In a ground-breaking development, and as part of the ongoing commitment of the Western Cape Government to bolster and ensure a strong climate-resilient future for the province, the Western Cape Departments of Agriculture and of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, yesterday, 7 November 2023, signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the School for Climate Studies of Stellenbosch University.
The School for Climate Studies, which was launched in 2021, creates a transdisciplinary capacity to combine the climate-related knowledge systems of its faculties, the public sector’s climate policies and initiatives, the private sector’s climate redress and innovation capacities and the social impact mission of the university in both academic and applied ways – all in support of the just transition to a climate-resilient society and a sustainable, low-carbon economy.
According to Ministers Ivan Meyer and Anton Bredell, co-leaders of Climate Change governance in the Western Cape, the signing of this agreement is testimony to the Western Cape government’s drive towards climate change resilience.
Minister Meyer said, “Climate change modelling shows that annual temperatures are rising, and the number of colder days will decrease. Droughts, floods and heat waves will become more regular, and these trends highlight the need for a coordinated response from government, tertiary institutions, private sector and the whole of society to mitigate the impact of climate change.”
“The MOA underscores the value of partnerships and collaboration to advance the Western Cape as a leading province in job creation, economic development and capacity building across disciplines. Guided by the Western Cape Climate Change Response Strategy and the SmartAgri plan an effective response to climate change amidst global and local disaster events is now urgent,” continued Minister Meyer.
Minister Bredell highlights that the MOA will provide an enabling platform to pursue local and international research and capacity-building opportunities (including joint projects) to build the climate change knowledge base in the Western Cape.
Minister Bredell commented, “Climate change projections for the Western Cape suggest a likelihood of more frequent and more intense extreme weather events which threatens food security and economic growth in South Africa and the Western Cape. The MOA will enable the exchange of scientific and institutional expertise within the partnership and with global partners to drive a more rapid transition towards climate change adaptation and mitigation and a climate-resilient province”.
At the signing ceremony, Prof Sibusiso Moyo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: of Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, SU said: “The signing of this MOA highlights the important role of the university in the continuous development of the province. Research conducted by the School for Climate Studies will be pivotal in the development and application of climate-related solutions and technologies that address issues on the broader social agenda, which include job creation, skills training, poverty alleviation and inclusivity.”
“The Western Cape Government is looking at climate change’s impact on its three strategic priorities, namely, jobs, safety, dignity and well-being. By doing so, we are mainstreaming climate change in the business of the Western Cape Government. The goal is a green, low-carbon and climate-resilient province by 2050”, concluded Minister Meyer.
Photo: Back – L-R: Anton Bredell (Western Cape Minister of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning); Prof Sibusiso Moyo (Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies) and Minister Ivan Meyer, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture. Front – L-R) Gerhard Gerber (Head of Department, Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning); Prof Louise Warnich, (Dean, Science) and Dr Mogale Sebopetsa, Head of Department, Department of Agriculture).