South Africa: Multi-Stakeholder Forum Convened at Sustainability Week

From Left to Right: Najma Mohamed and Kees van Der Ree (ILO), Devina Naidoo (DEA) and programme facilitator Cecilia Njenga (UNEP) at the PAGE National Forum, 1 June 2016

South Africa, 1 June 2016 - Over fifty participants convened at the National PAGE Forum, a side event held at Sustainability Week which has, since 2012, gathered sustainability professionals in an innovative knowledge sharing event. Under the theme, Advancing the Green Economy through the Sharing of Knowledge and Experience across Disciplines, Sectors, and Markets, Sustainability Week brought together government officials, private sector investors, green enterprises, professionals, researchers, and NGOs to engage on key challenges and solutions to advance South Africa’s green economy transition. In addition to holding its inaugural national forum, PAGE was among the sponsors of Sustainability Week in 2016 and also participated in the exhibition space held during the week.

The National PAGE Forum sought to raise awareness of the PAGE programme in South Africa, and initiate discussions on strategies to improve coordination and collaboration on green economy policy formulation and implementation. The PAGE Forum, which was opened by senior policy advisor of the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), Ms. Devina Naidoo and PAGE Management Board member, Mr. Kees van der Ree, of the International Labour Organization (ILO), assembled key stakeholders from the public, private and civil society sectors with the key intent of introducing the PAGE programme to key national stakeholders.

Panelists at the National Forum discussing the theme, Green Economy in South Africa: Promoting Alignment, Collaboration and Cooperation for Greater Impact

Since March 2015, when South Africa joined PAGE, the country has actively participated in PAGE activities at the global level. In partnership with national government, including the coordinating ministry Department of Environmental Affairs, Economic Development Department, Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Science and Technology, the inception phase of PAGE was initiated in January 2016. PAGE intends to contribute to better policy and sector coordination, support collaboration and help improve and build capacities in green economy policy formulation and action.

The PAGE National Coordinator, Najma Mohamed, provided an overview of the PAGE programme, as well as an introduction to the inception activities which have been initiated in South Africa. Forum participants stressed the importance of coordination efforts around green economy activities and initiatives, and highlighted the role for PAGE at sub-national level where more support is needed. An interactive high-level panel discussion followed, in which panellists shared the results of a wide range of efforts, from national to local level and across sectors, to accelerate action in green economy planning and implementation processes. The panel discussion contributed to a better understanding among the PAGE Forum participants about the success factors, opportunities and challenges for partnerships and multi-stakeholder collaboration to support South Africa’s green economy transition.

The Forum concluded with an introduction to one of the key inception activities, the Green Economy Inventory for South Africa (GEISA), which involves the development of a detailed account of green economy initiatives implemented on the ground since 2010, giving a snapshot of the country’s progress towards a green economy transition. The GEISA is envisioned as an important tool to facilitate improved collaboration and coordination in support of the country’s green economy transition, and Forum participants supported the initiative as a key step in developing a baseline for monitoring progress in the country.

The Forum concluded with an invitation to participants to become active partners in the PAGE programme in South Africa. The Forum was followed by a roundtable with learning institutions, and a National Steering Committee meeting

For more information on PAGE in South Africa, please contact pageSA@ilo.org.