The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism has set up a directorate for sustainable development coordination to follow up on decisions taken at last year’s World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).
To mark the anniversary of the WSSD, the directorate will host high-level discussions on September 4, bringing together MPs, business leaders, United Nations representatives and members of civil society.
The discussions aim to consolidate awareness of the challenges facing South Africa post WSSD, reporting on progress since the summit and adopting a common approach to the implementation of outcomes.
The directorate services a task team in the department that reports to the Cabinet through the international relations, peace and security cluster. It also includes representation from the provinces, the South African local government association and national departments not normally represented in the cluster’s structures.
The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism has developed a conceptual framework to the development of a national strategy for sustainable development.
This strategy envisages the integration of sustainable development objectives in the government’s business planning framework, as well as in cross-cutting interdepartmental programmes and all other sectors.
The greatest coup for South Africa since the summit has been to chair the UN Commission on Sustainable Development by Minister Mohammed Valli Moosa. The commission has reached consensus on a work programme towards assessing implementation of WSSD outcomes and has agreed to a biannual policy review.
There is a high level of preparedness to keep issues from the WSSD on the agenda of forthcoming international meetings, like the World Trade Organisation gathering in September in Mexico.
Blessing Manale is director of the directorate for sustainable development coordination.