Provincial Climate Change Seminar
(SANBI) will bring together various stakeholders at the National Botanical Gardens in Kirstenbosch on Monday and Tuesday to work towards a Provincial Climate Change strategy and action plan.
South Africa is a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.
The South African Country Study on Climate Change, carried out in the late 1990's, identified the Northern and Western Cape Provinces as being most at risk from projected climate change-induced warming and rainfall change. The future climate of the Western Cape is likely to be one that is warmer and drier than present, according to a number of current model projections. A future that is warmer and drier will include a range of consequences that will affect the economy, the livelihoods of people and the ecological integrity of the Western Cape.
Provincial Minister of Environment, Planning and Economic Development, Tasneem Essop, who will open the seminar on Monday at 8.30, said: "We are already starting to experience the impacts of Climate Change in the Western Cape. Water, fire and energy have been critical issues affecting the Province.
We have clearly seen the impact Climate Change can have on our communities, economy, job creation and our efforts to alleviate poverty.
As a department we need to provide leadership in developing a strategy and action plan that can address adaptation and mitigation measures against the impact of Climate Change. This seminar will provide a critical basis for the Western Cape Government to develop such an action plan and strategy."
The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) has developed a National Climate Change Strategy, and currently has an initiative to draft a National Climate Change Action Plan to give effect to the national strategy.
The Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning's recently commissioned report; "A Status Quo, Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment of the Physical and Socio-Economic Effects of Climate Change in the Western Cape" lays out possible scenarios for climate change and follows with an assessment of the impacts and vulnerabilities because of the projected changes.
A significant next step is to prioritise future climate change risks and to decide what adaptation measures taken now will have the most impact in the future in avoiding or coping with the potentially negative effects of the projected climate change in the Western Cape. The ability to assess these and implement them successfully will facilitate the achievement of a sustainable future in this Province. It is the intention of the Department to commission a Provincial Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan. Provincial and local government will be obliged to give effect to appropriate actions within their sphere of influence.
The first day of the seminar is intended to give delegates an introduction to climate change by South African experts in different disciplines.
The second day will be a series of workshops where experts will be asked to prioritise climate change risks and identify options and responsibilities for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and identify gaps and opportunities. The outcomes of the workshop sessions will be used to inform the terms of reference (TOR) for the drafting of a 'Western Cape Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan'.
The target audience for the seminar includes: Provincial and municipal planners; policy and decision makers; Environmental; Land use; Agricultural; Water and other resources; Energy; Disaster Management authorities; Private sector EIA and planning practitioners; Public health practitioners; Climate Change; Biodiversity and Sustainable livelihoods researchers; climate change specialists; Business; Agriculture and scientists.
For more information please contact Ms Dipolelo Elford at 021 483 2723 or 084 656 4291.
For media enquiries, please contact Ms Mureda Hougaard at 0839425522.
Media Liaison Officer to Tasneem Essop
Provincial Minister: Environment, Planning and Economic Development
Tel : (021) 483 3915 or 2769
Fax : (021) 483 6081