South Africa's National Assembly has formally approved the country's ratification of the Paris Agreement reached at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
This means that the country will formally join the ranks of those that have ratified the Paris Agreement and will ensure that the country has a seat at the negotiation table at the first meeting of these parties in Morocco this month.
Urgency to act
WWF South Africa’s CEO Dr Morné du Plessis commented: “It is a great moment to see South Africa join the ranks of countries that have ratified the Paris Agreement. We know that there is incredible urgency to act on climate change.
“By ratifying this global agreement within one year of its negotiation, South Africa continues to show its leadership on the international stage and ensures that its voice will be heard as governments pursue further discussions at the upcoming 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention.
“As South Africa is now a formal party to the Paris Agreement, we also have an even higher responsibility to fight climate change and build a low carbon future.
“This will require an even faster roll-out of renewable energy systems, transitioning to low carbon transport alternatives and putting in place the policy frameworks required to drive private sector investment in the right direction.
Onus on all of us
“However, the onus is not just on government but on all of us to ensure a better future.
“Many global businesses have already started lowering their climate footprints while progress in South Africa is lagging behind with only a few companies committed to action in line with climate science.
“South Africa’s ratification of the Paris Agreement is paving the way for us all to unlock the benefits of a low carbon economy but everyone has to play their part.
“This also requires citizens to make the necessary lifestyle adjustments while holding our government and corporate leaders accountable for delivery on their promises.”