Statement delivered by minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Ms Barbara Creecy during the 5th ministerial meeting on climate action
The 5th ministerial meeting on climate action
23 March 2021
Allow me to take this opportunity to convey our gratitude to the organizers of this meeting, namely, China, Canada and the European Union. It is our pleasure to share our perspective on the topics selected for this year’s MOCA.
South Africa is in the process of updating its NDC and will submit it to the UNFCCC before COP 26. At the same time, following the devasting effects of not only the COVID-19 pandemic but also the tropical cyclone Eloise that hit our country hard, we are implementing our South African economic reconstruction and recovery plan – including opportunities to green the response to these crises. We have also adopted at a continental level, the African Green Stimulus Programme.
We have established an important new institution, the Presidential Climate Change Coordinating Commission, in late 2020, to oversee the just transition away from coal. Our national utility Eskom has committed in principle to net zero emissions by 2050, and has embarked on a process of repurposing retiring coal power plants by adding solar PV and batteries. Framework legislation on climate change will be introduced in the current session of Parliament, and will provide a firm legal basis for climate action and institutions.
The path towards a transition to a low carbon economy, and climate proofing our infrastructure, requires a high level of cooperation with traditional donors, partners and the private sector, to enhance access to massively scaled-up finance, technology and capacity-building support.
But the decline in public finance for mitigation and adaptation, with grant financing hovering at around 6%, is a real concern to African countries. We note with concern that developed countries are stepping back from a commitment to 0.7% of GDP for development aid. Developing countries are facing a debt crisis. We will need solutions to financing climate action other than increasing developing country debt.
Over 450 public development banks pledged on 12 November 2020 to align with the Paris Agreement. This is a very encouraging development, and we would assume that these banks will align their lending practices with the real needs of developing countries for their long-term transitions to climate resilient and zero carbon societies. This will definitely include the need for transition finance. Ignoring the real needs of developing countries in this regard will result in the Paris Agreement’s goals not being achieved.
Lastly, we should all work with the government of the UK to chart a roadmap to a successful COP 26. We expect mitigation, adaptation and finance to be treated in a balanced manner, and an ambitious outcome for all three. A breakthrough on finance is essential for success in Glasgow. In Glasgow, we think that there are important linkages across Article 6, transparency and common time-frames. South Africa stands ready to assist in building bridges to find solutions, as we have often done in the past.
I thank you.