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3rd PAGE Conference a boost for SA and rest of the continent


By Loraine Tulleken
Minister Mokonyane with the Director-General of Environmental Affairs, Nosipho Ngcaba (left), Acting Executive Director of UN Environment Joyce Msuya and Koleka Mqulwana, High Commissioner for SA in Nairobi.

South Africa’s hosting of the 3rd Partnership for Action on Green Economy Ministerial Conference in Cape Town on Thursday and Friday would, according to Minister of Environmental Affairs Nomvula Mokonyane, advance the agenda of inclusive growth, and the adoption of a low carbon and climate resilient economy, domestically and on the African continent. The SA conference, attended by more than 500 delegates, included 15 international Ministers/Deputy Ministers of Environment, Finance, Business, Science and Technology and Development who participated in robust discussions on tools and strategies for shaping greener economies and meeting the Paris Agreement requirements.

Among the featured speakers were Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organisation and Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International and a series of parallel sessions with high-level speakers from South Africa and abroad shared the latest thinking and evidence on green finance, strategies and policies for a green economy, social and economic inclusion, and sustainable consumption and production in the circular economy.

Overall the SA conference was an opportunity for member states to reinforce their commitment to transition to a green and sustainable economy. It was also an opportunity to demonstrate implementation of the tools and strategies required to accelerate, scaling up and sustaining of the momentum to broaden green economy principles in the heart of socio-economic and environmental planning frameworks. As Minister Mokonyane commented at the opening session, its relevance lay in an impetus for strengthening and leveraging partnerships for resource mobilisation that could catalyse the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“It comes at a time when there is increasing understanding among decision-makers from public institutions and the private sector, that economic and financial policies and practices must play a far greater role in advancing the transition to green growth. “A cleaner and greener world demands a move away from ‘business as usual’ to an ambitious and just transition.” The Minister assured that South Africa’s vision of transitioning towards a green economy was embraced at the highest political level, through the National Development Plan’s Vision 2030.

As such, the core objectives of the PAGE are aligned to Government’s Programme of Action. “Our approach is to ensure that green growth is supported by practical and implementable actions – hence the importance of shared learning, building on existing best practice initiatives and innovation in key sectors.” She cautioned, however, that South Africa’s commitment towards a resource efficient and pro-employment growth path requires collaboration between, and a buy-in from, all sectors.

The National Green Fund, launched by the government in 2012 to address identified market weaknesses, was key and has catalysed additional financial resources through bilateral and multilateral donor partners. Funded initiatives include the non-motorised transport programme, biogas to energy generation from agricultural waste, renewable energy procurement programmes (IRPP), and waste to energy programmes including methane gas capture at landfill sites. PAGE, she urged, should transition from policy development to action on the ground, growing good while reducing bad.

“This will entail catalysing economy-wide transformative actions such as enhancing natural capital, promoting renewable energy, keeping rain forests, wetlands, rivers and oceans functional.

“Therefore, the various initiatives which are being undertaken are key in enhancing technology development and uptake in small, medium and micro-scale enterprises (SMMEs) in South Africa which are inclusive of youth and gender advancement.

“Despite the triple socio-economic challenges being faced by South Africa, and many other countries, today, the Green Economy has the ability to contribute to economic growth, not only through job creation and economic development, but also through its contribution to the reduction of our carbon footprint.

“The success of greening our economies depends to a large extent on our ability to educate and skill our youth as the drivers of innovation in the greening of economy and society. Success relies on our willingness and collective efforts across all sectors. Sustainability should underpin decision making and resource allocation. Therefore, the Partnership for Action on the Green Economy must be forward-looking in its approach post 2020, for South Africa and other countries who are concluding their programmes. With that being said, let us all be part of the green revolution.”

The 3rd PAGE Ministerial Conference, hosted by the SA Government, was themed Advancing Inclusive and Sustainable Economies and followed one held in Dubai in 2014 and another in Berlin in 2017.




February/March 2020

















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