Environmental Management, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

Overview

The Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Section strives to apply a substantial body of professional knowledge and decide, set, provide, and coordinate services in the Garden Route District. The Unit implements implement National, Provincial and Local government best practice skills relating to Integrated Coastal Management, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, Biodiversity Management and Environmental Regulation.

The section deals with a variety of professional issues, research, investigation, evaluation, recommending and decision-making to inform.

On top of this, the Unit also directs and supplies input into:

  • Development applications;
  • strategic forward planning;
  • policies;
  • project initiatives;
  • initiate and manage environmental improvement;
  • climate change projects;
  • monitor compliance with development control conditions;
  • monitor and remedy illegal activities which are detrimental to the environment.
  • ensure that municipal land-use and coastal planning and decision-making strives towards sustainable development;
  • being a biodiversity informant for multi-sectoral planning as required by NEMA Act No 107 of 1998

NEMA Act No 107 of 1998

The act speaks to the protection of aquatic, terrestrial and biological support areas. It guides practitioners on the implementation of policies, statutory requirements and programmes. These documents are designed to create awareness and reduce environmental and climate change risks.

This is done through the:

  • Development of strategies and plans;
  • coordination and execution of biodiversity;
  • coastal management and climate change policies;
  • dissemination of information and the implementation of projects and initiatives with respect to ensuring ecological patterns.

Environmental Management

The Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Section conform to the principles of sustainable development which looks for a balance between economic, social and natural environmental needs. It also ensures that environmental degradation is addressed and minimised according to the Section 28(1) of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (“NEMA”) which provides that every person who causes, has caused or may cause significant pollution or degradation of the environment must take reasonable measures to prevent such pollution or degradation from occurring, continuing or recurring, or, in so far as such harm to the environment is authorised by law or cannot reasonably be avoided or stopped, to minimise and rectify such pollution or degradation of the environment.
The Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Section also recognises the environmental right which is contained in Section 24(b)(iii) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa that states that:

Everyone has the right-

  1. to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and
  2. to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that-
    (i) prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
    (ii) promote conservation; and
    (iii) secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

The Section recognizes the inherent rights of all living creatures and a commitment to the humane treatment of all animals, both domestic and wild. We foster responsible stewardship of the resources within the district government’s charge, through open, consultative, integrated and transparent governance of the region. This is achieved by ensuring that best practice environmental solutions and activities are implemented and that sustained partnerships with communities are achieved.

Environmental Management functions

Some of the Section’s Environmental Management functions include:

  •  The production, compilation, analysing, reviewing and dissemination of the strategic environmental policy frameworks for the Garden Route District Municipality;
  • Ensuring the consistent application of environmental legislation and procedures in activities and developments in the District;
  • Ensuring that coastal management in the district aims to promote the conservation of the coastal environment, and to maintain the natural character of coastal landscapes and seascapes;
  • The preparation and planning for changes in the climate by providing the public with the necessary steps and a set of tools to adapt to the change, and to identify communities and sectors that is at risk and to explore opportunities to increase resilience;
  • Providing senior level guidance in integrated environmental resource and decision-making;
  • Environmental regulation and control by ceasing, removing, stopping and remediation of illegal activities which are detrimental to the environment;
  • Liaison between other environmental-related functions within the district and with external bodies, and;
  • Provides biodiversity management.

Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

To prepare and plan for changes in the climate by capacitating the public with the necessary tools to identify communities and sectors that are at risk, and to explore opportunities to increase resilience. The section also strives to integrate climate change into existing planning processes. This approach is used, rather than to create a separate process, therefore, capitalising on available human and financial resources. Climate change is a cross-cutting concern for many sectors, and it is therefore important to identify interventions on adaptation, mitigation intervention strategies and gaps with a focus on the different sectors. The section developed a Garden Route District Climate Change Adaptation strategy for the district, which is an open, working document in order for the immediate inclusion of new climate-related risks as they happen on the ground, thereby ensuring the inclusion of rapid adaptation and mitigation implementation actions in the document.

Some of the Section’s Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation functions include:

  • The development of a Garden Route District Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for the district that will be the overarching guiding and planning document;
  • Assessing current climate trends and future projections for the geographical region;
  • Undertaking climate vulnerability assessments;
  • The identification of the current sector and cross-sector vulnerabilities;
  • The identification of future potential vulnerabilities based on projected climate scenarios and future climate risks;
  • Reviewing current development plans and priorities;
  • Integrating climate-sensitive responses within development priorities and focusing on areas that are highly vulnerable to climate variability;
  • Prioritise climate change adaptation actions;
  • Continued collaboration with government sectors, non-government organisations and the public to ensure that all the relevant climate change information is integrated into the planning processes;
  • Stakeholder engagement, which includes the identification of vulnerable sectors and risks;
  • Sharing in the identification of existing and potential adaptation initiatives;
  • The establishment of a Climate Change Committee;
  • Municipal integration, and the recognition that climate change resilience forms part of the day to day activities of the different municipal departments, and;
  • Engagement with Municipal Integrated Development Planning and Spatial Development Framework processes to ensure the incorporation of climate change into municipal planning.

For more information or queries, please contact:

Dr Nina Viljoen
Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Practitioner
Tel:  044 804 1318
E-mail: nina@gardenroute.gov.za

Mr Gerhard Otto
Manager: Disaster Management
Tel: 044 803 1435
E-mail: gotto@gardenroute.gov.za