CAPE TOWN– South Africa has a number of initiatives aimed at fostering climate change adaptation and reducing the risk and vulnerability of South Africans, says the Department of

Environmental Affairs acting deputy director-general for Climate Change and Air Quality, Tlou Ramaru.

One of the notable projects yielding results is the one being undertaken with the support of the department, focusing on building resilience in the Greater uMngeni Catchment area in KwaZulu-Natal province, added Ramaru when addressing the Adaption Futures Conference in Cape Town on Tuesday.

The project produces early warning systems in support of local communities and small-scale farmers to inform them about climate-proof settlements (built and ecological infrastructure), settlement planning and climate resilient agriculture, he said.

The department has also developed the Long Term Adaptation Scenarios Flagship Research Programme (LTAS) aimed at developing national and sub-national adaptation scenarios for South Africa under plausible future climate conditions and development pathways.

This is a complex research work required for the projection of climate change impacts for key sectors, and an evaluation of their socio-economic implications in the context of the development aspirations of these sectors, Ramaru said.

South Africa has also developed the National Framework on Climate Services to enable better management of the risks of climate variability and change at all levels. The framework incorporates science-based climate information and prediction services into planning, policy and practice.

The nature of the National Framework on Climate Services requires an interface with different stakeholders within the various levels of government, and outside government. Therefore, successful implementation of the National Framework on Climate Services requires a well-coordinated structure with good governance to enhance the country’s capability to provide integrated climate services to all relevant users in a manner that empowers them to be climate resilient, Ramaru said.

Furthermore, the department has the Adaption Fund programmes, which are implemented by the South African National Biodiversity Institutes. The programmes deal with drought resilient agriculture, rain water harvesting, climate smart agriculture, sustainable livelihoods, ecosystem based adaptation and climate proofing.

The draft National Climate Change Bill has been developed to provide for the effective management of inevitable climate change impacts through enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change to enable South Africa to build social, economic, and environmental resilience and an adequate national adaptation response in the context of the global climate change response.