South Africa Discusses the Future of Green Jobs

South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs as custodians of the Green Fund, hosted the National Green Jobs Dialogue in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) last week. The Green Jobs Dialogue, attended by environmentalists, economists, planners and scientists, as well as stakeholders from COSATU, sector government departments, youth organisations, and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), aimed to provide a platform for further discussion, dissemination on best practices and information exchange on the concept of Green Jobs.

Green Jobs Dialogue

In his opening remarks, Deputy Director General of Environmental Advisory Services, Alf Wills,  reflected on the 12 key commitments that the government and social partners had made in the Green Economy Accord it signed on 17 November 2011, with the overarching goal of creating a minimum of 300 000 jobs by 2020.

“South Africa’s short, medium and long-term vision is to contribute towards an environmentally sustainable, climate-change resilient, low-carbon economy and just society as outlined in the Cabinet approved National Strategy for Sustainable Development and Action plan to 2014, Green Economy Accord, New Growth Path to 2020 and National Development Plan vision 2030 demonstrated emergence to adopt smart developmental approach. The vision is also supported by various sets of sector policies and reports in consideration of the strategic sector for economic growth and to deal with poverty and unemployment amongst others,” said Alf Willis.

The 12 commitment areas which were identified in the Green Economy Accord include:

  • Commitment 1: Rollout of Solar Water Heaters – government commits to a target of ensuring the installation of 1 million solar water heaters at household level by 2014. Business commits to working with government to develop, establish and then publicise a sustainable funding plan to support the installation of 1 million SWH systems.
  • Commitment 2: Investment in The Green Economy – the parties to this accord recognise that new sources of funding and finance will need to be developed and tapped to ensure that green economy investment levels are rapidly improved. Both public and private sector funding will be required.
  • Commitment 3: Rollout of Renewable Energy – government commits to the procurement of renewable energy as part of the plan to expand the energy-generation capacity of the country to this end, government will secure commitments for the supply of 3 725 Mw of renewable energy by 2016 as a first step to realising the goals for renewable energy under the Integrated resource plan 2010-2030.
  • Commitment 4: Energy Efficiency – energy efficiency supports a number of key government objectives, including: enhancing business competitiveness; strengthening energy security; creating jobs; reducing the economy’s energy-intensity and transitioning to a lower carbon economy; and improving environmental quality.
  • Commitment 5: Waste Recycling, Re-Use and Recovery – a range of industries are engaged in a variety of activities to recycle, re-use or recover waste. These activities can be broadly divided into those dealing with post-consumer waste and those dealing with waste generated during the production process.
  • Commitment 6: Biofuels – the production of biofuels for mandatory blending in the petrol and diesel national fuel pool can contribute to lower carbon-emissions, greater fuel-supply security and significant job-creation in the growing of feed-stocks that do not compete with local food needs.
  • Commitment 7: Clean-Coal Initiatives – the coal resources available in South Africa are massive and need to be exploited in a manner that recognises the damage done by greenhouse gas emission associated with coal exploitation. Government has established a Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) which seeks to develop clean coal technologies applicable to power generation, through international collaboration with countries facing similar coal development challenges.
  • Commitment 8: Retrofitting – one of the opportunities to green the economy is to identify ways to improve the energy-efficiency of workplaces, homes and power stations. The addition of new technologies and methods to existing systems and buildings are referred to as retrofitting.
  • Commitment 9: Reducing Carbon-Emission on our Roads – all parties to this accord commit to promote among South Africans the value and importance of public transport as a means, among other advantages, of reducing carbon-emissions.
  • Commitment 10:  Electrification of Poor Communities and Reduction of Fossil-Fuel Open Fire Cooking and Heating – government recognises that at least 3 million households still rely on traditional energy carriers like candles and firewood, leading to continued environmental degradation particularly in rural areas and in urban informal settlements.
  • Commitment 11: Economic Development in the Green Economy: Promotion of Localisation, Youth Employment, Cooperatives and Skills Development – the parties to this accord recognise the critical importance of localisation strategies to promote industrial manufacture of components, inputs and technologies in South Africa. This should include providing incentives, industrial funding as well as conditionalities in Publicly-supported programmes.
  • Commitment 12: Cooperation around the United Nations Cop 17 and its Follow-up – South Africa hosted the United Nations Cop 17 talks on climate change and all parties will work closely with government during and after the Conference to realise the success of the work and agenda of Cop 17.

Among the key deliverables emerging from the Dialogue was the commitment to organise a training workshop on the concept of the Green Jobs by DEA in partnership with (ILO). The training will target policy makers within government. 

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