Collaboration between the public and private sectors will contribute to the development of a climate resilient economy in Africa, environmental affairs minister Enda Molewa told the World Economic Forum.
The Forum, which was recently held in Durban, brought together global climate leaders to discuss the priorities and opportunities for delivering the Paris Agreement.
Molewa said that by ratifying the Agreement at COP21, countries had not only committed to implementing strategies to reduce greenhouse gases, but agreed that investment should take place in climate resilient communities.
Molewa reiterated that all countries that signed the Agreement should not “backtrack on these issues of importance to humanity”.
Molewa placed an emphasis on securing access to new, additional and predictable sources of funding was of central importance to African and other developing countries, as there needs to be predictability of public climate finance flows until 2020.
As countries move towards developing a green economy, Molewa said there will be a need to fully understand climate-related financial risks that prevent clear planning, decision-making and investment in the public and private sectors. She said these risks must be mitigated, or less risky models be found.
She also said greater understanding was also needed regarding the urgency to adapt to climate change and investment in low-carbon options.
So far, the Paris Agreement secured global commitments amounting to US$1 trillion in solar investments.
On behalf of Africa, Molewa called on developed countries to honour their commitments to the developing world, particularly African countries, and support adaptation and mitigation programmes.
Climate-Smart Agriculture in Africa was also discussed. Molewa said the absence of specific agriculture related matters in the Paris Agreement short-changed organised and coordinated actions in the development of the agricultural sector and its responses to climate change.
Green economy strategies
South Africa is among the pioneers in adopting green economy strategies. The hallmark of this was the signing of the Green Economy Accord in 2011 and the adoption of the National Development Plan 2030 which took place in 2012.
Molewa also said she was glad that “great visible progress” has been seen in sectors such as energy efficiency, green transport, and sustainable housing.
“Through the Green Cities program, our government continues to ensure that all other cities implement the green development measures, including greening all our human settlements and habitats,” she said.