Statement by UNDP Resident Representative a.i. Mr. Walid Badawi at the Switch Africa Green Meeting Launch Ceremony

Dec 15, 2015

Programme Director,

Mr. Tlou Ramaru, Chief Policy Adviser, Sustainable Development, representing the honourable Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa,

Excellency, the Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union, Mr. Marcus Cornaro,

Distinguished representatives from different government departments,

Other representatives from the Delegation of the European Union,

Mr. Rapolo, Director of the National Cleaner Production Center,

Representatives from the private sector,

My UN agency colleagues in UNEP and UNOPS,

Ladies and gentlemen,

All protocols observed.

Good morning, it is a sincere privilege for UNDP to be here with you to launch this important initiative on the SWITCH Africa Green Programme, together with our partners in the Department of Environmental Affairs, the European Union, UNEP and UNOPS..

The specific purpose of today’s meeting is to officially recognise the grantees for their successful nomination as SWITCH Africa Green’s beneficiaries for the implementation of green economy programmes in South Africa. On behalf of UNDP congratulations to all the beneficiaries!

Let me also express my heartfelt gratitude to:

The Government of South Africa, particularly, the Department of Environmental Affairs for the many years of solid partnership and cooperation. UNDP South Africa has enjoyed a close and fruitful collaboration with the Department of Environmental Affairs, and a host of other key government departments including the Department of Energy, SANBI, and SANPARKS, among others, in implementing our large GEF portfolio valued at more than $50 million in budgets under implementation in 2014.

The European Union for its generous contribution to this and other UN and UNDP Programmes around the world. The EC is the largest multilateral contributor to UNDP.  Between 2009 and 2014, the UNDP–EU partnership supported 115 countries through 444 signed contracts, for a total EC contribution of about EURO 1.8 billion. We look forward to continued cooperation with the EU here and elsewhere.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This meeting today could not have been more opportune, as it is taking place against the backdrop of what has been a milestone year for development. 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the UN but it also witnessed three important summits between July and December which have charted a development trajectory for the next fifteen years starting with the adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, followed by the SDGs and just this weekend, the conclusion of COP21 and the adoption of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The Ambassador and Mr. Ramaru already highlighted the specific SDGs that bear reference here and it is very encouraging to see the strong reference to the SDGs already which bodes well for their implementation as compared to the MDGs which had a longer gestation period.

After several years of intense negotiations, 196 Parties to the Convention adopted the Paris Agreement on the 12th of December 2015. This is a historic moment in our lifetime as for the first time, all nations have agreed on a common cause based on their historic, current, and future responsibilities on Climate Change. Africa has immensely helped to shape such an agreement and has come together to voice its vulnerability to climate change and strong need for the Paris Agreement to be ambitious and hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius… and to pursue efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius, balanced between mitigation and adaptation, while at the same time pushing for more financing, differentiation of responsibilities and the crucial need for capacity development and technology transfer.

South Africa played a crucial role in this regard, having ably led the Group of 77 and China at the UN throughout these various global processes speaking on behalf of more than two-thirds of the organization’s membership on these critical processes.

The SWITCH Africa Green programme, which follows from successful implementation of a similar programme in Asia, is therefore a fitting initiative to translate the global ambitions of COP 21 into practice. The programme aims to support 6 countries in Africa to achieve sustainable development by transitioning towards an inclusive green economy, through sustainable consumption and production patterns, while generating growth, creating decent jobs and reducing poverty.

The specific objective is to support the development of green businesses and eco-entrepreneurship and use of SCP practices by having in place (i) Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and business service providers that are better equipped to seize opportunities for green business development, ii) better informed public and private consumers, and (iii) enabling conditions in the form of clear policies, sound regulatory frameworks, incentive structures, tax and other fiscal and market-based instruments influencing key sector(s) in the 6 African countries.

Following country level stocktaking and consultation with key stakeholders, South Africa’s designated priority sectors to be addressed under the programme, include Agriculture, Integrated Waste Management and Manufacturing. These have been found to have the highest potential for addressing the government’s priorities of job creation, poverty eradication and the imperative to transition to a green economy through the promotion of resource efficiency and cleaner production mechanisms.

As one of the world’s largest brokers of climate change grants for developing countries, let me reiterate UNDP’s strong commitment to working with you and other partners in the successful implementation of this programme but also to start working on pre-2020 implementation of the Paris Agreement.

In this regard, UNDP Africa intends to start engaging with Governments and Regional bodies on various issues related to low emission and scaling up finance for climate change through GCF and GEF support to INDC/NDCs implementation, supporting Africa Adaptation and Loss and Damage Initiative as well as Capacity Development and Technology Transfer.

In closing, let me once again congratulate all the grantees and to wish them well in their efforts to transition to sustainable consumption and production practices which hold the promise to truly transform South Africa into a low carbon climate resilient economy.

Thank you and I wish you all what I am sure must be a well deserved and earned break! Happy holidays!