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South Africa's multi-faceted development path is a national priority, linking economic prosperity to environmental sustainability and social equity.

South Africa has become one of the largest economies in Africa, benefiting from high levels of industrialisation and abundant natural resources, including large mineral deposits. The economy is still expanding, but economic growth has slowed in recent years, with many social and environmental challenges persisting — such as inequality, poverty, and unemployment as well as industrialisation that sees an increasing exploitation of natural resources.

To link economic prosperity with environmental sustainability, the government identified green economy as a national priority beginning in 2010 with its New Growth Path in 2010. This was followed by a number of commitments such as the Green Economy Accord of 2011, South African National Development Plan 2030 (adopted in 2012) and the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (2014-2019). These plans outline commitments to mitigating climate change and realizing the country’s national development vision.

Achievements to date include a green economy progress measurement framework, social dialogue on Just Transition and contributions towards policy reforms related to green industry, trade, water management and renewable energy. 

In turn, PAGE has contributed to the achievement of SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and cut across several other SDGs, including SDGs 4 (Quality Education), 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), 10 (Reduced Inequalities), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), 15 (Life on Land) and 17 (Partnership for the Goals), as well as South Africa’s NDCs.  

The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown had a significant impact on the economy — including job losses of 2.2 million in the 2nd quarter of 2020 — which expanded the unemployment rate to 42%. In response, the Government of South Africa has put in place economic relief schemes to mitigate the socio-economic impact, with the corporate and private sector contributing. PAGE began a rapid modelling exercise to assess the impact of South Africa’s relief package on inclusive green economy and to offer insights for potential routes for green recovery.  An additional programme proposal for targeted green recovery support through PAGE was approved in November of 2020 with work underway as of 2021.

Through this, PAGE will offer technical assistance to the greening of South Africa’s COVID-19 economic recovery packages. The focus will be on mainstreaming and supporting green economic opportunities in key economic sectors to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of the pandemicActivities include training the National Treasury and other national partners on macroeconomic modeling to assess the social and employment impacts of policy responsesmobilizing stakeholders through dialogue and media promotion on the national economic recovery plan as well as sectoral economic recovery plansand building the capacity of public and private institutions — including business development service providers, national learning institutions, civil society organizations, and other relevant stakeholders — to promote green entrepreneurship and small business recovery 

  • 2015

    South Africa joins PAGE

  • 2016

    National Steering Committee (NSC) established

    Green Economy Inventory conducted

    Green Economy Industry and Trade Analysis (GEITA) completed

  • 2017

    Green Economy Learning Assessment developed

    Training of trainers on developing e-learning for green economy delivered

    Two discussion papers informing OR Tambo Debate Series on renewable energy pathways

  • 2018

    National Academy on Green Economy held with stakeholders from all nine provinces

    Training workshop held on the Green Economy Progress Measurement (GEP) Framework for several government departments

    Validation workshop on Bio-composite Action Plan and Implementation Strategy held

    Roundtable discussion with youth formations under O.R. Tambo debate series on Just Transition

  • 2019

    Third PAGE Ministerial Conference held in Cape Town

    Green economy e-learning incorporated into the Centre for Environment Management (CEM) course portfolio

    Roundtable discussion with labour movements under O.R. Tambo debate series on Just Transition

    Dashboard of green economy and environmental sustainability indicators to track South Africa’s progress developed

    South Africa Green Economic Modelling (SAGEM) report updated to include system dynamics models on the water bio-diversity nexus

    Draft national sustainability plan produced

  • 2020

    Training workshop on “Climate Smart Agriculture and Trade Opportunities”

    Feasibility study for Biomaterials in South Africa launched at PAGE-hosted side event at Bio Africa Convention

    PAGE COVID-19 IGE Rapid Modelling exercise launched

    GEP Measurement Framework for South Africa launched

    Validation workshop  GEP Measurement Framework for South Africa

  • Measurements for progress

    Following consultations between UNEP and the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), the Green Economy Progress (GEP) Measurement […]

  • Modelling for a green recovery

    To enhance strategies for mitigating the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, PAGE delivered immediate analytical support, engaging […]

  • Building a Bio-composite sector

    In 2020, PAGE completed a feasibility study for Biomaterials in South Africa to better understand the bio-composite sector, assessing […]

  • Skills for a green future

    In collaboration with the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, PAGE held a training workshop in July on “Climate Smart […]

  • Global knowledge-sharing and collaboration

    PAGE has engaged as a member of the Circular Economy Task Force within the South African Government, whose work is driven by the […]

  • National Policymaking

    National Policymaking

    PAGE has provided a solid foundation to develop, measure and assess national policies relating to sustainability and green economy. Several activities have contributed to the alignment of IGE goals with national policymaking.

  • Sectoral Reform

    Sectoral and Thematic Reform

    PAGE has supported South Africa across a variety of sectors in stimulating dialogue and collaboration to increase understanding, accelerate reform and support ownership.

  • Strengthening Capacity

    Strengthening Capacity

    In addition to completing a detailed learning assessment in 2017, PAGE has supported the long-term integration of green economy into nationally run education programmes. South Africa has also made significant efforts to learn from other PAGE countries.

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