Environmental cooperation programme between South Africa and Germany


Introduction and background

South Africa and Germany have a long standing cooperation in the area of environment. Through the environmental cooperation agreement signed in 1998 by the two countries, German support has been instrumental in promoting development through the strategic support of key environmental initiatives particularly in the climate change focal area.

South Africa and Finland‘s relations date back to 1949 and Finland was a strong supporter of the dismantling of Apartheid in South Africa.Since 1995 Finland has assisted South Africa’s efforts in building a socially and economically more inclusive and equal society. As a result of South Africa's growing regional and international stature, internal stability and economic growth, Finland has been keen to explore ways to expand the existing relationship. In respect of trade,South Africa exports to Finland fresh and dried fruits, wine, pulp, paper, iron, steel and coal. South Africa imports telecommunication equipment, paper, board products, and machinery from Finland

In terms of the cooperation between South Africa and Germany, mutual objectives to promote sustainable consumption and production of natural resources, coupled with the overall success of the environmental cooperation between Germany and South Africa, have prompted both partners to further strengthen and enhance this cooperation, with a specific focus on the following areas:

  • Green growth and green jobs;
  • Design and implementation of national actions for the transition to a green and low carbon economy;
  • Renewable energy and energy efficiency;
  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation policies and demonstration programmes.


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Strategic importance

Germany is the European Union’s strongest economy and has been a strong supporter of South Africa in the environment focal area since the advent of democracy. Furthermore, Germany has demonstrated a strong support for South Africa’s objectives in the climate change focal area, particularly in the development and implementation of green technologies, inter alia, solar technology at the municipal level.

It is well understood that transitioning to a green economy will require a tremendous amount of technical skill and financial resources which cannot be mobilised from the fiscal alone. Support from like-minded development partners with mutual objectives will be vital to ensure successful implementation of South Africa’s development objectives. Finland is one of the leading countries when it comes to development of machinery and telecommunications equipment and as such ties with South Africa can augur well for South Africa’s development.


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