Flemish Government Commits R41 million for South Africa’s Transition to a Green Economy

  • The Flemish Government has committed 2.4 million Euro (approx. R41m) to a project aiming to strengthen the adaptation capacity for a green and resilient economy in South Africa.

The project was designed in consultation with national counterparts in South Africa, including the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), as well as industry-facing national agencies such as the National Cleaner Production Centre South Africa (NCPC-SA) and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). The funding was approved in response to a proposal by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). UNIDO will also be the international implementer of the project.

The project will focus on the private sector, including individual enterprises as well as sectoral organizations and selected Special Economic Zones, and will address the barriers that are currently hampering an accelerated adoption of measures and technologies on climate adaptation. In practice this will entail to building capacity to adapt, renew, re-organize and develop desirable pathways and more sustainable practices to help industries better prepare for future climate change impacts.

It will be implemented in collaboration with national entities of key government departments, including the NCPC-SA and the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA).

Initiatives will include technology upgrades in pilot enterprises to showcase the benefits of a climate-resilience approach in an industrial context, nurturing green innovation potential, and building capacity to mainstream climate action and strengthen the ability to develop and finance resilient capital investment projects in the green economy. Strategic partnerships with academia, industry and umbrella organizations will ensure that climate-resilient approaches are sustained znd scaled up across the economy.

Geraldine Reymenants, General Representative of Flanders in South Africa, highlighted that a clear window of opportunity exists to accelerate the shift to a domestic green economy as the country embarks on a transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable economy.

“It is no longer a question if companies should adapt to climate change, but rather how companies can transition to a green and inclusive economy”, she said. “This means that climate change and environmentally friendly practices should be incorporated in business plans. In partnership with UNIDO, the SA National Cleaner Production Centre and the Technology Innovation Agency, we want to assist the private sector in making the required transition and in capitalizing on the opportunities that are emerging in the green economy.”

She emphasised that the project is strongly aligned with South Africa’s national priorities, and will strengthen and complement the relevant policy initiatives and activities. “South Africa also considers the adaptation component of its Nationally Determined Contribution to be an important contributor to the global response to climate change, and developed various strategic documents to support its vision of a low-emission and climate-resilient development pathway,” she said.

The project will run over three years, and implementation is expected to commence by the second quarter of this year.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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