South Africa is signatory to a range of international treaties with relevance to agriculture and the environment. Some of the international treaties are:
- Agenda 21 – Rio Convention (Chapter 14: Promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development; Chapter 32: Strengthening the role of farmers)
- Convention on Biological Diversity
- World Heritage Convention: South Africa's World Heritage Convention Act (1999)
- Kyoto Protocol and South Africa’s Role
The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement between countries/parties that is linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The linked parties commit to reduce their Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by setting binding targets.One of the main distinctions between the Protocol and Convention is that the Convention encouraged industrialised countries to reduce/stabilise their GHG emissions, while the Protocol commits them to targets.
The protocol was adopted in December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. Binding targets were set for industrialised countries to reduce their GHG emissions by at least 5% in the period 2008 – 2012, compared to the levels in 1990. During the second commitment period, from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2020, parties commit to reduce GHG emissions by at least 18% below 1990 levels.
SA also agreed to the Kyoto Protocol in 2002 as a developing country and was not obliged to the more demanding commitments.
- Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
- Agenda 2063
- Phyto-Sanitary Convention for Africa
- African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
- Convention for the Establishment of the African Centre for Fertilizer Development
COP 15 in Copenhagen (2009)
Conference of Parties (COP) 15 was held in Copenhagen, Denmark on 18 December 2009. The Copenhagen Accord was established - it is not legally binding like the Kyoto Protocol, but approves the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol. South Africa and 113 other parties agreed to the Accord. The Accord does not contain commitments for reducing GHG, but they do recognise the importance of keeping temperatures from rising above 2°C. South Africa committed to reduce its carbon emissions by 34% in 2020 and 42% by 2025. In the short to medium term SA will still use fossil fuels, but then gradually shift to non-fossil fuels to produce energy in the long term. In other words, South Africa’s carbon emissions will peak in 2020 to 2025 following a plateau for a decade and then declining thereafter.
Visit site for more info:
UNFCCC, COP 15, viewed at 17 November 2014, from http://unfccc.int/meetings/copenhagen_dec_2009/session/6262.php
COP 16 Outcomes in Cancun
COP 16 was held in Cancun, Mexico from 29 November to 10 December 2010. It called on developing countries to put plans in place to reduce their GHG emissions and on rich developed countries to reduce GHG emissions as agreed upon in Copenhagen. The Cancun Agreements imported the essential elements of the Copenhagen Accord into the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). These elements include the mitigation targets and actions pledged under the Accord, marking the first time that all major players pledged actions under the UNFCCC since its inception. The Agreements also take initial steps to implement the operational elements of the Accord, including a new Green Climate Fund for developing countries and a system of “international consultations and analysis” to help verify countries’ actions.
Full article and other information can be found at the links below:
UNFCCC, COP16, viewed 17 November 2014 from http://unfccc.int/meetings/cancun_nov_2010/session/6254.php
COP 17 in Durban
South Africa was the host of the COP 17 in 2011, Durban. The United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2011 was a turning point. Governments saw the need to establish a blueprint for the way forward to deal with climate change after 2020. The challenge is to push climate action forward as fast as possible, inside and outside the climate change negotiations. The reality is that there is a gap between current national and international actions and intentions to reduce GHG emissions.
Reference & more information:
UNFCCC, COP17, viewed at 17 November 2014 from http://unfccc.int/meetings/durban_nov_2011/session/6294.php
- NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) is a strategic framework for pan-Africa socio-economic development to address challenges of poverty and international marginalization. CAADP (Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme), a programme of NEPAD is Africa owned and led to boost Agricultural productivity in Africa. CAADP is a programme of NEPAD.