agreement on this critical challenge.
The global agreement should be guided by a shared vision.
It should be inclusive, fair and effective.”1

• South Africa’s Condition


South Africa, as it can be seen from its name, is located in the Southern Africa. Its size is
1,219,090 km2 and it is inhabited by 48.7 million people by the mid 2008. Mining services and
transport, energy, manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture are the key economic sectors for this
country.2 South Africa ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) in 1997. South Africa is classified as a non-annex 1 country.
Relating with environmental condition, South Africa has the third-highest level of biodiversity
in the world. From its official website, there are three biodiversity spot which is internationally
acknowledged. They are Cape Floral Region, Succulent Karoo, and Maputoland-Pondoland. Cape
Floral is said to be the smallest and richest plant kingdom on earth.3

• Climate Change Effect


The possible changes in the climate could affect South Africa severely. Climate change could
damage South Africa as it threatened to increase its temperature by 1 to 3 degrees. Moreover, the
country’s rainfall could be decrease by 5-10%. With the decreasing rainfall, the eastern part of the
country would be wetter and causes flood during the rainfall season, while the western part would
be drier and experienced extreme draught.

1
Message by South African President Jacob Zuma to the United Nations (UN) Secretary General’s High Level Summit
on Climate Change.

2
South Africa at A Glance, accessed from http://www.info.gov.za/aboutsa/glance.htm, on March 19, 2010, at 4.54 PM.
3
The Table Mountain Fund, accessed from http://www.wwf.org.za/tmf.htm, on March 19, 2010, at 7.40 PM.

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The change in temperature and rainfall will have implications for a number of sectors, for
instance the water resources. Water resources are already under pressure in South Africa, and
climate change will lead to a decline in the availability of surface water resources. This will happen
at the same time as socio-economic development will increase the demand for water.
Moreover, as average temperature increases, there will be more days with extreme hot condition
and disturbing to South Africa agricultural sector. Agriculture is an important source of livelihood
for many rural South Africans, yet maize productivity will decrease under climate change, and the
areas in which maize can feasibly be grown will decrease. The change in range for plant growth
will also affect biodiversity which is very crucial to South Africa.4
• Mitigation
International Level
In terms of international mitigation pledges, during the COP 15, South Africa itself has
committed to cut carbon emission up to 34% by the expected amount of carbon emission of 2020
and about 42% below current trends by 2025.5 South Africa also expected and pledged Annex 1
countries to commit reduction of 25% to 40% below 1990 levels by 2020 and to adopt mitigation
targets that will ensure that levels would have a chance in keeping temperature increase below 2ºC
above pre-industrial levels.
Domestic Level
In terms of national mitigation, South Africa perceived that sustainable development and
cleaner production strategies should become the main concern on the mitigation effort done by the
country. Energy efficiency has to be promoted in order to shift the dependency of economic and
industrial sector in natural export, as the energy sector has become the main source of greenhouse
gas of South Africa. Therefore South Africa underlined the effort of national greenhouse gas
mitigation plan that furthers the process of sustainable development in the light of CDM,
technology transfer, donor funding, and capacity building.6
South Africa launched the Long-Term Mitigation Scenario (LTMS) process on climate change
in 2006. The government’s vision on climate policy can be seen in 2 points7:
• in designing the policy for the transition to a climate-resilient and low-carbon economy and
society, the mitigation and adaptation response will be balanced

4
Accessed from http://www.sealthedeal2009.org/climate-change-south-africa, on March 11, 2010, at 3 PM.
5
BBC News, South Africa to Cut Carbon Emissions by 34%, accessed from
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8398775.stm, on March 13, 2010, at 2 PM.
6
National Climate Change Response Strategy for South Africa, 2004, accessed from
http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/seminar/application/pdf/sem_sup3_south_africa.pdf, on March 12, 2010, at 5 PM.
7
Environmental Management, accessed from http://www.info.gov.za/aboutsa/environment.htm, on March 19, 2010, at
5.37 PM.

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• the climate response policy, built on six pillars, will be informed by what is required by
science, namely to limit global temperature increase to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
The six policy-direction themes are:
• greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reductions and limits
• building on, strengthening and/or scaling up current initiatives
• implementing the Government’s “Business Unusual” Call for Action in 2008
• preparing for the future
• vulnerability and adaptation
• alignment, co-ordination and co-operation.
• Adaptation
Domestic Level
In A National Climate Change Response Strategy for South Africa, the objective of adaptation is
to offset South Africa’s vulnerability to climate change. There are several aspects which are
considered vulnerable and needed to be taken care in adaptation, namely health protection, water
resource management, rangeland practices, agriculture, forestry practices, plant biodiversity, animal
biodiversity, marine biodiversity, and the economic vulnerability of South Africa.
South Africa’s strategy in dealing with Climate Change has been underlined in 2004 with the
release of A National Climate Change Response Strategy for South Africa. Such strategy gives
South Africa guidelines on which aspects shall be put affront in tackling the issue of climate
change. South Africa’s adaptation strategy makes use of the country’s existing capacities and
resources. Furthermore, it has set the strategy apart from other adaptation strategies that depend on
outside assistance. South African policymakers can draft their own policies, pursue specific
strategies to their own circumstances, and create ownership over their process. South Africa also
has strong and influential scientific and academic tradition, which has played a pivotal role in
developing climate models, weather projections, and other ecological information that are then
integrated into policy.
International Level
On 4 August 2009, ICLEI ??? Africa presented the “Africa Local Government Climate
Change Declaration??” at the South African National Climate Change information and
consultation session in Johannesburg. The purpose of this declaration was to raise awareness and
commitments of the government, NGOs, and public sphere of climate change issue. It was intended
to build common understanding towards COP 15 in Copenhagen. The information and guidelines
presented showed South Africa’s clear position with regards to the focal points of adaptation,
mitigation, means of implementation and shared vision.

