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Opening remarks by Minister Barbara Creecy, at the pre-CoP27 negotiations in the Democratic Republic of Congo

03 October 2022


Ms Eve Bazaiba – Minister for the Environment of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Mr Sameh Shoukry – COP 27 President Designate
Ms Amina Mohammed – United Nations Deputy Secretary-General
Mr Simon Stiell – UNFCCC Executive Secretary


At the outset, South Africa joins others in expressing our deepest condolences to the countries that have recently experienced devastating climatic events, including the United States of America, Cuba, the European Union, large parts of Africa and Pakistan. Such events are a stark and tragic reminder that we have already entered the era of loss and damage.

Climate change remains the greatest challenge of our generation and Africa is one of the most impacted regions due to multiple factors, including heavy dependence on climate sensitive sectors, low adaptive capacity, underdevelopment, and limited access to finance and technology. Despite having contributed insignificantly to climate change, Africa has continued to make substantial investments towards climate change adaptation, using mostly its own domestic resources. This has been necessitated by the failure of developed countries that bear the historical responsibility to fully honour their obligation to provide means of implementation support to developing countries and inadequate or inappropriate multilateral and private sector financing.

COP 27 is thus a critical moment for all of us in Africa. This COP, which is taking place on African soil, must deliver meaningful and substantive progress on adaptation, Loss and Damage and means of implementation support for African and other developing countries. COP27 further needs to focus on supporting a people-centred, just and equitable transition in the developing world.  The urgent need is to adapt now, while we build resilience for the future. We can only avoid loss and minimize damage with the appropriate scale of public finance that does not exacerbate the indebtedness of Africa.

For too long these issues of critical importance to Africa have seen only process-related outcomes in the UNFCCC negotiations, due to the mitigation-centric approach of developed countries.

COP 27 must ensure that the outcome on Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) increases the actual resilience of our population to the adverse impacts of climate change by at least 50% by 2030 and by at least 90% by 2050. Focus must be placed on the most vulnerable people and communities; in order to support health and well-being; food and water security; infrastructure and the built environment; as well as ecosystems and ecosystem services.

We also need an outcome on a key set of adaptation finance goals as part of the GGA, focusing on core adaptation support in a range of sectors, and also as part of the deliberations on a new collective quantified goal on finance; and present a clear roadmap to deliver on the Glasgow decision to double adaptation finance by 2025. This roadmap, as stated in the AMCEN Dakar decisions, should include projected annual contributions, the timing of such contributions, and the multilateral institutions that will channel these resources to developing countries.


As we all know, individual countries’ domestic efforts alone will not be enough to solve the climate crisis; hence we pledge our support to work with Egypt as incoming COP 27 Presidency for a successful UNFCCC COP 27.

We need everybody to show progress in the implementation of their NDCs and need new finances for our Just Transitions, including direct budget support for developing countries to build adaptation and resilience and to address losses and damages brought about by climate change.

We note with disappointment the failure by developed countries to meet their commitment of mobilizing US$ 100 billion by 2020 and stress the importance of them delivering the USD 100 billion per year from now through to 2025 for building trust and faith in the multilateral process.

Our call for developed countries to deliver on their commitments to meet their goal and ensure progression of efforts in the ongoing mobilization of climate finance is a fair one. COP27 needs to be a watershed moment for implementation, by securing the Means of Implementation, in the form of climate finance, technology transfer and capacity building, for African and other developing countries. This is important if we are to transition from negotiations to implementation.


We need to be ready to accelerate the decarbonisation of our economies in preparation for the anticipated outcomes of the first global stock take next year.

South Africa is fully committed to the multilateral process under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In this regard, we submitted an updated NDC in September 2021, which includes a significantly more ambitious mitigation target.

Our government has approved wide-reaching policies to ensure that we can meet our NDC targets.  I wish to highlight the following:

  • To ensure a science-based response to the climate crisis, which is centrally important to our just transition, we are funding a wide range of research, development and innovation (RDI) programmes and interventions. These include the Global Change Research Plan (GCRP) and its associated programmes and interventions; a Marine and Antarctic Strategy; the South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas (SARVA); Water and Waste RDI Roadmaps; the Bio-economy Strategy; Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS); Earth Observation work under the Space Sub-Programme; the hydrogen and fuel cell technology development process (Hydrogen Society Roadmap), detailed mapping of renewable energy resources, via wind and solar atlases the advanced batteries (energy storage) initiative, and multiple programmes on moving towards a circular economy, and finally a strong research focus on water resources.
  • Our Parliament is in the process of conducting final consultations on our Climate Change Bill – a landmark framework legislation for South Africa’s climate change response. The climate change bill will provide for a coordinated approach between the spheres of government as well as to regulate climate action by the economic sectors.
  • We have approved the methodology to set sectoral emissions targets. These will be revised on a rolling basis, and will provide sectors with a strategic framework for our contribution towards global decarbonisation efforts;
  • We approved the methodology to set carbon budgets for large emitters.
  • Our National Adaptation Strategy has been approved and is being implemented in all spheres of government.
  • We adopted a Just Transition Framework developed through our Presidential Climate Commission. The Just Transition Framework informs the basis for our long-term climate action, and affirms South Africa’s contribution to the net zero decarbonisation goal, firmly set in the context of our sustainable development challenges.
  • Finally, a Presidential Climate Finance Task Team has been established to lead and coordinate negotiations with the International Partner Group to give effect to the Just Energy Transition Partnership or JETP.

We look forward to fruitful discussions in this pre-COP. I thank you.


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