Swazis urged to raise their voices against carbon emissionsJun 24, 2014
Swaziland’s commemoration of World Environment Day this year focused on raising awareness of the need to reduce carbon emissions in the country.
In 2000, it was estimated that Swaziland generated 19.8 million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent in greenhouse gas emissions. This is reflected in the 2012 Second National Communications to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). However, by 2030 this estimate is projected to increase to about 33.4 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
Addressing stakeholders at the commemorative event at Siteki Park, the Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Jabulani Mabuza, called for more concrete actions and solutions to reduce the main cause of climate change - greenhouse gas emissions.
“I would like to challenge each one of you today to not only raise your voices but also your actions, as government, business, communities, civic organisations and individuals – everyone in all parts of the country – to become a climate champion,” he said.
World Environment Day is commemorated annually on 5 June to stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and enhance political attention and action. The event has a specific theme designated each year to shed light on an environmental issue of concern. This year’s localized theme for Swaziland was “Raise your voice, not emissions”, which was adapted from the global theme for the occasion: “Raise your voice, not the sea level.”
The Minister said Swaziland may not have contributed significantly to the causes of climate change, but needed to start looking for options to ‘climate proof’ its economy since it would not be spared from its effects.
“Evidence of such effects is more visible in the country through the dwindling crop yields, violent storms and persistent drought. It is these impacts which will impact us all for generations to come if we do not act decisively and quickly,” he said.
He suggested two kinds of action in the Swazi nation’s response to climate change; mitigation through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation due to past, current and future emissions.
“Both require Swaziland to develop a strong and sustainable green, low carbon economy, resilient to climate change,” he added.
A United Nations official, Kabiru Nasidi, expressed hope for strengthened national capacity for a low emission’s path through ongoing UN support in the development of the National Climate Change Policy as well as the operationalization of the Strategy and Action Plan for the next five years.
Nasidi, who represented the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), also urged Swazis to aim at ensuring improved and responsive climate change and climate variability policies, as well as development frameworks, such as through the review of Vision 2022 and formulation of the Swaziland Development Index.
“Reducing emissions should be a collective national action or effort for a resilient low emissions development path,” he said.
Swaziland is currently preparing its Third National Communication to the conference of parties of the UNFCCC - a process led by the Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs and supported by development partners including the Global Environment Fund and UNDP.