Minister for Environmental Affairs Nomvula Mokonyane gets a closer look at the BMW ‘Green Cab’ during the Partnership for Action on the Green Economy (Page) exhibition, which opened yesterday at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Picture: Courtney Africa / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – South Africa’s vision of transitioning towards a green economy has been embraced at the highest political level, said Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane.

She gave the key address at the opening of the 3rd Partnership for Action on the Green Economy (Page) Ministerial Conference at the Cape Town International Convention Centre yesterday.

A moment of silence was observed for Mokonyane’s predecessor, Edna Molewa, who died in September after illness, aged 61.

Mokonyane said the two-day conference would focus on advancing inclusivity and sustainability economies in robust discussion that addressed practical solutions and reversing the inequalities of the past.

“This platform supports countries and regions to put sustainability at the heart of economic policies and practices to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

‘‘This is an important conference given that it follows the conclusion of the international climate change talks in Poland, where the Paris Agreement Work Programme was adopted, setting out the Rules of implementation.”

Mokonyane said the natural capital dialogue at the conference should contribute to the formulation of the post-2020 Agenda for Nature.

Page was launched in 2013 as a response to the call at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) to support countries wishing to embark on greener and more inclusive growth trajectories.

About 500 delegates, including 17 ministers or deputy ministers of environment, finance, business, science and technology and development were to participate in robust discussions on tools and strategies for shaping greener economies.

A series of parallel sessions with high-level speakers would tackle topics on green finance, strategies and policies for a green economy, social and economic inclusion, sustainable consumption and production, and the circular economy.

International Labour Organisation director-general Guy Ryder said the organisation was proud to celebrate the start of its centenary year with the Page conference.

“Page responds to very important and pressing international ambitions that we all share.

‘‘It provides processes and interventions to tackle three dimensions of sustainability.

‘‘Page makes it possible for us to say we can sustain decent jobs, sustain improved living standards, while at the same time protecting the planet,” he said.

Finland’s Minister of Environment, Kimmo Tiilikainen, said the conference was successful in bringing together the different expertise in sustainable development.

“In Finland, we have noted that a small percentage of our plastics was ending up in our landfills, while over 90% of our plastics and aluminium is being recycled.

‘‘We need the world governments to show leadership and engagement of green and inclusive economic policies and methods. Page is a great example of successful partnership between the Northern and Southern hemispheres,” he said.

The conference ends today.