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SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA

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POVERTY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

No information available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

The South African Government has adopted a Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) as its national strategy to combat poverty and unemployment. Several policies have been developed which take poverty issues into consideration: the Policy for Social Welfare, the Water Supply and Sanitation Policy , and the National Water Policy, supported by the draft National Water Bill. An official declaration: War on Poverty - A Better Life for All was adopted. Responsibility for RDP lies within apexes in the Deputy President's Office. All line function Ministries also bear responsibility. The RDP is the result of inputs from a broad spectrum of society.

The focus of the RDP is to combat unemployment and poverty by pursuing the following goals:

  1. Boosting production and household income through job creation, productivity and efficiency, improving conditions of employment and creating opportunities for all to sustain themselves through productive activity
  2. Improving living conditions through better access to basic services, health care, education and training
  3. Establishing a social security system and other safety nets to protect the poor, disabled, elderly and other vulnerable groups

Some of the strategies and programmes which have been devised to meet the above goals address issues of land reform, housing and service provision, water and sanitation, energy and electrification, telecommunications, transport, environment, nutrition and health care, social security and social welfare, and education and training.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement   

No information available.

Programmes and Projects 

Among the programmes being implemented are

  1. An Integrated Nutritional Project aimed at improving nutrition and linked to the production of goods that require cheap appropriate technologies which are environmentally friendly;
  2. The National Housing Programme aimed at provisions of housing and services while at the same time creating job opportunities and providing training. The programme has a high multiplier effect;
  3. Electrification Schemes designed to provide electricity on a mass scale to reduce dependance on wood and fossil fuels, thereby preventing deforestation and air pollution, improving health profiles as well as improving the living standards of women;
  4. A Growth and Development Strategy to improve the economic performance of the country by attracting foreign investment, stimulating export orientation and thereby creating jobs, stimulating small, micro and medium enterprises (SMME), businesses and environmentally based businesses;
  5. The Land Reform Programme, aimed at the redistribution and restitution of land to previously disadvantaged communities, especially women, with necessary support services such as training and education, thereby reducing dependence on marginal lands;
  6. The Water Supply Programme, also aimed at poorer, rural communities to improve living standards and equity in water provision, and focussing attention on the scarcity of water and its efficient utilization; and
  7. The Social Security and Welfare Systems, which are being revised so that targeted assistance is provided to the most severely affected sectors of society.

In order to take into account the special needs of the poor in its research on sustainable development, the scientific sector undertakes and/or reacts to needs analyses carried out by other organisations or government institutions, or conducts needs surveys on a contract basis for decision- makers. Examples of needs-related research include:

Status 

Poverty is the single greatest burden of the people of South Africa. Poverty afflicts millions of people, the majority of whom are women and rural dwellers. South Africa is also characterized by large scale unemployment in the formal sector of the economy (estimated at 40% of the economically active population). The increasing growth rate of the economically active population in conjunction with a declining or stagnant rate of growth of the GDP, implies that the level of unemployment is set to increase still further.

Challenges  

No information available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information available.

Information   

No information available.

Research and Technologies   

No information available.

Financing 

All line function ministries' budgets are to be revised and funds redirected to priority RDPs. Additionally, a central RDP fund is located in the Ministry of Finance. These funds can be accessed by NGOs and communities as well as line function departments for RDP priority.

Cooperation

Funds for the RDP and specific programmes of line function ministries have been secured mostly through development aid from foreign countries. Additionally, South Africa participates in all regional and international fora and organizations. Particular mention needs to be made of development programmes which have a regional development focus with South Africa's neighbours, such as Mozambique. These programmes help develop infrastructure in the region, as well as provide job opportunities and other economic benefits to the Southern African region.

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This information was provided by the Government of South Africa to the fifth and sixth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: December 1997.

For access to the White Paper for Social Welfare, click here:
For access to the White Paper on a New Employment Policy for the Public Service, click here:
For information on social welfare from the South African Communication Service WWW Page, click here:

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DEMOGRAPHICS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The National Population Unit in the Department of Welfare is responsible for overseeing the implementation of South Africa's Population Policy. Other sectoral departments, such as the Departments of Education, of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, of Health, of Home Affairs and others, are involved in implementing the Policy. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

No information available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

The new Population Policy was developed as a result of the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in September 1994 in Cairo. The ICPD links closely with several other international conferences and forums, such as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and the World Summit on Social Development. The goal of the policy is to bring about changes in the determinants of the country's population trends, so that these trends are consistent with the achievement of sustainable human development. Through the new policy, the South African Government acknowledges the current international development paradigm which places the population at the centre of development as its driving force and ultimate beneficiary. The reciprocal relationship between population, development and the environment is therefore inherent to the approach of the population policy. This means that the basic tenets of the policy concerns are multifaceted and that efforts to address them within the context of the national strategy should be multi sectoral. 

