Fund to help civil society participating in COP 17

Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Kemantha Govender

Durban - Government will establish a Participation Fund to substantially contribute to the costs incurred by civil society and NGOs in their preparations for COP 17.

NGOs and representatives of civil society have been vocal about declining donor support for technical and financial contributions in their efforts to deal with climate change.

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said the fund will help South African youth, women, rural communities, media and NGOs with preparations for the remaining pre-COP negotiations meetings taking place over the next two months.

Molewa was in Durban and met with two key stakeholders, KwaZulu-Natal government and C17, to present her department's preparations for climate change negotiations that will take place in the country.

The C17 (the Civil Society Secretariat) updated the minister on their preparations for the NGO activities taking place in the build-up to the all-important UN meeting on climate change later this year.

One of the issues raised by civil society was the need to continue to consult on the key targets and programmes as envisaged in the climate change policy.

They also called for joint programmes and partnerships that would raise awareness and the development of local community-led and driven projects in climate adaptation.

Government said it would support the Global Day of Climate Action (People's March) on December 3 and other activities during COP 17.

"Voices of peoples of the world must continue to alert us to the urgency of the challenge we face," said Molewa. 

Greening and legacy projects in KZN need to be scaled-up so that they can be sustained after COP 17.

Smaller players in the tourism and arts sector should also benefit from the upcoming climate change meeting in Durban.

"We had an opportunity of presenting our preparations to the provincial executive, followed by constructive discussions with the executive council giving us the assurance that the province was ready to host and support national government-led efforts to find developmental opportunities to the challenge of climate change, and to rally behind the emerging national climate policy as espoused in the draft White Paper on Climate Change," said Molewa.

The KZN government, through the Provincial Planning Commission, is on track with their long term planning, which will mainstream a Carbon Outlook for the province. 

On September 27, KZN will host a Provincial Climate Change Summit to consolidate its contributions to the national negotiating position and the White Paper, both of which are in final draft, and ready for presentation to Cabinet for approval.

Gauteng, Western Cape and Free State will host their summits in September, while Limpopo and Mpumalanga will have theirs in October.

Molewa added that food security was one of the most critical issues that were being raised in meetings with stakeholders. 

"It is an issue close to our heart and we do understand the impact of climate change on food security," she said.

She said government would continue to have meetings to consolidate not only South Africa's but Africa's position on climate change. - BuaNews

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