South Africa recently backed a stance by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Katowice Climate Change Conference challenging the world to act on climate change immediately.
This came into light after a recent address by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations during the UN Security Council Open Debate on addressing the impacts of climate-related disasters on international peace and security.
Guterres told the delegates that, “climate change is the single most important issue we face. It affects all our plans for sustainable development and a safe, secure and prosperous world”.
“The Secretary-General issued a warning, that time is running out to address climate change and this is premised on the clear findings of the international scientific community, as well as by the new reality of increasingly frequent and extreme climate-related disasters. The Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the impacts of a 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature rise confirms that we are already seeing the consequences of climate change for people, nature, livelihoods, and that the worst is yet to come,” said Ambassador Matjila.
South Africa also noted with great concern the erratic nature and veracity of natural calamities that have visited the Caribbean – hurricanes, Indonesia – repeated Tsunamis, Australia and the USA – devastating wildfires, Europe – floods and heavy snows and drought, amongst others, in Africa.
“These natural catastrophes caused untold human suffering, destroyed the livelihoods of millions of people and displaced hundreds of millions more.”
Reports suggest that Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change, as the single greatest threat to its development and prosperity.
Matjila also stated South Africa have experienced devastating weather events in recent years, with several regions of our country suffering their worst drought in decades.
“Africa, therefore, stands in full solidarity with other regions similarly affected by natural disasters, such as those highlighted in the concept note prepared by the Dominican Republic. We remain firmly committed to addressing climate change and responding to natural disasters at a national, regional and international level,” he added.