Friday, July 17, 2009

Priorities for Environmental Expenditure

The South African government has released the Medium Term Strategic Framework
a framework to guide government's programme in the electoral period 2009-2014. This is what the report has to say on the environment:

The main objective of government is to encourage sustainable resource management and use by focusing on various interventions including the diversification of the energy mix in pursuance of renewable energy alternatives and promotion of energy efficiency; adopting waste reduction practices by encouraging the re-use of waste outputs as productive inputs; enforcing zero tolerance approach to illegal and unsustainable exploitation of resources; improving air and atmospheric quality for health and well being of citizens; supporting local and sustainable food production; sustainable water use and preserving quality of drinking water and enhancing biodiversity and the preservation of natural habitats.

The focus is on energy efficiency and renewables, waste, exploitation of natural resources, air quality and health, water use and quality, biodiversity and natural habitats. No specifics, such as targets, timeframes and allocations are mentioned. The report does include a list of programmes, but do not appear conclusive:

Establishing a National framework response on climate change mitigation and adaptation whilst maintaining our reputation as a global player

A common system for environmental impact management across government in developing the Environmental Impact Management Strategy that will ensure improved efficiency and effectiveness

Implementing the Water for Growth and Development strategy: strengthening institutional capacity for water management so that water scarcity is not exacerbated by ineffectual management, and finding the right mix of mechanisms to effect change in behaviour including regulatory, self-regulatory, market-based instruments and awareness and education. Projects such as the Mokolo River Augumentation Project and the Lower Sunday’s river aimed at improving water availability and irrigation especially for poor farmers and providing Previously Disadvantaged Users access to user rights will continue

Finalise a policy process on market-based instruments such as taxes, charges and incentives that can be used to promote environmental protection and biodiversity conservation

Implementation of the National Framework for Sustainable Development to ensure that the country follows a sustainable development trajectory for now and into the future

Promote innovation and diversification towards alternative production of resources

To pursue and explore further the concept of Green Jobs including scaling up labour intensive natural resources management practices that contribute to decent work and livelihood opportunities. In particular projects and industries are being pursued in the fields of marine aquaculture development, wildlife management, waste services and ecosystems rehabilitation programmes

Efforts to meet the energy efficiency target of 12% by 2015 and renewable energy target of 10 0 GWh by 2013, will be enhanced by creating an enabling environment for renewable energy, through for example implementing the renewable energy feed-in tariff and building the local renewable energy manufacturing capacity

Effectively managing and allocating the radio frequency spectrum, which is a finite and scarce national resource, prioritising the allocation of the spectrum for developmental purposes.

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