During early 2005, an interdepartmental drought task team workshop was held and the objective of this workshop was to determine every department’s role and inputs regarding the finalization of the Drought Report.
It was agreed upon that the following actions had to be taken:
At a follow-up meeting, project leaders from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Department of Water Affairs, Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning and Department of Local Government and Housing discussed various projects.
During June 2005, a report titled “A status quo, vulnerability and adaptation assessment of the physical and socio-economic effects of climate change in the Western Cape” was completed by a consortium, coordinated by The South African Biodiversity Institute.
The authors of the report state in their executive summary:
“The future climate of the Western Cape is likely to be one that is warmer and drier than at present, according to a number of current model projections. In support of these projections, recent temperature trends reveal appreciable warming in the Western Cape over the past three decades. Rainfall trends are not as clearly identifiable. A future that is warmer, and possibly drier, will encompass a range of consequences that will affect the economy, the livelihoods of people and the ecological integrity of the Western Cape region. Coping with the consequences of a future changed climate requires the identification of the sectors that will be affected and how these effects will play out. This report lays out plausible scenarios for climate change and follows with an assessment of the impacts and vulnerabilities due to projected changes. The next step is to decide what adaptation measures taken now will have the most impact in the future in avoiding or coping with the potentially negative effects of the projected climate change. The ability to assess these and implement them successfully will facilitate the achievement of a sustainable future for this Province.”
The next step was compiling a Western Cape Climate Change Response Strategy and Action Plan – an in-depth study which commenced in 2006 and was completed in 2007. The lead department for this objective was the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, and the other departments were part of the Technical Steering Committee. The final aim of the strategy is to assist the Province in its decision and policy-making processes to both minimize the negative effects, and to secure potentially beneficial opportunities that might arise from climate change.
OneWorld Sustainable Investments and a host of experts developed the strategy, whilst various stakeholder groups were engaged throughout the process. Whilst the strategy is Western Cape specific, it will be aligned with regional and national climate change initiatives and South Africa’s international sustainable development commitments.
The Department of Agriculture is presently part of the Provincial Climate Change Committee, discussing the implementation of the proposed action plan in the respective departments, but also informing Cabinet on a continuous basis of the progress in relation to climate change and its challenges to the Western Cape and its peoples.
Continue to Tackling the challenges ... an agricultural response.