The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate (IPCC) in its synthesis of the 6th assessment report asserts that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases have caused global warming, with global surface temperature reaching 1.1°C above 1850-1900 in 2011-2020. The report further opines changes in the climate system, and that climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. The changes have led to widespread adverse impacts and related losses and damages to nature and individuals, particularly vulnerable communities.
Limiting warming to 1.5°C and 2°C requires rapid and, in most cases, immediate greenhouse gas emission reductions across all sectors. In the near-term a focus on climate resilient development which integrates adaptation to climate impacts and mitigation of emissions is critical to advancing sustainable development for all. South Africa's updated mitigation targets commit the country’s emission to 398-510 MtCO2e by 2025, and 350-420 MtCO2e by 2030, compared to the 2017 levels of just under 500 MtCO2e.
In respect of climate resilience, the 2019 National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, amongst others, identifies activities to enhance the resilience of vulnerable individuals and communities at risk of impacts such as; those in low-lying river basins, coastal communities, poorly designed informal settlements; climate-proofing physical infrastructure, such as roads and stormwater systems, including through proper planning; designing more compact, connected cities, which includes addressing housing and proximity to jobs; improving public services especially transport, electricity and water and waste services, sanitation waste services.
The Built Environment sector is central to the national response of reducing emissions, waste, and forging climate resilience within the parameters of the Just Transition Framework towards a low-carbon and climate resilient economy published by the Presidential Commission on Climate Change (PCCC) in June 2022.
At the center of the Just Transition Framework is a people-centered approach that addresses equity and justice at its center whilst the transition is expected to address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
The Environmental Sustainability TCF was established by the 6th Term CBE Council resolution in February 2023 with the goal of adhering to section 3(b) of the CBE Act in promoting a sustainable built environment and natural environment.
This was followed by the Sustainability Seminar in April 2023, which identified some of the key interventions including, i) Sustainable Built Environment Roadmap ii) Framework for Collaboration. This Sustainability Indaba builds from the outcomes of the seminar.