KZN Premier calls for urgent action to respond to climate change

Thursday, September 21, 2023

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube has called for urgent and collective action in order to respond to the impact of climate change.

This, the Premier said during an engagement with various strategic and alliance partners at the 2023 Climate Week in New York, must be accompanied by meaningful funding and the implementation of commitments.

Dube-Ncube bemoaned the fact that those who have contributed the least to climate change and are the most vulnerable -- mainly residing in the developing world -- have been the most affected by the impact of climate change. 

“Governments must strengthen the implementation of current policies and strategies to hold corporates responsible for their contribution to the climate change impacts and to ensure their accountability. 

“The corporates, on the other hand, must put their money where their values are. We urgently need collective action to mitigate, while we largely adapt to the climate change impacts,” Dube-Ncube said.

In its 15th year, Climate Week is regarded as the largest annual climate event of its kind, bringing together some 400 events and activities across the City of New York – in person, hybrid and online. 

Each year, business leaders, political change makers, local decision takers and civil society representatives of all ages and backgrounds, from all over the world, gather to drive the transition, speed up progress, and champion change that is already happening.

KwaZulu-Natal is one of the co-chairs of the Climate Group. The group acts as the Secretariat of the Under2Coalition, the largest network of subnational governments committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier.

KwaZulu-Natal represents the voices of the vulnerable people of Africa, as the Premier is the co-chair for the Africa Region.

This year, Climate Week NYC is being held from 17 - 24 September 2023. 

At the event, the Premier met with the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, and the two discussed issues of common interest, including lessons on climate insurance, and establishing learning platforms, which will be shared by both KwaZulu-Natal and the California subnational government, to push the urgency of action. 

The two leaders also discussed climate risks and vulnerabilities, as both California and KwaZulu-Natal share similar experiences, which is flash floods, droughts and sea level rises.

Dube-Ncube said Climate Week and the engagement with the Governor could not have come at a more poignant time, as KwaZulu-Natal and the rest of Africa are more susceptible to violent weather patterns. 

The Premier said while making good progress, the province is still reeling from the April 2022 floods and its infrastructure has not yet fully recovered.

“Just this weekend, we witnessed devastating tidal waves in the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal which destroyed infrastructure and saw a number of people injured. This clearly demonstrates that our province is in the eye of the storm and, as a result, urgent action is required from all stakeholders,” Dube-Ncube said. 

On behalf of the provincial government, the Premier conveyed a message of support and condolences to the families of the victims of the high tidal waves, which left a trail of destruction in its wake.

Dube-Ncube said the conversations at the 2023 Climate Week will not end at the event but will shape the onward conversations of COP28, scheduled to take place in November/December 2023 in the United Arab Emirates.

“This is where governments and non-parties will be advancing the voice of inclusivity.

“As part of the underdeveloped and developing worlds, we carry a clear mandate to advance the aspirations of our regions and in particular, the African continent, for environmental justice, food security and financing of mitigation efforts,” the Premier said. –