EVERYONE change – a milestone Eastern Cape climate change conference, featuring senior political leaders and climate change experts, is set to start in East London today (Wednesday May 8). The Eastern Cape Climate Change Conference will focus on the strategy document that has been prepared by local role-players, and will look towards the UN’s Cop17 summit, the international climate change indaba in Durban in December.
Speaking to The Herald yesterday, Eastern Cape environmental affairs GM Dr Albert Mfenyana said that while his department is hosting the East London proceedings, “the intention is “mobilisation of collective thought and action”.
“Informed by our Eastern Cape strategy document, the conference will bring intervention projects already underway under (a single) banner.
“Most important about these projects is that they have been mainly initiated by communities, civil society organs, business.... Their selection is informed by criteria like job creation and provincial spread, making them also relevant to the green economy processes South Sfrica is currently focused on.”
Much of the conference proceedings will be aimed at upacking for the first time the EC Climate Change Response Strategy (ECCRS), which sets the tone in its introduction: “The Eastern Cape government recognises that the province is contributing to climate change, while at the same time that it is vulnerable to the effects of climate change.”
The ECCRS goes on to identify five phases aimed at “understanding the issues and context of climate change”.
Two of these phases are likely to spark especial debate – the review of development priorities and strategies “in order to ensure the ECCCRS is informed by these priorities”, and a greenhouse gas inventory, where a preliminary assessment of the Eastern Cape’s greenhouse gas footprint is undertaken.
Phase 2 of the strategy is also likely to attract strong attention. It notes that “green job creation is taking place in both affluent countries and in some of the major developing economies.
“As an illustration, employment in the renewables sector in Germany increased from 66000 to 259100 between 1998 and 2006. (Meanwhile) over 2.3 million jobs world-wide were attributable to the renewable energy sector in 2006, with the greatest number of jobs coming from renewable biomass.”
EC department of economic development and environmental affairs MEC Mcebisi Jonas and Premier Noxolo Kiviet are due to open proceedings at the East London International Convention Centre. The conference is due to finish on Friday.