After two years of development, gathering input, undertaking consultations and further refinements, the Gauteng City Region (GCR) is preparing to implement an overarching Climate Change Response Strategy and Action Plan.
Unveiled at the third Gauteng Climate Change Indaba, held in Pretoria, the plan identifies 14 areas of focus to build a climate resilient and low-carbon Gauteng economy.
These include natural resources, agriculture and agroprocessing, disaster risk management and reduction, water security, industry and mining, waste management and energy supply, besides others, Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) head of department Matilda Gasela explains.
The programmes will cut across all spheres of government and the private sector, and raise public awareness around climate change and related response efforts.
Economic Development, Agriculture, Environment and Rural Development MEC Morakane Mosupyoe warned of the devastating impacts of climate change on water resources, agriculture and food security, health, natural resources, infrastructure and human settlements, besides others.
"Climate change is a reality. We live it every day. Unless we act now, it will threaten our very existence," she told delegates of the one-day indaba.
GDARD acting deputy director-general Loyiso Mkwana added that climate projections indicate that the overall outcome for Gauteng is likely to be a drier climate with higher temperatures and longer dry spells, marked with intense but short rainfall events that will lead to flash floods, increased erosion, heightened pressure on infrastructure and negative impacts on agricultural practices.
Addressing the indaba, which was hosted by GDARD under the theme 'Mobilising climate action to create a sustainable climate resilient GCR', Mkwana said the strategy will build resilience in the city.
One priority area is disaster risk reduction and the review and enhancement of early warning systems equipped with recommended actions in case of emergencies.
The province is also pushing a green building policy to ensure new and old buildings become energy, water and waste efficient.
Further, mixed energy supply, transportation, human settlements and water security form part of GCR's top priorities, along with ecosystem-based natural resource adaptation.
In terms of industry and mining, a sector support programme is being considered to promote cleaner production processes, best practice, the adoption of the latest technology and process integration.
The indaba also aims to identify existing strategies that feed into the provinces' focus areas including associated provincial plans such as the Gauteng Green Strategic Programme, the Gauteng Energy Security Strategy and the Gauteng Disaster Management Plan.
A range of cross cutting programmes including research, green procurement, governance, monitoring and evaluation, awareness and capacity building have been incorporated.
"The focus is now firmly on how we implement that strategy," said Gasela.