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Travel to Southern Africa

Study Tours


The E.U. is invested in the implementation of South Africa’s “Nationally Determined Contribution” (NDC) as per its commitment to the Paris Agreement.   The Team Europe Climate Action effort in South Africa has used Study Tours as a highly effective method for exchanging knowledge directly between Europeans and South Africans.  These are aimed at people who are working at the coal face (pun intended) or embarking on low-carbon and climate resilient development pathways and executing climate change adaptation strategies.

This year’s international experience has, of necessity, been adapted to a short, online series which will still allow for a candid and frank exchange of perspectives, experience and skills between peers. The intention is for those who are grappling with these issues to share their experience/learnings in order to assist others to reach their desired outcomes more efficiently. The idea is to avoid a “talk shop”, thus content is designed for constructive engagement between participants and contributors via panel discussions, Q&A sessions with speakers, interviews, small group discussion and graphic artists – who will also capture and convey the material and conversations. Taking the purpose of a study tour into the online realm means that speakers and panelists from the E.U. and S.A. replace your site hosts, leading participants through the topics, materials and discussions. They are selected not for their titles but for the reputation of the work they are doing, or their niche expertise, in the field of work that participants are invited from.

Participants are encouraged to put forward any assignment they are currently working on as a project case study for the group to engage with collaboratively.  Whilst the theme/focus of each programme is a specific area of climate change policy, the discussion groups will be determined by career or sector, for example engineering/technical, corporate/industry, government/agencies/administration, civics & NGOs, academia/researchers and students/climate youth.  In this way, your detailed discussions will be held within your peer group and will therefore have useful application.

How to register your interest/RSVP:

  1. Select the programme you are interested in from the list and description below.
  2. Click on the buttons to view (or download) all further information.
  3. Email your expression of interest to with a short bio and description of your current climate-change related work/tasks/field of study.
  4. You can expect notification of your successful placement on your chosen virtual study tour 10 days prior to its start date.

How to participate:

  1. You will receive a confirmation email 1 week before the start date with any updates and any preparatory readings submitted by speakers.
  2. You will receive the Zoom link for the first afternoon the Friday or Monday morning prior to the programme start; save this in your calendar!
  3. Click on the Zoom link from your calendar (note – the start time of the Zoom “meeting” will be 30 minutes prior to the agenda start time to allow for staggered entry of participants in to the Zoom room).

Please note:

  • Participation is free of charge thanks to the generous support of the European Commission and German government.
  • Dates and times for these programmes are pre-set and not changeable, so please make sure that you are able to commit to the dates before registering your interest . 
  • South African participants are requested to stay abreast of load shedding timetables and to make contingency plans for connectivity in the event of load during the programme. 
  • Programme content is subject to change up until 1 week prior to the start.   
  • Space is limited.  The organisers reserve the right to accept or decline applications without explanation.

1: Climate Change Journalism in South Africa

Strengthening the media coverage of climate change must be a societal priority in South Africa.
The magnitude and the impact of global warming and rising sea levels is hard to communicate, and to comprehend, at any level.  Efforts by the media are affected by many factors, including increased public reliance on social media (for news and information) and how that is often riddled with misinformation. Complex science, polarised political and cultural standpoints, along with psychological factors also shape how people engage with climate issues. The situation has been further exacerbated by rising consumer news avoidance from sheer ‘exhaustion’, a widely expressed distaste for negative coverage, and a decline in the number of reliable print and local news outlets with the attendant loss of journalism jobs.

This is an opportunity to learn and discuss these matters with experienced European and local practitioners and to collate learnings to share with peers in South Africa. Journalists, writers and communications professionals who report, or otherwise convey information, on climate change and related policy, strategies, directives and developments will be encouraged to broaden domestic debate and to enhance their methods and platforms for information dissemination.

With scant funding available for training in science journalism, this is an opportunity to that doesn’t crop up often.


