*Environmental Law & Justice Watch*
Tuesday 15 January 2019
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*SA commits to green economy switch at key conference*
Partnerships, frameworks and taking scientific evidence into consideration are crucial to the development of a green economy in SA, delegates at a Cape Town conference heard last week, reports *Legalbrief*. SA’s vision of transitioning towards a green economy was embraced at the highest political level, said Minister of Environmental Affairs Nomvula Mokonyane. A report in*The Star* notes that she gave the key address at the opening of the 3rd Partnership for Action on the Green Economy (Page) Ministerial Conference at the Cape Town International Convention Centre last week. *Mokonyane said the two-day conference would focus on advancing inclusive and sustainable economies in robust discussions that addressed practical solutions and reversed the inequalities of the past.* Page was launched in 2013 as a response to the call at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) to support countries wishing to embark on greener and more inclusive growth trajectories. About 500 delegates, including 17 Ministers or Deputy Ministers of Environment, Finance, Business, Science and Technology and Development, discussed tools and strategies for shaping greener economies. Parallel sessions with high-level speakers tackled topics on green finance, strategies and policies for a green economy, social and economic inclusion, and sustainable consumption and production and the circular economy.
Full report in The Star (subscription needed)
*There were only a few years left for SA to implement practical solutions for a green economy, Mokonyane said*. According to a *Fin24* report, she played a central part in the ministerial conference hosted by The Green Economic Coalition and The Green Knowledge Platform in Cape Town. One of the key questions asked at the conference was whether the green economy is at a turning point. *Mokonyane said the SA Government was implementing green economic policies.* Sectors like transport and agriculture are some of the key sectors in this regard. ‘Partnerships are very important, so that there is one message about the green economy, despite there being many voices,’ she said. She said she hoped the conference would create greater commitment for action, solutions and, importantly, financing for creating a green economy and reaching targets set. Mokonyane emphasised that any decisions or actions must be based on scientific evidence. Nikhil Seth, executive director of the UN Institute for training and research, also emphasised, like Mokonyane, that decisions must be made based on evidence. ‘Data and statistics must influence how we correct what we have been doing wrong and we must use statistics to change policies,’ said Seth.
Full Fin24 report
*Frameworks were key to promoting a green economy, a panellist emphasised.* Rita Schwarzelür-Sutter, parliamentary state secretary in the Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in Germany, *said it was important to invest in the right sectors and that both private and public investments were to play an important role.*A *Fin24* report notes that she emphasised the importance of creating the right frameworks for implementation of the green economy. ‘The window of opportunity for transformation to a green economy is not so long anymore. There is no more room for excuses,’ she cautioned.
Full Fin24 report
*International Labour Organisation Director-general Guy Ryder said the organisation was proud to celebrate the start of its centenary year with the Page conference,* *The Mercury *reports. ‘Page responds to very important and pressing international ambitions that we all share. It provides processes and interventions to tackle three dimensions of sustainability. *It** makes it possible for us to say we can sustain decent jobs, sustain improved living standards, while at the same time protecting the planet*,’ Ryder said. Finland’s Minister of Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen said the conference was successful in bringing together the different expertise in sustainable development. ‘We need the world governments to show leadership and engagement of green and inclusive economic policies and methods. Page is a great example of successful partnership between the northern and southern hemispheres,’ he said.
Full report in The Mercury (subscription needed)
*Conference delegates were reminded that global investors backed by trillions of dollars are emerging as a new force pushing companies and governments to tackle climate change.* So writes Melanie Gosling in an analysis on the *Daily Maverick* site. ‘The move to a low carbon economy is underway, but the big question is: Will the transition from the polluting, carbon-intensive “brown economy” to the cleaner, low-carbon “green economy” be fast enough and big enough to keep the world below a 2°C average global temperature increase?’ she asks. ‘Discussion around this question was a theme at the 2019 Partnership for Action on Green Economy Ministerial Conference in Cape Town, *where about 500 local and international delegates debated how to advance to an inclusive and sustainable economy,’* explains Gosling. ‘There was recognition at the conference of the emerging role of investors in trying to move governments and business in a low carbon direction, but also recognition that the transition would not be realised if left up to the market alone,’ she writes. Elliott Harris, UN Chief Economist and assistant secretary-general for economic development, said the move was slow, given that the green economy offered so many business opportunities.
Full Daily Maverick analysis