The objectives of the policy are to ensure:

-- the availability of reliable and up-to-date information on the population and human development situation in the country, in order to inform policy making as well as design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation at all levels and in all sectors;

-- the systematic integration of population factors into all policies, plans, programmes and strategies, aimed at enhancing the quality of life of the people at all levels and within the various sectors and institutions and government; and

-- a coordinated, multi sectoral, interdisciplinary and integrated approach in the design and implementation of programmes and interventions that impact on the major national population concerns.

The policy objectives will be achieved through 24 major strategies, of which only three are listed below:

-- Establishing and continuously updating a national statistical database and information system that will pool pertinent data and information from various departments, making such information accessible to the various planning units and the general public, in order to enhance the sharing and exchange of such information.

-- Ensuring environmental sustainability through comprehensive strategies which address population, production and consumption patterns independently as well as their interactions.

-- Advocating and facilitating measures that will enable women and girls to achieve their full potential.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement   

Besides government structures at national, provincial and local levels, relevant non governmental organisations and community-based organisations, as well as organisations representing civil society, are key stakeholders in implementing the Population Policy in South Africa.

Programmes and Projects   

Various programmes aimed at poverty eradication, especially concerning children under the age of five and women are underway.

Status   

No information available.

Challenges  

No information available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Capacity building at national and provincial levels is facilitated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other international agencies who are involved in South Africa.

Information   

No information available.

Research and Technologies   

No information available.

Financing 

The Government of South Africa is committed to providing the necessary resources to facilitate the implementation of the policy process. This process will be supplemented by contributions from international donor agencies.

Cooperation  

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has been involved in subregional co-operational in the field of population and development. A Southern African Ministerial Conference on Population and Development was held from 28 - 31 October 1996 in Pretoria, to explore and initiate collaboration in the field of population and development between countries in the SADC. Appropriate structures and institutional arrangements will be established to facilitate this collaboration. All relevant stakeholders in the subregion will be involved to promote population and development aims and objectives in the subregion.

See also under Capacity-building, education, Training and Awareness-raising.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of South Africa to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

For access to the Government's Draft White Paper on Population Policy, click here:

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HEALTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The Ministries of Development Planning and Local Government, Environmental Health, Land Affairs, Housing, Water Affairs and Forestry and Environmental Affairs are the decision-making bodies with regard to policy formulation. Policy development and implementation at the provincial level are executed in consultation with all relevant role players.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

Through the requirements of the Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act, rehabilitation of residue facilities at asbestos mines ensures that health risks are reduced in the urban and rural environments from environmental pollution and hazards.

The aim of the New Mine Health and Safety Act, 1996 (Act 29 of 1996) is to provide for the protection of the health and safety of employees and other persons at mines (working environment).

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

The provision of adequate and wholesome food, free from harmful ingredients (safe food) is one of the essential components of primary health care. Human health conditions are promoted by informing and educating consumers, law enforcers and the food industry on matters relating to food safety. The specific or operational objectives that have been planned with a view to achieving the broad objectives are as follows:

The control of communicable diseases is of national importance. The major focus is on tuberculosis, vaccines, preventable and vector-borne diseases, with highest priority given to the Expanded Development of Immunisation (EDI) and National Tuberculosis Control.

AIDS education is considered a priority. 

The Government believes that the provision of clean water, sanitation and housing is paramount in the promotion of human health. The Government supports the promotion of environmental management systems, including ISO 14000, in the private sector and in the Provincial Governments through awareness raising activities and the introduction of economic instruments to encourage self-regulation.

The Government seeks to ensure integration of environmental concerns into as many projects or developmental activities as possible, including the implementation of Agenda 21 principles through environment support services.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement   

Among the Major Groups active in the health area are the Abortion Rights Action Group, the Environmental Monitoring Group, Health Promotion Resource, and the National Progressive Primary Health Care Network.

Programmes and Projects 

Active involvement in rehabilitation of ownerless mines (specifically asbestos) and through the required Environmental Management Programme (EMPs) for mines, aims to ensure that environmental rights/impacts are addressed which have human health influences and risks.

The low smoke coal project intends to address respiratory problems due to smoke in underdeveloped communities, and includes research on exhaust fumes and safe supply of flammable and toxic products such as paraffin containers to communities using these products.

The implementation of a HIV/AIDS programme as a matter of urgency is reflected by the Government's decision to select this as one of four Presidential Lead Projects in the Department of Health. The Department of Education has unequivocally stated its intention to build partnerships with other government departments in order to realise the human resource development functions which they have in common.

Status   

No information available.

Challenges  

No information available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

See under Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans.

