Climate change under the spotlight at TICAD

Thursday, August 29, 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa has told delegates attending a thematic session at the TICAD VII Summit in Yokohama, Japan, that climate change poses a serious threat to Africa’s development and prosperity. 

“At the same time, it challenges us to develop future-proof economic growth models. The world therefore needs to move with urgency to implement climate actions that are sustainable, fair and inclusive,” said the President at the Thematic Session on Climate Change on Thursday.

While the African continent contributes less than 6 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, he said it has been disproportionately affected by more frequent extreme weather and climate events. 

During the past few years Southern Africa and other sub-regions of Africa have experienced devastating weather events, such as droughts, cyclones and floods. 

Climate-related disasters have grave consequences for human security, social stability and economic development, and are generally felt most severely by the poorest and most vulnerable in society. 

“It is essential, therefore, that African countries be provided with the necessary assistance to develop comprehensive risk management measures,” said President Ramaphosa.

South Africa has made substantial progress in adopting and implementing disaster risk reduction strategies, within a solid legislative framework. 

Measures are being put in place to ensure the strengthening of resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and disasters. 

This includes addressing the rising incidence and costs of disasters, the current and anticipated impacts of climate change, as well as the protection of critical ecosystem services and natural resources. 

The President said the aim is to effectively manage inevitable climate change impacts through interventions that build and sustain South Africa’s social, economic and environmental resilience and emergency response capacity.  

Understanding, assessing and managing climate risk is intrinsically connected to managing climate change and strengthening resilience to its adverse effects. 

South Africa’s National Disaster Management Act has therefore been enacted to give due consideration to climate change adaptation and the inclusion of climate risk when preparing disaster risk assessments and response plans. 

President Ramaphosa said there are ongoing efforts to mainstream disaster risk reduction across multiple sectors. 

“South Africa is working towards inclusive implementation of the Sendai Framework while ensuring its appropriate integration with the broader climate change and sustainable development agenda. 

“The need to address potential climate change risks has already been introduced in our legislation as a specific target for planning and implementation. 

“Government has put measures in place to support communities affected by disasters through disaster relief and recovery grant funding to address immediate needs as well as long-term intervention measures to enable proper planning.”

It is important that there is sufficient funding for implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services and programmes like the African Adaptation Initiative. 

The President said most African countries, like other developing countries, will need extensive resources to support local actions to provide timely early warning systems. 

Support for the implementation of these multilateral frameworks in a coordinated manner will empower local communities and local government to reduce disaster related fatalities, he said. –