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Travel to Southern Africa

Climate Change Virtual Study Tours

Climate Change Virtual Study Tours

The Team Europe Climate Action effort in South Africa is bringing a useful opportunity to professionals working in sectors affected by climate change policy.  The European Commission and German government is funding 5 virtual Study Tours with Spirit of Africa as their implementing partner.  By fostering exchanges and collaborations among national and subnational administrations, business communities, the academia and civil society stakeholders from the EU and South Africa, they aim to encourage and assist South Africa in making its best efforts towards the goals of the Paris Agreement to move quicker together towards its full implementation. The impact of the project is ideally that the non-European G20 countries effectively implement the Paris Agreement and their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

South Africa and the EU are respectively engaged in the implementation, update, and revision of their NDCs and long-term strategies to embark on low-carbon and climate resilient development pathways.  These study tours are platforms for knowledge exchange and will enable those who are grappling with these issues to share their experience/learnings in order to assist others to reach their desired outcomes more efficiently.  They have, of necessity, been adapted to a short online courses which will still allow for a candid and frank exchange of perspectives and experience between peers.  The content is designed for diversity of engagement using film, panel discussions, speakers, interviews, group discussion, project work and graphic artists to convey and capture the material.  In lieu of study tour physical meetings and engagements on site, the virtual study tour programming includes small-group project work.  Whilst the themes of the programmes are  focussed on  specific areas 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/research and students/climate youth.  In this way, detailed discussions will be held within well-matched peer-groups and will therefore have useful, applicable results.

“The Just Transition”, and particularly the transition away from coal mining and coal-fired electricity generation, has emerged as a major theme of EU climate action in recent years.  This will feature in the material as well as practical examples of climate adaptation solutions and key climate policy developments in the country.  In Mpumalanga (where a high percentage of the population depends on coal for a living) exchange with more European regions with a comparable context to South Africa and/or that are at an earlier stage of their transition or are grappling with similar employment and macro-economic challenges will be of use.

In terms of adaptation, Europe has more than 10-years’ experience in the implementation of climate change adaptation policies at the Member States and EU level. Since 2013, the EU Adaptation Strategy has encouraged national, regional and local adaptation action. Almost all Member States in Europe have a strategy and or plan for adaptation which could be beneficial if effectively and appropriately interpreted for the South African context.

The urgency and importance of climate dialogue and policy efforts is clear. Awareness on the various climate policy developments in South Africa can be enhanced through the study tour for the South African media. Journalists with a substantive interest in reporting on climate policy developments in South Africa to broaden the domestic political debate shall be invited, and Spirit of Africa is enjoying flexing our academic, research and curriculum-development skills and putting our networks to good use.

Tours run, by invitation, from end July to end October, 2021.