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03 August 2016

Person in field holding basket

Forty-eight participants gathered at Environment House, Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) for a workshop which presented the key findings of the Green Economy Inventory for South Africa (GEISA). The Inventory is one of the inception activities of PAGE in South Africa and is expected to map and capture baseline information that can be used to track progress in the country’s transition to a green economy. 

Person in field holding basket

Workshop participants from the government, civil society, private sector and donor communities were welcomed by the Deputy Director-General of DEA, Alf Wills, who noted that “PAGE offers South Africa a unique set of tools, expertise and networks that would respond to the diverse and rapidly evolving opportunities for leveraging a systemic change required to transition to a green economy”. 

On the role of the Inventory, he stressed that “monitoring, assessment and knowledge sharing will become instrumental for achieving coordination amongst green economy strategies, as well as gaining perspectives on opportunities and challenges for South Africa in its transition to a greener economy. This is where the Green Economy Inventory for South Africa comes in”. 

The workshop was centred around presentations on the key findings of the Inventory, such as the geographical and sectoral spread of green economy initiatives in South Africa, as well as a representation of the environmental, social and economic benefits emerging from green economy investments. Gaps and areas in need of support and intervention were also identified, including the role of the private sector in South Africa’s green economy transition. 

Photo from event

Interactive discussions provided recommendations for the refinement of the Inventory report, as well as the use of the Inventory in the development of an on-line green economy knowledge portal for South Africa. 

Overall, participants concurred that the key benefit which could be taken from the GEISA exercise was the development of a strategic snapshot of the emerging green economy landscape in South Africa, i.e. Which sectors are leading? Where in the country are green investments located? How to diversify green economy interventions? 

It was also agreed that the report could also be used to raise awareness of transitioning to a green economy through show-casing existing initiatives and good practices in various sectors across the country. 

Furthermore, the use of the Inventory as a baseline for the development of an interactive on-line green economy knowledge hub for South Africa was welcomed. The development of a live portal would also ensure that activities in key economic sectors, such as education and training, mining, tourism, infrastructure and health, could also be captured. Economic sectors should also be disaggregated further, and the emergence of nexus initiatives, captured. Most importantly, workshop participants urged that the learning and knowledge-sharing intent of the Inventory be kept in mind in the design of an on-line portal.   

The workshop was concluded by Devina Naidoo, Senior Policy Advisor, DEA, who remarked that the Inventory is useful for the South African Government to take stock of progress, and to identify areas in need of further support. She also highlighted the centrality of multi-stakeholder engagement in the activities of PAGE, and invited workshop participants to remain active in the growing stakeholder network and to support the uptake of the findings emerging from green economy analyses to be undertaken through PAGE. 

The final GEISA report will be published in September 2016, and will be available for download from the websites of DEA and other key government partners, as well as the PAGE website. 

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