The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) says it is hard at work to support provincial and local government to adapt to the realities of climate change.
“We are currently assisting the Free State and Mpumalanga provinces to review and improve their climate change plans. Together with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), we have worked to assess local disaster management plans and ensure these are adequately re-orientated to take account of possible future climate-induced disasters in Bojanala, West Rand, iLembe, Chris Hani and Sedibeng District Municipalities.
“In Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality, Sarah Baartman District Municipality, Buffalo City Metroplitan Municipality and the Amathole District Municipality, we have trained officials on the ocean vulnerability index so that effective planning can be undertaken to prepare for storm surges and sea level rise.
“In the past year, we have also capacitated the Mopani, Mangaung, Madibeng, ZF Mgcawu and Joe Gqabi Municipalities, and the Limpopo, North West and KwaZulu-Natal provinces in the development and revision of air quality management plans,” DFFE Minister Barbara Creecy said on Thursday.
She was delivering the department’s Budget Vote in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
“The aim of these interventions is to build climate resilience at local level and mainstream the necessary measures into provincial and municipal plans and budgets.
"Our recent experience of extreme weather events, including floods, storm surges and severe storms, tells us climate change is already part of our lived reality,” Creecy said.
The nine district municipalities that the DFFE has worked with are Mopani, Vhembe, Capricorn, Sekhukhune, Waterburg, Garden Route, Overberg, Cape Winelands and West Coast Municipalities, the Minister said.
Transforming biodiversity and conservation sector
The department is in the process of identifying 25 pilot projects, which are expected to generate R3.1 billion per annum and create thousands of new jobs, in pursuance of implementing the game meat strategy.
“Working in partnership with the Department of Traditional Affairs, National and Provincial Houses of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders and traditional authorities across all provinces, the department will support at least 17 169 community beneficiaries through the novel Community Rangers Programme to assist Traditional Authorities to stamp out illegal exploitation of biodiversity in their respective communities,” the Minister said.
In an effort to ensure the full and meaningful participation of previously disadvantaged people in the biodiversity economy value chain, a transformation programme has been launched within the biodiversity sector focusing on traditional authorities; previously disadvantaged individuals; small, medium and micro enterprises; traditional health practitioners, and various black associations.
“In this regard, we are pursuing partnerships with institutions of higher learning; piloting off take projects for community beneficiation, and enhancing government interventions to support communities and PDIs to participate meaningfully in the biodiversity economy value chain.
“This year, we will enter into Memoranda of Understanding with the University of Venda (already signed), University of Limpopo, University of Mpumalanga and Walter Sisulu University to develop the skills of previously disadvantaged individuals to participate in the biodiversity value chain,” Creecy said.
In this financial year, the department’s work is directed at domesticating the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) agreement dubbed 'The new deal for people and nature', adopted at the Convention on Biological Diversity in December 2022.
This will be achieved through the White Paper on Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa’s Biodiversity recently adopted by government.
“Achieving the '30 by 30' targets will require provinces and municipalities to identify land that can be placed under conservation, while at the same time, ensuring benefit-sharing for surrounding communities.
“This year, we hope to begin the establishment of the Eastern Cape Grasslands National Park, so we can finalise declaration in 2024. This new National Park will be a unique collaborative development that will follow a new model of ownership, land uses, governance and management,” the Minister said.
30 by 30 is a worldwide initiative for governments to designate 30% of Earth's land and ocean area as protected areas by 2030. – SAnews.gov.za