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Some NGO and environmental association praise South Africa’s effort in applying adaptation
scheme to cope and prevent climate change. Many advised that South Africa should give guidance
to other nations as under its leadership. It is because South Africa has helped to unite “Africa
Group” in seeking support from industrialized country with the purpose of address the climate
change issue. In addition, under the leadership of former environment minister Martinus Van
Schalkwyk (2004-2009), South Africa built bridge within the G77 and developed a strong domestic
climate agenda in the international level.8

• Technology Transfer
International Level
Related to the COP 15, South Africa believed that there should have had a shared vision that is
based on clear science. It was because the shared vision would give balance between adaptation and
mitigation as well as climate and development imperatives. South Africa’s position is that
institutional arrangements must facilitate access by developing countries to the “means of
implementation” (including finance, technology and capacity building) in a coherent and engaging
manner. Annex 1 countries must help the developing countries with technology transfer in order to
improve the ability of these countries in reducing their greenhouse gas outputs.
Domestic Level
As an example of technology transfer, South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial
Research (CSIR) had a long-standing partnership with the US-based Massachusetts Institute for
Technology (MIT).9 They worked together and created ‘FabLabs’ in South Africa. FabLabs or
fabrication laboratories, helped local people to develop anything from inexpensive and readily
available materials. Thus the local community can create their own solution to solve their problem.
There are 8 FabLabs in South Africa and they are considered to be a successful model of
technology transfer.

• Finance
South Africa supports the common but differentiated responsibilities in combating climate
change. Thus the country sees there is a need for developed countries to provide finance for
developing countries. South Africa agreed to British proposal for a fund of 100 billion USD per
annum to deal with climate change, even though it was still one fourth amount which was really
8
Eric Chu and Preeti Verma, South Africa: An Experiment in Climate Change Adaptation Planning, accessed from
http://www.wri.org/stories/2009/12/south-africa-experiment-climate-change-adaptation-planning, on March 11, 2010,
at 4 PM.
9
Khungeka Njobe, Technology transfer: lessons learnt in South Africa, accessed from
http://www.scidev.net/en/opinions/technology-transfer-lessons-learnt-in-south-africa.html, on March 19,
2010, at 6.56 PM.

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needed. Furthermore, South Africa highlighted the necessity of predictability of finance,
transparency in process, and equitable representation of developed and developing countries in the
governance structures.10
South African Planning Minister Trevor Manuel is included on a high-level United Nations
advisory group on climate change financing. This group, which was launched in February 2010, is
tasked to help developing countries get finance in tackling climate change. It will facilitate
developing countries with practical proposal in order to boost short and long term financing from
mitigation and adaptation strategies.11

CONCLUSION

Concerns about climate change are growing in much of the world. As greenhouse gas emissions are
projected to increase, the impact of climate warming will intensify. That’s global warming impacts
not only come to only one country but surely impacted to every country in this world. South Africa
as a country which also suffered due to climate change issue is really concern to tackle this
problem, start from domestic level to international level. South Africa really much concern in
solving this problem. In 4 actions which measured as crucial issue that has to be taken by countries.
They are mitigation gas emission, adaptation, finance, and technology transfer.
South Africa on issue of mitigation gas emission makes some breakthrough in domestic and
international level. In domestic level, Energy efficiency is promoted in order to shift the
dependency of economic and industrial sector in natural export, as the energy sector has become the
main source of greenhouse gas of South Africa. In international level, South Africa itself has
committed to cut carbon emission up to 34% by the expected amount of carbon emission of 2020
and about 42% below current trends by 2025.12 On issue of Adaptation, in domestic level, South
Africa has already made South Africa’s strategy in dealing with Climate Change has been
underlined in 2004 with the release of A National Climate Change Response Strategy for South
Africa. Such strategy gives South Africa guidelines on which aspects shall be put affront in tackling
the issue of climate change. In international level, South Africa presented Africa Local Government
Climate Change Declaration, the purpose of this declaration was to raise awareness and
commitments of the government, NGOs, and public sphere of climate change issue.

10
$100 billion per annum for climate change is a step in the right direction, accessed from
http://www.info.gov.za/speeches/2009/09071410551001.htm, on March 19, 2010, at 4.26 PM.
11
Manuel on Climate Change Panel, accessed from http://www.southafrica.info/news/business/389056.htm, on March
19, 2010, at 4.11 PM.
12
Ibid., BBC News

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On the issue of Financing system toward climate change issue, South Africa, South Africa agreed to
British proposal for a fund of 100 billion USD per annum to deal with climate change, even though
it was still one fourth amount which was really needed and also South African Planning Minister
Trevor Manuel is included on a high-level United Nations advisory group on climate change
financing. On the issue of technology transfer, South Africa’s position is that institutional
arrangements must facilitate access by developing countries to the “means of implementation”
(including finance, technology and capacity building) in a coherent and engaging manner and also
built South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) had a long-standing
partnership with the US-based Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT).13 They worked
together and created ‘FabLabs’ in South Africa. FabLabs or fabrication laboratories, helped local
people to develop anything from inexpensive and readily available materials.
Those are South Africa commitments for climate change issue, there is big willingness from South
Africa to solve climate change issue, this commitment is accomplished into many South Africa’s
actions toward climate change issue. But as we already know, this climate change problem is not
about one man show program, it also needs big commitment from another country to make a better
life in decreasing temperature so that there is always a life there even after many generations after
us.

13
Khungeka Njobe, Technology transfer: lessons learnt in South Africa, accessed from
http://www.scidev.net/en/opinions/technology-transfer-lessons-learnt-in-south-africa.html, on March 19,
2010, at 6.56 PM.