Wednesday, 22 June 2022 13:06

South Africa’s $8.5 billion climate finance could draw new partners.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The COP President Alok Sharma and a delegation of Ministers from the South African government has welcomed the progress made thus far in advancing the long-term Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP).

Following an engagement between the Conference of the Parties (COP26) President and the Head of the Presidential Climate Finance Task Team, Daniel Mminele, a meeting was held on Tuesday in Pretoria between Sharma and a delegation of seven cabinet members.

Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele; the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor; the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana; the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy; the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan; the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe; and the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel met with Sharma.

In a joint statement, Sharma and the Ministers said the meeting reflected on the progress made since COP26 in advancing the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) as a groundbreaking initiative to enable South Africa’s transition to a low carbon economy and a climate resilient society.

Through the Political Declaration issued in November 2021 to establish this partnership, the United Kingdom together with the European Union, France, Germany, and the United States undertook to mobilise an initial amount of $8.5 billion over the next 3-5 years to support the achievement of South Africa’s ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

"The COP President and Ministers welcomed the progress made thus far in advancing this long-term partnership. They continued discussions on the financing instruments to be provided, with a view to ensuring that the partnership meets the country’s investment needs and aligns with its fiscal framework.

"They discussed ongoing work on a South African-led Investment Plan, which will guide the use of funds. In this context, they noted that as momentum grows and enabling conditions are created, there will be considerable interest from wider sources of finance," the statement read.

The meeting also underlined their shared commitment to a just transition that protects affected workers and communities as a key priority of the partnership, and to supporting opportunities for innovation and quality jobs including in the green hydrogen and electric vehicle sectors.

Progress has been made towards the creation of an enabling policy environment to support South Africa’s NDC, including the tabling of a Climate Change Bill in Parliament; reforms underway in the electricity sector; the finalisation of the Hydrogen Economy Roadmap and the Renewable Energy Masterplan; and the development of a just transition framework through the Presidential Climate Commission.

It further details the steps that have been taken to establish governance and implementation structures for the partnership, including the appointment of an independent technical secretariat led by Joanne Yawitch and the imminent establishment of working groups focusing on the electricity, green hydrogen and transport sectors as well as finance and implementation modalities.

"Finally, it confirms the commitment of the partners to finalise a comprehensive Investment Plan as well as to continue discussions regarding the financing package to enable meaningful progress by COP27,"the statement said.

As committed to in the Political Declaration, the South African Presidential Climate Finance Task Team (PCFTT) and the International Partners Group (IPG) on Tuesday released a detailed six-month update to leaders on the advancement of the Partnership.

The progress update provides an overview of the work currently underway to take forward the partnership as well as key interim milestones leading to COP27 in November 2022.