Information   

The Minister of Health established the National Health Information System Committee late in 1994. The committee was tasked to develop a National Health Information System for South Africa (NHIS/SA). The First National Conference was held in November 1994, which was the culmination of provincial workshops and the preparatory work for the consolidation of a set of indicators for the document: Health Goals, Objectives and Indicators Year 2000. Three broad objectives were set for the new NHIS/SA: a) Ensure availability of information for the management of health services which includes efficiency, cost, volume and coverage; b) Measure health status of South African Population; and c) Monitor the RDP priorities and measure the progress of implementation of RDP priorities.

Research and Technologies   

No information available.

Financing   

No information available.

Cooperation  

Regional and international collaboration on matters such as malaria control and the control of other epidemics is receiving attention. Assistance has been provided to Zaire during the Ebola virus outbreak during 1995. The National Institute of Virology in Johannesburg serves WHO as a reference laboratory for the identification of the polio virus.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of South Africa to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

For access to the White Paper on a National Sanitation Policy, click here:
For access to the White Paper for the Transformation of the Health System in South Africa, click here:
For access to the Medical Research Council of South Africa, click here:
For information on health from the South African Communication Service WWW Page, click here:
Click here to go to the Health and health-related statistical information from the World Health Organization.

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EDUCATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The Environmental Education divisions of the Provincial Environmental Departments are responsible for non-formal and informal environmental education. The goal is to introduce the concept of sustainable development and utilization of natural resources and ultimately to achieve a better environment and quality of life. For example, the Western Cape Province (Department of Education) encourages guides and coordinates school activities that are orientated towards the promotion of sustainable development through trade liberalisation. Young people are exposed to subjects and programmes that equip them with necessary skills and knowledge. Both Education with Production and Maritime Studies are pilot programmes which will make it possible for youth to understand that trade and environment are mutually supportive.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

Skills development legislation to build capacity and equity legislation are in preparation to bring about fairness in employment practices and enhance the capacity of disadvantaged groups. The following are mechanisms for promoting capacity-building:

The Skills Development Bill will provide an extensive institutional and financial framework for capacity-building initiatives. Core elements include the establishment of a framework which links development to formal sector activity. This is to be achieved by establishing a limited number of sectoral bodies. These will be linked with a set of industry-based training intermediaries that are required to address the skills needs of both the formal and informal segments of their labour markets.

In many instances, the private sector is more capable to provide skills necessary for sustainable development than the public sector. To optimise the chance of this capability being diffused from the private to the public sector, the training intermediaries will have both public sector and private sector partners. This will mean, for example, that the taxi industry (an emerging component of the transport industry) will gain access to some of the best training available under the Road Passenger Industry Training Board.

Participation in development planning programmes is already taking place in South Africa. This is done through the direct involvement of communities in establishing Land Development Objectives in terms of the Development Facilitation Act 67 of 1995, a process whereby each local authority determines what principles /objectives will guide development and planning in that area. Community water supply and sanitation projects undertaken in South Africa have a capacity-building component, in that community members are employed in the installation and maintenance of supply dams.

A budgetary control system and periodic report-backs are used to assess and monitor progress with capacity-building projects.

The South African Qualifications Authority Act 58 of 1995 provides a framework for standard setting and quality assurance. A complete record of credits under this system will be established and will provide important data on learning.

The Skills Development Bill will establish a system of planning, monitoring, evaluation and review. There will be a set of national guidelines against which such activities will occur at industry, sectoral and national level. An example of such guidelines is the requirement for each industry to develop plans to address the needs of SMMEs in its sector and to cooperate with development initiatives which require skills linked to its capabilities.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

The White Paper on Education and Training was published in 1995 and supports the incorporation of Environmental Education in curricula. The Department for Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEA & T), in collaboration with various partners, initiated the National Strategy on Environmental Education. This Strategy, called the Environmental Education Curriculum Initiative (EECI) is currently being developed, and aims to encourage wide-ranging participation in environmental education curriculum development.

The outcomes of the EECI will address environmental concerns, as all learning programmes have 'environment' as an organising concept according to which a range of outcomes and assessment criteria will be clustered.

