South Africa fast facts
Key cross-sectoral policies:
Green Economy Accord
National Development Plan 2030
Key thematic and sectoral action areas in 2018:
National framework for monitoring green economy progress
Green economy modelling of the water-biodiversity nexus
Renewable energy technologies and just energy transition
Bio-composite economic sectors
National Academy on Green Economy
Green economy e-learning course with North-West University
The South African government is set on transitioning towards an environmentally sustainable, climate-change resilient, low-carbon economy and a just society.
Key focus areas for South Africa in 2018 have been around green economy modelling and green economy indicators as well as the promotion of green jobs, green industry and trade, renewable energy and green economy learning.
PAGE and its partners in South Africa continue to:
- Contribute to better collaboration, coordination and implementation of existing green economy frameworks.
- Support economic sectors ready for green economy transformation.
- Strengthen institutional capabilities through enhanced green economy learning & training and knowledge sharing platforms.
In South Africa, PAGE focuses on coordinating action and forming collaborative partnerships to effectively and efficiently deliver on the country’s vision of transitioning to a “low-carbon, resource-efficient and pro-employment development path”, as codified in the:
In 2018, this focus included the preparation of the Third PAGE Ministerial Conference, held in Cape Town in January 2019. Hosted by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs with support from PAGE under the theme of Advancing Inclusive and Sustainable Economies, the conference gathered over 500 participants from 50 countries.
Progress in 2018: A Snapshot
To further green economy learning, a National Academy on Green Economy was held with key stakeholders from all nine provinces to:
- share the latest thinking on South Africa’s green economy transition and
- contribute to enhancing institutional capacities for transformative change at the sub-national level.
The academy has created a community of champions that can lead action and spread the message across their networks.
PAGE is working with the Centre for Environmental Management at North-West University to develop a green economy e-learning course, targeting all levels of the civil administration, to be launched in 2019.
Helping Tackle the Water Crisis
South Africa is experiencing an ongoing water crisis. This presents an opportunity to re-examine policies that can address water supply, treatment, reuse and leakages.
PAGE is collaborating with the Department of Environmental Affairs to update the previously-developed South Africa Green Economy Modelling (SAGEM) report, which used system dynamics modelling to assess the impacts of green investments in select economic sectors.
The update includes modelling of the water-biodiversity nexus, with a sub-national focus on the provinces that have been worst affected by the water crisis.
Boosting Green Industry and Trade
To support the development of green industry, PAGE has collaborated with national partners to produce the Green Economy Industry and Trade Analysis. The study identified areas that offer particular trade opportunities from the perspective of green industrial development such as:
- small-scale embedded generation systems
- water technology
- the biogas-to-transport value chain and bio-composites.
PAGE’s work has subsequently informed a sector-specific assessment of opportunities at the nexus of green industry and trade and provided recommendations for policymakers on how to further harness these opportunities.
PAGE is engaging with national stakeholders to develop a framework for monitoring the transition to an environmentally sustainable and low-carbon economy. Drawing on the PAGE Green Economy Progress Measurement Framework, this work will take the form of a dashboard of green economy and environmental sustainability indicators for South Africa.
Once established and adopted, these indicators will support the elaboration and review of green economy policies by identifying areas of success as well as underperforming areas where more attention is needed.
How does PAGE's work in South Africa meet its objectives?
Outcome 1: National policy making
PAGE has been engaging with national stakeholders to develop a framework for monitoring the transition to an environmentally sustainable and low-carbon economy. Drawing on the PAGE Green Economy Progress Measurement Framework, this work will take the form of a dashboard of green economy and environmental sustainability indicators for South Africa, which will support the elaboration and review of green economy policies.
To further this work during 2018:
- A Green Economy Indicators Stocktaking workshop was held with the Department of Environmental Affairs to identify priority green economy indicators that can support the National Development Plan (NDP), Medium-Term Strategic Framework and the SDGs, among other activities.
- The PAGE National Coordinator engaged with the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflections (MISTRA) for a discussion around the key question, “How do we build a just transition toward a socially inclusive economy by 2063?” The discussion advanced thinking on how South Africa can develop an all-encompassing approach to managing the transition to an economy characterized by low-carbon emissions.
Outcome 2: Sectoral reform
PAGE has recently focused on South Africa's water crisis. This work has included a collaboration with the Department of Environmental Affairs to update the previously-developed South Africa Green Economy Modelling (SAGEM) report, using a system dynamics modelling approach to better model the water-biodiversity nexus. The model will include a sub-national focus on the provinces worst affected by the crisis.
This work began with a preliminary stakeholder workshop that identified several priority policy processes, such as the Master Water Plan from Department of Water and Sanitation. At the sub-national level, the model will inform the Western Cape Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan and Ecological Infrastructure Investment Framework, currently under development and planned to conclude toward the end of 2019.
Also in 2018:
- PAGE contributed to a Roundtable Discussion on Skills in Renewable Energy Technologies (RET), which was hosted by the National Business Initiative. PAGE support included a diagnostic on the RET sector to identify areas of growth/development, and implications for skills.
- A validation workshop on Bio-composite Action Plan and Implementation Strategy took place. The Plan aims to both reinforce existing initiatives and offer suggestions for new approaches.
- PAGE collaborated with National Planning Commission to support their efforts in engaging with stakeholders in the context of a social compact including pathways for a just transition to a low-carbon society. The dialogue specifically focused on engaging young people on issues relating to sustainability.
- PAGE supported a high-level, multi-stakeholder debate convened under the auspices of the OR Tambo Debate Series, organized by the Wits University School of Governance. The debate focused on the theme of renewable energy and industrialization in South Africa and the National Development Plan, which commits the country to diversifying its energy mix and expanding renewables.
Outcome 3: Strengthening capacity
PAGE has spearheaded several capacity building events in 2018 in South Africa. These include:
- A Green Economy Training Workshop where PAGE introduced key knowledge products and the Green Economy Progress Measurement Framework (GEP) to participants from the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and Statistics South Africa.
- The National Academy on Green Economy, which brought together participants from all nine provinces to share the latest thinking on South Africa’s green economy transition and contribute to enhancing institutional capacities for transformative change at sub-national level.
- A three-day training of trainers on the design, delivery and evaluation of e-learning, which is contributing towards the development of a green economy e-learning course to be launched in 2019. The course, which is being developed in collaboration with the Centre for Environmental Management at North-West University (CEM-NWU) is aimed at stakeholders at all levels of civil administration. A pilot run of the course, completed in 2018, has already engaged 30 participants from government, civil society and the South African academic sector.
Outcome 4: Knowledge sharing
PAGE is supporting countries to improve their Inclusive Green Economy knowledge base by generating and sharing knowledge products such as manuals, reports, lessons learned and best practices with the aim to inform and support national policy analysis and formulation.
For knowledge sharing, PAGE organizes high level events, conferences, workshops involving current and future PAGE countries to build networks and global platforms to exchange experiences and information.
SDGs and Paris Agreement Articles
In South Africa, PAGE is contributing towards the achievement of SDGs 4, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, and 17 by working to strengthen the cooperation, coordination and capabilities required to realize the country’s vision for its transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient and pro-employment development path, with a focus on critical issues such as inefficiencies in the water and energy sectors and providing support for monitoring green economy progress.