'The State of our environment should remain under a watchful eye' Government release the 2006 Environment Outlook - State of the Environment Report and urges that more work needs to be done
28 June 2007
The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism today made public key and comprehensive findings arising out of the South Africa's 2nd National State of Environment Report. The first national State of the Environment Report was released in 1999 and work on the second report started at the end of 2004 and completed in September 2006 , followed by intensive intergovernmental consultation of how best to respond to its findings. The 2006 report reports consists of a comprehensive hard copy report of more than 800 pages of text and statistics, an Executive Summary detailing the key findings , and overview of the current state in a Internet version and a Youth State of the Environment report.
In responding to the key findings Ms Pam Yako, Director-General for the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism said, "government acknowledges and takes note of the report and expresses its appreciation to the individuals and organisations who contributed to the report. Even though the report was commissioned by government, the views expressed in the report are not necessarily those of government and do not report only on government performance as it relates to the environment."
"Whilst the report outlined a general decline in the state of the environment, in line with various other assessments, we are confident that our response strategy to these issues will continue to ensure that our country is a leader in sound environmental management and sustainable resource use," Yako said. Yako added that the lengthy process undertaken to develop the state of the environment report, over more than two and a half years, also means that there have been major developments in related areas, which are not reflected in the report, particularly cross-cutting issues in the social sector and that this represents a missed opportunity to provide a much more sustainability outlook.
"It is acknowledged that responding to human vulnerability arising from the state of the environment in South Africa requires both current policy review and development but most importantly the need to move with speed in adopting a National Framework for Sustainable Development, Empowering the environmental management and enforcement agencies and bringing environmental sustainability principles into the mainstream of all aspects of governance, planning, decision-making and operation, and, in broad terms, into all of human behaviour, which work is at an advanced stage."
Said Yako, "The government's response as outlined clearly demonstrates that government has put in place various programmes, legislative instruments and initiatives which includes the various social partners to appropriately respond to any emerging issues that may affect the environment and limit its capacity to support growth and development."
Pam Yako announced that the department will immediately embark on a project to continuously update the report and all provinces will by June 2008 release the various provincial states of Environment Reports and ensure that those are integrated in the main framework for government monitoring and evaluation.
She further added that the report is now available for the public to take stock of where we are and adopt sustainable ways of consumption and production for the benefit of future generations. For a full version of the report and the comprehensive government response visit http://www.deat.gov.za.
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