Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane. Mokonyane's department has published the draft NCCAS for public comment in the Government Gazette. Picture: Phill Magakoe

PRETORIA - Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has published the draft national climate change adaptation strategy (NCCAS) for public comment in the Government Gazette, her department said on Sunday.

"The adaptation strategy has been developed in line with South Africa’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to introduce measures to adapt to the effects of climate change while achieving the stabilisation of greenhouse gas emissions and limiting temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celcius," the department said in a statement.

The development of the strategy was central towards attaining the national climate change response policy objective of effectively managing the inevitable climate change impacts through interventions that built and sustained South Africa’s social, economic, and environmental resilience and emergency response capacity, it said.

There was evidence that extreme weather events in South Africa were increasing, with heat wave conditions found to be more likely, dry spell durations lengthening slightly, and rainfall intensity increasing. Increases in annual-average near-surface temperatures were projected to occur over large parts of South Africa, including the western interior and northern parts of South Africa. Climate zones across the country were already shifting, ecosystems and landscapes were being degraded, veld fires were becoming more frequent, and overused natural terrestrial and marine systems were under stress, the department said.

"South Africa is therefore taking immediate action in planning for, and responding to intensified climate change impacts. In particular, urgent action in respect of managing water resources in a changing climate, planning for the potential impact on agricultural production, and ensuring that local governments are able to anticipate and reduce the risk of extreme events (such as floods and droughts) on human settlements."

There was increasing international recognition that strong and sustainable socio-economic development could reduce vulnerability to climate change and ensure resilience. Adaptation to climate change presented South Africa with an opportunity to transform the economy, strengthen the social and spatial fabric, and become and build a climate resilient society.

The NCCAS provided a common vision of climate change adaptation and climate resilience for the country, and outlined priority areas for achieving this vision, the department said.

Members of the public or organisations were invited to submit written inputs and comments within 30 days of publication of the notice in the Gazette to: The Director General, Department of Environmental Affairs, Attention: Mr Sibonelo Mbanjwa, Private Bag X447, Pretoria, 0001.

African News Agency (ANA)