ENVIRONMENT: New System Monitors Climate Change
Recent Western Cape Business News
Western Cape municipalities and government departments, as well as property developers and others in the private sector, will soon be able to measure how effectively they are dealing with the impact of climate change.
A monitoring and evaluation system has been developed to establish an overall benchmark, and to measure annual progress in implementing a climate change strategy. It is considered a major step forward in implementing the Western Cape Climate Change Response Strategy and Action Plan and comes five years after a first phase study was undertaken to understand the complexity and the effects of climate change on the Western Cape and its residents.
The proposed monitoring and evaluation system has numerous indicators for each of four key outcome areas – water, land, carbon footprint mitigation, and research and monitoring. It will also ensure that climate change issues are included in key government service delivery programmes.
“Recent crisis events in the Western Cape such as water shortages have all served to heighten awareness of potential impacts of climate change,” said Sheila Imrie, senior hydrogeologist at earth sciences consultancy Umvoto Africa, which facilitated the development of the system for the province’s Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning.
“The proposed system should provide clear signals to provincial departments, municipalities, civil society and the private sector regarding the provincial government’s focus on climate change response, sustainable development, environmental management and conservation imperatives.”
She said the system, and its measurement indicators, should not be seen as “a mechanical process that generates a simple good/average/bad result.” It should rather be “a mechanism that encourages engagement and stimulates critical assessment of policies and practices.”
The report preparation included in-depth research and interviews plus workshops in Cape Town in February and April. These were attended by departmental directors and management from numerous government fields such as water, transport, planning, housing and environmental affairs.
The system became officially operational in May. A system review is planned later in the year and relevant data collation and analysis will take place annually.
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