Roundtable Discussion: the Role of Local Government in Achieving National Climate Objectives in South Africa


With the adoption of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as a basis for implementing the global Paris Agreement, national governments are responsible for reducing domestic emissions. Since cities and municipalities manage so many of the services and assets that can contribute to successful delivery of mitigation and adaptation targets: how can they best contribute to national sustainable development prerogatives?

A series of dialogues is in progress, commenced ahead of COP21 in November 2015 with the most recent event organised on July 8 2016, co-hosted by OneWorld and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). In attendance were representatives of various disciplines from several Western Cape municipalities, as well as Provincial and National Government. 

The roundtable discussion considered the practicalities of local-level government, vis-à-vis provincial and national, participation in transitioning South Africa to green growth pathways, while building resilience to climate change. The primary mandate of municipalities to deliver basic services in the face of climate change threats and opportunities is the departure point in assessing how local government can meaningfully contribute to South Africa’s role in achieving global ambition.

Focusing on the prerequisites for establishing an enabling environment, the discussion revolved around the three main issues of:

  1. Institutional capacities and how these vary between municipalities;
  2. Coordination, alignment and roles and responsibilities (within the environmental mandate) across all tiers of government, and;
  3. National strategies and support required from national government including climate funding needs.

Find a summary of the key oucomes here: Outcomes Roundtable Discussion