CSIR creates a guide for South Africa’s Green economy
The CSIR-developed guide titled Steering towards a Green Economy, provides an introduction to green economy concepts, ideas and actions that will help reorient the economy to a more inclusive, resource-efficient and low-carbon development pathway.
South Africa has a resource-intensive economy and is faced with declining natural resources and deepening inequalities between the rich and the poor. South Africa, like much of the rest of the world, is transitioning towards a green economy. Although the South African government has repeatedly acknowledged their commitment to steering the country to a green economy, many citizens still do not know what is meant by this concept and the opportunities it provides for sustainable, economic growth in South Africa.
The Green economy guide was created to provide a concise understanding of the green economy, and to relate this to South Africa’s unique development pathway. It is therefore not intended to provide specialist knowledge or policy analysis, but rather to contribute to a broad awareness in support of emerging green economy strategies, policies and initiatives.
The green economy concept is often poorly understood. In simple terms, it suggests a reinterpretation of development pathways to properly account for the relationship between environmental resources, human well-being and economic development. The green economy is not an ‘add-on’ or an emerging sector, but an imperative and framework for all economic activity. It brings effect to the concept of sustainable development, and requires co-ordinated action of government, the private sector and civil society.
Stakeholders and decision-makers at all levels and in a range of different contexts (government, business, communities and individuals) engaged in the development process will find the guide a useful reference for understanding the concepts, intent and opportunities for a green economy for South Africa. Five focus areas, namely transport, water, energy, waste and agriculture are used to illustrate South Africa’s unique challenges and to identify practical opportunities and actions to move towards a green economy. These actions will reorient the economy to be more inclusive, resource-efficient and low-carbon in order to provide a pathway for sustainable development.
Dr William Stafford