Photo: Tessa Oliver, Project Coordinator unless noted as Working on Fire, Southern Cape Fire Protection Association, @SullivanPhotographyZA

South Africa

National Focal Point

Department of Environmental Affairs

National Strategic Documents and Timeframe

  • NDC: 2020 – 2030
  • National Development Plan (2012)
  • National Climate Change Response Policy (2011)
  • National Sustainable Development Strategy
  • Integrated Energy and Electricity Plans
  • Industrial Policy Action Plans
  • New Growth Path
  • National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Plan (in development)

Priorities and Needs

The NDC provides that, along with other developing countries, South Africa is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, particularly in respect of water and food security, as well as impacts on health, human settlements, and infrastructure and ecosystem services.

Current and Planned Adaptation Efforts

South Africa’s NDC sets out six adaptation goals, their assumptions/methodologies, and the investment required between 2020 and 2030:

  1. Develop a National Adaptation Plan, and begin operationalisation as part of implementing the NCCRP for the period from 2020 to 2025 and for the period 2025 to 2030
  2. Take into account climate considerations in national development, sub-national and sector policy frameworks for the period 2020 to 2030
  3. Build the necessary institutional capacity for climate change response planning and implementation for the period 2020 to 2030
  4. Develop an early warning, vulnerability and adaptation monitoring system for key climate vulnerable sectors and geographic areas for the period 2020 to 2030, and reporting in terms of the National Adaptation Plan with rolling five-year implementation periods
  5. Development of a vulnerability assessment and adaptation needs framework by 2020 to support a continuous presentation of adaptation needs
  6. Communication of past investments in adaptation for education and awareness as well as for international recognition

Synergies with Disaster Risk Reduction Efforts

The NDC provides that South Africa aims to develop a vulnerability assessment and adaptation needs framework by 2020 to support a continuous presentation of adaptation needs.

Requirements for Additional Planning, Financial and Technical Capacities

South Africa’s NDC comprises indicative scales of finance and investment required for both adaptation and mitigation, based on analyses of specific sectors and initiatives. It provides that since 2010 South Africa has invested in adaptation, with an increasing national capacity building expenditure over time from US$0.28 million in 2010 to US$1.2 million in 2015 per year. The NDC outlines some of the key programmes that will have to be scaled up further, which include:

  • Working for Water (WfW) and Working on Fire estimated at US$1.2 bn per year.
  • Working on Wetlands estimated at US$0.12 bn per year.
  • Water Conservation and Demand Management estimated at US$5.3 bn per year.
  • Land restoration estimated at US$0.07 bn per year.

Analysis of the incremental costs of mitigation actions indicates that significant finance and investment will be required in the long-term.

The NDC notes that uncertainties exist in the adaptation methodology used to estimate costs, and highlights that these methodologies can be further improved and will benefit from exchanges with others using similar methodologies.