South African Government

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Minister Barbara Creecy: South Africa, High-Level Segment UN Climate Change Conference

9 Nov 2021

Statement by H.E. Ms Barbara Creecy, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment of South Africa, High-Level Segment of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26/CMP16/CMA3), Glasgow, United Kingdom


For Africa, as a region that is particularly vulnerable to climate change, delayed climate action is not an option. We are facing the full impacts of the climate emergency, even as we struggle to overcome the devastating socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that has exacerbated Africa´s Special Needs and Circumstances.

Our sustainable development efforts have been set back, and our message to the international community is clear – we need your support now more than ever before to achieve our climate objectives, in the context of a Just Transition.

South Africa is making progress on our climate goals: we have established the Presidential Climate Commission, adopted the National Adaptation Strategy, implemented an enhanced Mitigation system with robust monitoring and evaluation, and have developed a long-term low emissions strategy.

We have submitted our updated and significantly more ambitious NDC ahead of COP 26. This brings forward the peaking of our emissions by a decade and contains detailed information on adaptation and the support we require from the international community.

True to the letter and spirit of the Paris Agreement, the lower end of our 2030 updated target emission range is consistent with a 1.5-degree pathway, while the upper end of the range is consistent with a 2-degree pathway. Where we get to in this range will depend on the international support we receive.

Our country is developing detailed plans to enable a Just Transition to a low carbon economy and climate resilient society. These plans will locate support for affected workers and communities and will be at the centre of these plans.


To ensure that we have a balanced outcome at COP26, we need to send a clear signal that all three priorities of the Paris Agreement will be advanced with equal determination.

In this regard, we need a two-year work programme on the Global Goal on Adaptation under the CMA. This programme must address the financing, economic and social impacts of climate change on developing countries.

To re-establish trust, we need developed countries to honor current obligations to provide finance and technical support. We must also move with speed to activate the post-2025 Finance Goal because we on the African Continent know that if we are to sustain the notion that COP26 is the “Ambition COP”, we need a clearly defined ambitious long-term finance goal.

This week we must conclude Article 6. Environmental integrity and robust accounting need to be at the centre. South Africa supports a share of proceeds as a source of predictable and sustainable financing for adaptation action.

Finally, we look forward to working with all Parties to secure a fair deal for developing countries that not only enables us to meet our climate goals and targets, but also allows us to do our fair share to keep the planet habitable for future generations. 

South Africa is playing its part to make COP26 a successful conference. The world is watching all our actions and we must do our best to deliver on our peoples’ expectations.

I thank you.