Action 24 SGF VEJA

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When energy plans and policies are developed (e.g. Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs), the Climate Change Bill, Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) and Environmental Management Plans (EMPs), local scenarios for climate change mitigation and adaptation), it is often the case that the scientific language limits community participation. Consequently, the most vulnerable people within communities, (women, youth, unemployed and disabled people) are disempowered due to their non-participation in policy processes. This is especially true for rural and township women, who are most impacted by the burden of energy poverty. Our past and present work, for example, the Vaal Triangle Airshed Priority Area (VTPA) and the Catchment Management Forums (CMFs), has indicated that vulnerable groups do not participate in these processes. Minutes and attendance registers validate this observation and are available on request.

Addressing this issue requires a parallel process of science and policy education, together with the mobilisation of all community members, to challenge the growing impacts of climate change.

Through this project, VEJA seeks to motivate understanding and activism regarding public participation in climate change and energy issues in the Vaal area. Empowered community members will be able to participate in the VEJA Climate Change Team and to mobilise, educate and advocate for improved climate change policies, develop their own climate change strategies through the Assets Based Community Development (ABCD) process, and participate directly in legislative processes as and when this is necessary.

Objectives

  • Develop capacity and activist expertise among women, youth and other vulnerable community members through climate learning groups
  • Use activist science to create awareness and understanding among community members regarding climate change issues, legislation and policies, and the current pollution in the Vaal area
  • Highlight the links between the sources of air pollution and climate change, and their impacts on human health, and work toward improving these impacts
  • Build links between affiliate organisations, affected communities and VEJA, to work together to achieve behavior change, influence climate change legislation and implementation and to monitor interventions devised at the national, provincial and district levels
  • Enable the voices of communities to be heard at stakeholder engagements such as CMFs, Air Quality Management meetings, Implementation Task Team meeting and parliamentary hearings

Activities (April 2019 – March 2020)

VEJA plans to hold two workshops that they will cover the science of climate change and policy/ legislation issues, and assess the situation in each target area (Sebokeng, Sasolburg, Boipatong and Sharpeville), that will lead to focused climate learning group meetings and engagement with the local, provincial authorities (mainly legislatures) on climate-related legislation and oversight of government interventions in this regard.

The learning acquired from the workshops will be used to develop the educational booklet, which will serve to identify climate and environmental policies that communities can use to demand the rights and remedies within communities. This material will help enable members and community stakeholders to document the impacts of climate change on their health and their environment; and use this data to challenge inadequate governance at the national, provincial or local level.
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Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance (VEJA) is a non-profit organisation established in 2006 to unite communities to ensure environmental justice in the Vaal Triangle through the promotion of a culture of environmental awareness and sustainable development, support to local stakeholders promoting sustainable development initiatives in the Vaal Triangle, and engagement with government and the corporate sector
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Disclaimer: This web page was created with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the African Climate Reality Project and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.
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