2: Climate Change & Urban Resilience 

The concept of Urban Climate Change Resilience (UCCR) embraces climate change adaptation, mitigation actions, and disaster risk reduction while recognizing the complexity of rapidly growing urban areas and the uncertainty associated with climate change. With the world’s population expected to be over two-thirds urban-dwelling by 2050, climate action in cities holds a growing urgency in the inter-disciplines of development policy, disaster mitigation and environmental governance.
Resilient cities must have social, environmental, and economic systems that can withstand the impact of climate change but creating resilient cities requires all stakeholders to strengthen the urban fabric.

Adaptation plans are largely state-driven and top-down in their approach, but by building from the ground-up at the same time, civil society can be immensely helpful. Particularly by raising awareness of climate change and its likely impacts as well as by influencing adaptive behaviour in communities. This is increasingly important given the realities of the city landscape in South Africa which have a massive “informal” growth and an increasing lack of trust in government to contend with.   Urban governance structures should therefore be supported and informed through broad collaborations that can provide constructive feedback to government and municipalities from the very communities they are striving to help.

Professionals involved and interested in these spheres are invited, over two afternoons, to examine the following questions together:
– What are the barriers to collaborative partnerships in urban spaces for climate mitigation and adaptation?  What can we do to build successful partnerships and participatory processes? And,
– What are the processes, mechanisms and tools available to use to achieve resilience in South African urban areas?

This is an unusual opportunity to take advantage of – one where you not only learn but also can discuss and grapple with these matters with your European and South African peers who are “in the same boat” as you.  It gives you access to expertise, experience (from personal success and failures) and a skilled sounding-board of peers.

(The “Materials” button will be populated should speakers provide such before or after their sessions for participants’ reference &/or use )

3: Green SMEs & Urban Adaptation

This exchange focusses on climate smart responses to urban adaptation necessities by Green SMEs.  It proposes both to support the growth of innovators and to showcase the solutions being developed in South Africa, particularly in the context of urban resilience.  These small businesses have a vital role to play in climate mitigation and sustainable development, and they have a great deal to contribute to social cohesion and poverty reduction.

Over two afternoons we will examine the following questions together:
– How best to work with urban management systems in SA? And
– What are the tools available to SMEs working in this space?

This will be a useful opportunity to learn and discuss these matters with your European and South African peers.

(The “Materials” button will be populated should speakers provide such before or after their sessions for participants’ reference &/or use )


4: Open Dialogue on Climate Change (ODCC)

The ODCC is an international project that aims to bring together different stakeholder groups, in countries across the globe, to create a meaningful dialogue on the climate crisis.  It is a space to voice opinions, concerns and possible solutions regarding climate change.  The main goal is the preparation of specific action and/or policy recommendations (from a summary of the outcomes of the global dialogues) that will be part of an output statement to be presented during the Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).
YOUNGO the official youth consistency for the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) is holding the 16th iteration of the annual Conference of Youth(COY), in Glasgow alongside COP26. The COY serves as a space to capacitate and prepare youth to attend the annual COP event in future.

The South African ODCC is for youth in climate change & energy and forms part of local preparations for South Africa’s team going to COY16.  It is vital youth are capacitated technically and in the art of leadership, highlighting the importance of youth attending the COY16.  Particular focus in the programme of the ODCC is put on Climate Change and the Just Transition.

(The “Materials” button will be populated should speakers provide such before or after their sessions for participants’ reference &/or use )

5: Communicating Climate Change Using Data Tools

This exchange will be on communication about climate change using (data) toolkits for visual communication.
The theme/topic for this programme arose from the previous virtual study tours where people shared their struggles to communicate matters pertaining to climate change and who were ALSO excited by the possibility of using data/graphic content to share knowledge and stimulate citizen buy-in to climate-change action.  The request for an opportunity to be better equipped to use data information which can cross any language/ literacy-level/economic/cultural/geographic divides, featured the most frequently in participants’ feedback.

Over two afternoons we will examine together:
– How to acquire, arrange and use data.
– An overview of and access to existing tool-kits for various purposes & how to choose the right tool for the job!
And we hope to do 2 short practical exercises in small groups to embed the skills learnt & gve you the confidence to use visual communication tools.

This will be a useful opportunity to learn and discuss this method of communication with your European and South African peers.

(The “Materials” button will be populated should speakers provide such before or after their sessions for participants’ reference &/or use.  Please feel free to share the invitation )