The right to a safe and protected environment and the commitment to a sustainable future is enshrined in the South African Constitution. While many communities in South Africa are increasingly feeling the effects of climate change, civil society engagement in environmental governance remains limited.
Many South Africans believe that Parliament is the institution where important social and environmental justice issues should be heard, and yet how many of us know who our parliamentary representatives are and how to engage with them?
This led Food and Trees for Africa (FTFA), the African Climate Reality Project (ACRP), the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), and the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) to launch Action 24 – Active citizens for responsive legislatures.
The project is a 30-month action, co-funded by the European Union, aimed at strengthening environmental governance and civic participation, in order to advance decarbonised sustainable and inclusive development in South Africa.
Action 24 intends to achieve this by building the capacity of civil society, media, youth and women groups to more effectively participate in public consultation and legislative oversight, with the anticipated outcome of the realisation of civic rights in respect of a healthy and safe environment and resilience against negative climate change effects.
Action 24 aims to foster more bottom-up, participatory decision-making processes on environmental issues, and encourage citizens to seek effective representation from the legislative institutions, using them to improve service delivery by the government. Sustainability, climate change, gender equality, women’s empowerment, and youth engagement are crosscutting principles underpinning the project’s strategy.
The project will be targeting the legislatures in four provinces (Gauteng, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, and Western Cape) and national Parliament, with a focus on the committees and units dealing with environmental issues and public participation. Our other target groups are local civil society organisations active in the environmental sector, and local media.
The project started in January 2018 and will take place over a period of 30 months. The official launch event took place in Cape Town on 20 February as part of a wider initiative supported by the European Union, which will see several organisations foster citizen activism across South Africa for increased accountability and good governance.
Request for proposals: M&E Framework and baseline study
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Food & Trees for Africa
Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) is a leading Section 21 Social Enterprise that addresses the issues of food security and environmental sustainability as fundamental human rights essential to our prosperity. The organisation emphasises education and skills training, which it integrates with sensitive mentorship and phased support. After 27 years of experience in South African social development, FTFA understands what it takes to achieve real, long-term sustainability and want to make a positive difference to the lives of all South Africans.
African Climate Reality Project
The African Climate Reality Project (ACRP) is the African chapter of former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project and is hosted on the continent by Food & Trees for Africa. Gore has trained close to 600 African Climate Leaders in Africa, from government, NGOs, youth, media and scientists across the continent. ACRP’s aim is to spread awareness and action and mobilise communities from Algeria to Zimbabwe to find solutions to climate change. Through the work of Climate Leaders across the continent, the movement urges people to take climate action now and communicates the urgent need for countries to act on their commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. ACRP is building support through media campaigns and various events.
The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance
The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) is a non-governmental coalition of 17 community and environmental organisations. SDCEA was launched in 1995 to unite members in a common struggle for a healthy living environment and environmentally sustainable and socially just development in south Durban. SDCEA has been both unique and tenacious in challenging both government and industry to address the inequities of pollution and environmental injustice in the area. SDCEA has achieved a reduction in key local pollutants, the closing of hazardous waste sites and secured fishing rights for subsistence fishers. SDCEA takes education awareness, information sharing and capacity building in various forms to enable independent community monitoring and research into pollution, health and social issues. SDCEA arrives at positions through democratic debate and aims to deepen participation in that debate through its capacity building activities, to ensure that arguments are well grounded in both science and community experience.
The South African Institute of International Affairs
The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) is an independent, non-government think-tank whose purpose is to encourage wider and more informed awareness of the importance of international affairs. It is both a centre for African and global research excellence and a home for stimulating public debate. SAIIA seeks to provide input into policy development and promote balanced dialogue and debate on issues crucial to Africa’s advancement and engagement in a dynamic global context. Through our [email protected] programmes the Institute seeks to give young Africans the opportunity to engage with the major issues that confront them, whilst empowering them with skills to become the continents future leaders, who can engage in policy-making as they work towards a Southern Africa that is sustainable, democratic, inclusive and well-governed. [email protected] currently reaches over 6000 South African learners, students and educators. Additionally, through our networks we connect to over 200 African organizations in 30 different countries.
The European Union (EU) is made up of 27 Member States who have decided to gradually link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, during a period of enlargement of 50 years, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms.
The European Union is committed to sharing its achievements and its values with countries and peoples beyond its borders.
The European Commission is the EU’s executive body.
Action 24 is targeting the legislatures in four provinces (Gauteng, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, and Western Cape) as well as national Parliament, with a focus on the committees and units dealing with environmental issues and public participation.