Statement by the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Buyelwa Sonjica on the occasion of the signing of Outcome 10 delivery agreement in Kempton Park
30 Sep 2010
Outcome 10: Environmental assets and natural resources that are valued, protected and continually enhanced
We are gathered here for the signing of a service Delivery Agreement for Outcome 10 of the 12 outcomes of the current Government, this agreement serves as a contract between myself and the MECs responsible for the environmental portfolio in the provinces as well as cabinet ministers who are responsible for delivery of a number of elements contained in the delivery agreement. The deliverables identified under this outcome takes its cue from the State of the Nation Address by the President this year wherein he promised that this government will ensure that our environmental assets and natural resources are valued, protected, and continually enhanced.
The involvement of the MECs must be seen in the context of co-operative governance and the environment portfolio is a concurrent function that is shared with the provinces, I must highlight at this point that the MECs are also signing for the deliverables of all municipalities within their provinces. For effective realisation of the deliverables of this agreement, it is important that we involve our provincial and local government counterparts as well as our various public entities and agencies. The monitoring and coordination of implementation of deliverables as outlined in the delivery agreement is coordinated through the Intergovernmental Relations structures like MINMEC(Minister’s meeting with the MECs), Economic Sectors and Employment Cluster andintergovernmental mechanism extended to include key departments, public entities and other partners that contribute to the achievement of the outputs.
Outcome 10 Delivery Agreement was presented to the Cabinet Lekgotla of the 20 - 21 July 2010 and was referred back for broader consultation and refinement prior to signing.As directed by Cabinet Lekgotla, the Technical Implementation Forum was convened on the 26th of August and 10th of September 2010 to finalise the Outcome 10 details with an action plan with clear timeframes for all activities and clearly identified roles and responsibilities for all institutions involved.
Section 24 of the South African Constitution stipulates that all South Africans have a right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being and to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations.
The Constitution compels us to take reasonable steps to prevent pollution and ecological degradation, promote conservation and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources.
South Africa’s environment is deteriorating and we are not immune to the global environmental crisis. Our country faces a number of current and emerging issues related to climate change, requiring intensive mobilisation to effectively respond to these challenges. Sustainable development and efforts to mitigate climate change and/or adapt to its impacts, in general, have a mutually beneficial relationship.
Efforts to address climate change have co-benefits that contribute to sustainable development goals. Due to the nature of its impacts on environmental, social and economic systems Climate Change can no longer be regarded as an environmental challenge but rather a sustainable development challenge. We must work together to ensure that our response strategy also takes cognisance of the new growth opportunity we are presented with.
Although South Africa makes up just 2% of the global land area it is home to almost 10% of the world’s plants and 7% of reptiles, birds and mammals. Sadly much of our terrestrial ecosystems and over 80 percent of our river systems are threatened.
We rank among the world’s 20 biggest greenhouse gas emitters and we are the highest emitter within the African Continent. Unaddressed, these issues could seriously undermine South Africa’s ability to pursue a sustainable development path and our ability to address developmental challenges. Spatial planning and spatial development decisions are still fragmented and there is still a need to address competing land uses and ensure that industry and infrastructure development programmes facilitate the long term sustainability of natural systems and the environment.
As a sector, we have agreed to address four critical problems in order to achieve the set outcome, these are:
- Our water is unsustainably used and the quality and quantity of water resources is in decline;
- Urgent need to reduce green house gas emissions, prepare strategies to cope with projected climate change impacts and reverse the rising trend in relation to the release of pollutants into theatmosphere;
- Ensure proper and better management of our environment for social and economic sustainability by focusing on systematic open space, planning and waste management in order to improvethe quality of human settlements and the environment.
- Ensure protection of our biodiversity and ecosystem services.
I would now like to invite the Director-General, Ms Nosipho Ngcaba to give us an in-depth presentation on the key activities outputs and measures that would make us achieve this outcome.
To access the presentation and further information on Outcome 10, go to http://www.environment.gov.za/HotIssues/2010/wod/wodfinal.html.
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Cell: 083 490 2871
Issued by: Department of Environmental Affairs
30 Sep 2010
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