SA committed to sustainable development

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Pretoria – Environmental Affairs Minister Dr Edna Molewa says South Africa’s programmes, particularly the National Development Plan: Vision 2030, demonstrates the country’s commitment to sustainable and climate smart development.

“South Africa’s short, medium and long-term vision is to contribute towards an environmentally sustainable, climate change resilient, low carbon economy and just society,” Minister Molewa said at the recent third BRICS meeting of Ministers of Environment in Tianjin, China. 

The National Development Plan (NDP) is South Africa’s blueprint to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. The plan, Minister Molewa said, contains 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets, something that acutely highlights the “scale and ambition of the new universal climate agenda”. 

“They [SDGs] are integrated and indivisible, and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental dimensions,” Minister Molewa said.

South Africa, the Minister said, has also adopted the Climate Change Response Policy. The policy represents South Africa’s vision for an effective climate change response, and the long-term transition to a climate resilient and lower carbon economy and society.

BRICS Ministers’ Forum

The ministers’ meeting was an opportunity to deliberate on the implementation, financing and creation of an enabling environment for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and emerging global environmental issues.

Minister Molewa said emphasis must be placed on the importance of the means of implementation of the SDGs, and the continued financial assistance for developing countries through Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Minister Molewa reiterated the importance of developed countries to continue to honour their historic obligations and responsibilities, as part of the commitments made in the context of the global partnership for development.

“We must work together in mobilising sufficient, adequate and predictable financial resources for the implementation of the SDGs. Without the means of implementation, we will not be able to achieve much. The adoption of the SDG indicators and work plan will be a significant step on the way-forward on tracking the implementation of the SDGs,” Minister Molewa said. 

According to the Department of Environmental Affairs, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Africa’s Agenda 2063 will not be achieved if natural resources are not protected, managed and utilised sustainably.

Minister Molewa welcomed the agreement at the BRICS meeting to develop clearly defined programmes, such as the BRICS Clean Rivers Umbrella Programme.

The BRICS Ministers of Environment adopted the Partnership for Urban Environmental Sustainability Initiative (PUESI).

PUESI identifies water and air pollution prevention, waste management, spatial planning and mobility as priority areas for cooperation. The partnership envisions the promotion of sustainable development in urban areas, aiming to build a knowledge hub in order to facilitate sharing of policies and best practices for urban sustainability, to provide an interface for information exchange and communication between suppliers and users of environmentally friendly technologies and products.

Minister Molewa said the BRICS Partnership for Urban Environmental Sustainability Initiative, if implemented in a holistic manner, has the potential to contribute significantly to the reduction of pollution and waste.

The ministerial meeting also discussed the issue of drought and desertification, and continued commitment to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to mitigate the effects of drought in vulnerable countries, particularly in Africa. -

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