SA forges ahead with Paris Agreement

Friday, November 17, 2017

South Africa is forging ahead with the implementation of the Paris Agreement, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said on Thursday.

“Despite geo-political uncertainty in the global climate change space, I would like to emphasise that the Paris Agreement is irreversible and will not be re-negotiated. We are resolute in ensuring its implementation. As Oliver Tambo said ‘to go back means defeat’. We are therefore forging ahead with implementation,” said the Minister.

Addressing a high level segment of the 23rd United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, Minister Molewa said the recent unprecedented hurricanes in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, floods and droughts in Sierra Leone and Ethiopia and fires in California, remind the world of the dangers posed by climate change.

She further added that the dangers of climate change are in the process of increasing exponentially, and that countries cannot delay action any longer to some point in the future. 

“Furthermore, slow onset climate change will have severe impacts on Southern Africa, with shifting rainfall patterns, more frequent droughts and flooding causing devastating health, water, food and energy security impacts,” said the Minister.

The Minister said the impacts of climate change will adversely affect the poorest South Africans the most.

“Therefore, we are investing heavily in taking adaptation action. Now is the time to act for the greater global good and future of generations. All countries have to transition to an inclusive and just low-carbon and climate resilient development pathway. The faster we transition, the less damage will result at lower cost, and with maximum benefits,” she said.

She said the global transition to a low carbon and climate resilient future, is bright and full of opportunity to finally achieve equitable, inclusive and just development.

The Minister stressed that South Africa’s pre-2020 actions and its post-2020 Nationally Determined Contribution are designed to make a fair contribution to the global effort to tackle climate change.

For example, the accelerated roll out of renewable and clean energy plans, in partnership with the private sector is among the many climate actions South Africa is implementing. This rollout is designed to coincide with the progressive reduction of coal based high-carbon emission infrastructure.

“To empower South Africa to further ramp up our levels of ambition in the context of a just and equitable transition, international cooperation enabling access to climate finance and technologies will be essential.”

Minister Molewa also told those attending the session that there seems to be little appetite to accelerate pre-2020 action, as exemplified by the fact that the Doha Amendment has not yet come into force and means of implementation support to developing countries is declining.

“The ramping up of ambition in the pre-2020 period by all actors is a crucial signal to our people that we are serious about fulfilling our commitments,” said the Minister who urged all developed countries to urgently implement their pre-2020 pledges and increase their ambition including the provision of additional, new and predicable support to developing countries.

“We want to stress that the success of next year’s Talanoa Facilitative Dialogue is essential towards raising ambition in the post-2020 period. It is also essential for developed countries to honour their pre-2020 commitments,” she said.

The 23rd COP23 to the UNFCCC started its meeting in Bonn on the 6th November under the Presidency of Fiji, with the High Level Segment scheduled for 15 - 17 November 2016. -

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