Parliament, Tuesday, 08 November 2022 – The National Assembly House Chairperson responsible for committees, Mr Cedric Frolick, implored delegates at the Globe Conference of Parties (COP27) Summit to interrogate all the different implementation models that their countries use for implementing the Rio Conventions to ensure that they are integrative enough in mitigating the risks posed by climate change.

Mr. Frolick was addressing the COP27 Legislators Summit, which started today in Sharma El-Sheik, in Egypt, on Successful Drylands Governance, where he shared best practices from South Africa on benefit-sharing and inclusive governance.

He explained how South Africa’s intervention through the Strategic Framework and Overarching Implementation Plan for Ecosystem-based Adaptation promotes conservation whilst alleviating poverty through Programmes such as Working for Water, Working on Fire, Working on Land and others. He said the Programmes integrate the implementation of the three Rio Conventions while uplifting communities.

He emphasized how South Africa has started to do things differently to adjust to the realities of living in an arid environment. He drew examples from the Manyeleti Game Reserve, a community-owned and managed protected area in the Greater Kruger National Park (KNP). The community successfully laid claim to a part of KNP land, which is now known as Makuleke Concession managed as part of KNP.

Manyeleti is primarily a sandveld environment, distinguished by its central African vegetation, large alluvial flood plains and probably more animal and plant species diversity than anywhere else in the KNP.

He said there is no better way for managing this sand-veld environment than for biodiversity conservation with significant climate mitigation and adaptation potential, let alone the potential to halt land degradation, relative to other land use types.

He also explained how the Nama community that inhabits the Ritchersveld National Park in the Northern Cape province, bordering South Africa and Namibia, dispelled big mining corporations that wanted to mine the expansive area that forms part of the buffer zone of the Ritchertsveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape World Heritage site. The local community manages the Park in conjunction with the South African National Parks (SANParks).

He said diamond mining companies wanted to mine this expansive arid area on the South African side, but the owners of the land, considered it appropriate to commit their land to biodiversity conservation, and in so doing mitigating land degradation as well as climate change.

He implored fellow legislators to consider Nature-based tourism as a non-consumptive way of using natural resources to benefit rural people. He added that nature-based tourism also removes incentives for using marginal land for agriculture and livestock production.

The Globe COP27 Legislators Summit is focusing on climate change adaptation, mitigation, loss, damage and finance. Loss and damage disproportionally affects vulnerable populations, who are usually the people on the frontlines of the climate crisis, who have the least resources and who have contributed the least to the problem. One of COP 27’s successes will hinge on mobilising finance for the losses and damages incurred by these people.