21 August 2011

South Africa: Climate Change to Affect Development

Pretoria — Climate change is posing a serious challenge for sustainable development in developing countries, with broad impacts not only on the environment but also on economic and social development, says Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

"Partly due to their lower adaptive capacities, developing countries and people living in poverty, vulnerable groups, and island states are likely to experience significant impacts of climate change South Africa included," she said in a speech prepared to be delivered at a Public Consultation gathering on climate change in Belabela, Limpopo on Sunday.

South Africa will host the United Nations 17th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change or what is referred to as COP 17 in Durban in December.

Molewa said the conference, which is set to attract more than 20 000 people, should be used as a platform to ensure that South Africa and Africa's development is not threatened by the impact of climate change witnessed and experienced all over the world.

"Climate change is not a wild imagination of the few - We see today as one of those spaces we are creating to talk about Climate change how can we adapt and mitigate its impact, without losing jobs and slowing our development," Molewa said.

She said the government's National Climate Change Response Green Paper has proposed several actions which include among others ensuring that all government sectoral climate change response strategies and actions plans include sections on education, awareness and outreach and human resource development.

Also investing in education and awareness programmes in rural areas will enable both subsistence and commercial farmers to understand, respond and adapt to the challenges of climate change, she said.

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