Environmental cooperation programme between South Africa and Norway

  • Introduction 
  • Programme design and objectives


Introduction and background

The environmental cooperation programme between South Africa and Norway started in 1997. This cooperation is based on the mutual commitment by both nations to enhance development through implementation of international environmental conventions, with an emphasis on biodiversity, air pollution, and other pertinent focal areas. At the end of the highly successful first phase of the programme, it was recognised that further cooperation between the two countries in environmental management, building on the initial successes, would be mutually beneficial.

On the 13 December 2005 a new five-year programme on environmental cooperation between Norway and South Africa was signed in Pretoriawith a total value of NOK 40 million (approx. R51 million).  The New Environmental Cooperation Programme, also known as RSA 3002, was designed to respond to the environmental needs and priorities in South Africa and is firmly nested within DEA’s strategic plan.  The Programme is hence premised on three themes, namely pollution and waste; biodiversity and conservation; and environmental governance. Each theme consists of a number of 21 separate identified projects, being implemented by a range of agencies (e.g. SANBI) as well as other partners such as municipalities.

To meet this goal the environmental cooperation agreement (1 July 2005 to 31 March 2010) focused on three themes – pollution and waste; biodiversity and conservation; and environmental governance. Each theme consisted of a number of projects, with a total of 21 separate projects which are described in more detail below. However, it was realized that the many of the projects needed to continue beyond 31 March 2010 and hence the programme was extended by one year, and was officially closed on 31 March 2011.


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Programme design and objectives

Overall objective and purpose

The overall goal of the environmental cooperation programme is to promote sustainable development through the protection of and conservation of natural resources, safeguarding the environment from pollution, and enhancing the quality of the environment. 

The main purpose of the Programme is to ensure that South African national, provincial and local governments, are effectively implementing their mandates for environmental management, particularly for pollution and waste, and biodiversity.

Additionally, the Programme aimed to create a platform for long-term and sustained environmental cooperation between Norway and South Africa; enhancing sub-regional, regional and global environmental co-operation and contributing to meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) targets.

The environmental cooperation programme had the following key objectives:

  • Improved institutional capacity within the prioritized thematic areas.
  • Prioritised robust environmental management structures in place:
  • Effective prioritized environmental management systems (including law) in place.
  • Prioritized strategies to meet environmental objectives in place.
  • Efficient and effective intergovernmental cooperation in place.
  • Efficient and effective institutional cooperation between South Africa and Norway.
  • Efficient and effective cooperation between South Africa and sub-regional, regional and global partners.

Programe management

Programme management and institutional framework

The Programme as a whole has been managed by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in Pretoria with project implementation devolved to implementing units at national, provincial and municipal level. The Specialist Unit International Cooperation within DEA was responsible for the coordination of the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the environmental cooperation programme in close collaboration with the Royal Norwegian Embassy. 

The DEA appointed a Programme Coordinator whose responsibilities were to ensure overall coordination of the programme across the various themes. Funds for project management support services were budgeted for within the environmental cooperation programme budget and a full-time Programme Administrator for day-to-day running of the programme was appointed.


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