DBSA Vulindlela Conference Centre, Midrand, South Africa
13-14 June 2017
Aim of the conference
Context for conference
In South Africa, the need to respond to sustainability challenges and seek opportunities in the transition to sustainable economic development can be traced back to the 1996 Constitution and the 1998 National Environmental Management Act (NEMA). Sustainability issues, primarily climate change, have since been progressively integrated into policy. The 2011 National Strategy for Sustainable Development (NSSD), the 2011 National Climate Change Response White Paper, Chapter 5 within the National Development Plan (NDP) and the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) outline the need to restructure the economy to promote industrialisation and move towards a low-carbon and pro-employment development path.
Developing strategic and coherent sustainable growth strategies that consider the linkages between sustainability, notably climate change, and industrialisation requires significant further research and analysis. Moving towards a sustainable economy requires reflecting on the country’s path dependency in terms of economic structure and energy mix, and the existence of high-carbon emitting and energy-intensive industry.
Tackling sustainability challenges in South Africa requires, among other things, increased use of alternative energy sources, improved resource efficiencies, new technologies to reduce carbon emissions and environmental damage, and new socio-economic thinking. A sustainable future depends on financing these measures (including incentives), procurement procedures, localising technologies, and carbon offset processes. Taxes and penalties imposed on industry and users are also crucial considerations.
Understanding the challenges, trade-offs and pathways associated with implementing industrial policies aligned to sustainable development goals is needed. Furthermore, sustainability policies need to consider their interaction with socio-economic challenges to ensure that the impact of climate change and other environmental issues does not perpetuate and exacerbate inequitable outcomes. Furthermore, local industries, primarily the agriculture sector and the associated agro-processing industry, stand to be severely affected by climate change, with ripple effects on food security, jobs and industrial capacity.