Press Release

The United Nations in South Africa “Raise the Game for Climate Action” Campaign Launch

29 July 2021

  • The “Raise the Game for Climate Action” launched today in the month of Nelson Mandela International Day, aims to galvanize the support of climate change ‘champions’ across different sectors and geographies to call for an accelerated drive towards a sustainable economy.
Raise the Game for Climate ACTION
Caption: Raise the Game for Climate ACTION
Photo: © UN South Africa & UNEP

The UN in South Africa today launched the “Raise the Game for Climate Action” campaign, with speakers calling on South Africans and the Government to raise their game while also emphasizing the importance of ambition in the country’s commitments to address climate change.

In his remarks on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator in South Africa, Nardos Bekele-Thomas, the Resident Representative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in South Africa, Ayodele Odusola, said, “To achieve a just and equitable transition towards an environmentally sustainable and inclusive economy, there is a need for a well-coordinated and coherent policies, regulated environments, efficient and coordinated disaster response mechanisms.”

The Secretary of the Presidential Climate Change Coordination Commission, Mactavish Makwarela, said that “leaders need to provide clear and unambiguous policy direction and certainty as well as foster partnerships and collaborations in order to publicize  policies and ensure that people are on board from all sectors.”

“The climate action narrative in South Africa and across the entirety of Africa, must urgently graduate from projecting liability to projecting opportunities,” urged Richard Munang, the Africa Regional Climate Change Coordinator at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). For example, he added, “While increasing energy costs are a cause of concern for many, combination of water harvesting and rooftop solar, has been shown to save 30 - 40% in energy costs, and 20 - 30% in water operational costs every year.”

There is widespread understanding that South Africa’s climate goals are not strong enough and will not easily stir the country towards a sustainable and just transition. According to climate change experts and advocates, the pace towards more ambitious commitments needs to be rapidly accelerated. However, the economy is heavily carbon-intensive with the coal industry providing thousands of jobs and powering the economy. This is a concern for unions, businesses, civil society, the Government and local communities and therefore the need for a just transition.

The campaign will focus on different geographies across South Africa facing the biggest threats from climate change and bring individuals, civil society, and SMEs that are already working towards a sustainable economy to the centre of the discussion with local and provincial governments to showcase how the transition is already happening and elevate the calls for ambitious climate goals. We will amplify their voices, share their stories and get communities to lead in defining South Africa’s climate story.

The “Raise the Game for Climate Action” launched today in the month of Nelson Mandela International Day, aims to galvanize the support of climate change ‘champions’ across different sectors and geographies to call for an accelerated drive towards a sustainable economy. At the same time, it also aims to raise awareness of the need for inclusive community engagement in the fight against climate change by showcasing the stories of individuals as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially micro-enterprises in communities that are already leading the way.

Other speakers at the virtual event which was attended by more than 50 participants included Andrew Marquard, the Senior Researcher at African Climate and Development Institute and Pemy Gasela, the Director at the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Environment.

For interviews and media enquiries, please contact Zeenat Abdool, UN South Africa - Associate Public Information Officer, at abdool@un.org or 0827788080

The United Nations in South Africa “Raise the Game for Climate Action” Campaign Launch

Zeenat Abdool

Zeenat Abdool

UNIC
Communications Officer

UN entities involved in this initiative

FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
ILO
International Labor Organization
IOM
International Organization for Migration
OHCHR
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
UNAIDS
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
UNEP
United Nations Environment Programme
UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund
UNHCR
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund
UNIDO
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
UNODC
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
WFP
World Food Programme
WHO
World Health Organization