The Draft Population Policy for South Africa acknowledges the interface between population, development and the environment. The Draft Policy contains references to the availability of non-renewable natural resources and unsustainable consumption and production patterns, in relation to population size, distribution and structure. Three of the major population concerns identified in the Policy relate to the issue of changing consumption and production patterns: (1) the pressure of the interaction of population, production and consumption patterns on the environment; (2) the high incidence and severity of poverty in both rural and urban areas; and (3) the inequities in access to resources, infrastructure and social services, particularly in rural areas, and implications for redistribution and growth and the alleviation of poverty. Accordingly, the major policy strategies include a strategy to ensure environmental sustainability through comprehensive and integrated strategies which address population, production and consumption patterns independently as well as in their interactions. Once the policy has been operationalised, these strategies will be implemented within the scope and functional responsibility of the relevant line function government departments, supported by the private sector and organisations of civil society, with adequate provision for intersectoral linkages.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement   

The Environmental Education Association of South Africa (EEASA) is an umbrella body representing most organisations in the environmental education and development fields. It organises annual conferences where people from various organisations can network. EEASA is involved in EEPI and EECI. The Free State Province has an environmental education section that cooperates with the Wildlife Society of South Africa, one of the major role players in environmental education in South Africa. There is also a private sector initiative underway to educate business sectors and workers on environmental matters. This project is still in its formative stage. A number of private initiatives are also funded by business groupings.

The development of the policy on environmental education is taking place through a comprehensive public consultative process. All major groups and sectors are involved in the process, including NGOs, Community-Based Organisations, Organised Labour, and Local, Provincial and National Government. Partnerships are formed to ensure the success of the project.

Various NGOs are involved in community development programmes through environmental education. Nature conservation departments in some provinces are implementing strategies to improve the living conditions of communities on the borders of nature reserves and national parks such as the Kruger National Park.

The private sector, NGOs, CBOs, Business, Industry and Organised Labour are actively involved in obtaining and disseminating information. Partnerships are formed through workshops at grass roots level, where information is disseminated and debated with communities.

Programmes and Projects 

A programme exists to improve the knowledge of labor standards and to build the capacity and skills of workers and trade unions to participate in collective bargaining. The programme promotes worker education and training programmes and also provides financial support to NGOs involved in research and the promotion of worker interests.

The following projects have been initiated according to the EECI:

Postgraduate certificates in environmental education are being introduced in universities and colleges for teachers and non-formal educators. For these purposes, it is important that various curriculum models for Environmental Education be considered and tested. Apart from international initiatives, locally developed models and initiatives should also be looked at. A national research project is envisaged in this regard.

In March 1997, the Minister for Education approved the Environmental Education Support Pilot Project to be implemented in two provinces, Gauteng and Mpumalanga, for an experimental period of three years. The Project will, after this period, be integrated into the new National Curriculum. The Project will provide learners with the knowledge, skills and values enabling them to engage in their environment in a sustainable way.

The aim of the Project is to support the provincial curriculum processes, through school-based curriculum development in the field of environmental education. Furthermore it will support the development of new methods of teacher support with programmes responsive to the needs of the teachers. The project will have two main sources of operation, namely curriculum development and in-service training. It will be monitored by the national Department of Education.

Other projects include the following:

1. The Eco Action Project, 1997 theme "Water our future", provides hands-on environmental education and entrepreneurial skills for community upliftment.

2. The School, Water Action Projects Consortium (SWAPCON) is monitoring community and educational water projects at different levels through a centralised database.

3. Water supply agencies such as Umgeni Water and Rand Water are running community education programmes.

4. Business and industry have formed a forum through various institutions to promote environmental education and sustainable development in business and industry.

The strategies for the Draft Population Policy will be complemented by advocacy and population information, education and communication (IEC) programmes targeted at leadership at all levels. IEC programmes will also be integrated into all relevant line function programmes. This includes the incorporation of population education (on the linkages between population dynamics and sustainable development) into school curricula in relevant learning areas at all levels.

Several initiatives have been initiated to raise awareness on water issues:

The DEA & T is engaged in innovative approaches to raise awareness through the utilisation of educational tools, such as posters, pamphlets, environmental competitions for youth groups, radio talks and the encouragement of environmental youth groups to embark on environmental projects in their community. The community is also involved in the development of the Policy on Environmental Education.

Tertiary institutions are also contributing to sustainable development by teaching and researching community empowerment techniques and conducting workshops in communities to develop environmental knowledge, skills and attitudes through environmental education.

Examples of innovative education, public awareness or training activities at national government level are:

1. Environmental education programmes in developing communities to enhance environmental literacy and enable them to act appropriately regarding their own environmental problems. This is accomplished by workshops with grassroots communities and the involvement of NGOs. Student organisations, such as the Congress of South African Students (COSAS), the South African Students Congress (SASCO) and the South African National Civics Organisation (SANCO), are supported in the development of environmental education initiatives.

Contact person: Mr S Mosidi, Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Private Bag X447, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa.

2. Publications are developed to raise awareness of and promote the following:
- The holistic concept of the environment;
- the cultural and historical aspects of the environment;
- the concept of "sustainability";
- the urban environment (Discover the City); and
- environmental literacy, knowledge, and skills.

Contact person: Mr S Mosidi, Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Private Bag X447, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa.

3. To commemorate World Population Day on 11 July 1997, a poster competition for the youth was launched. The theme was: "Challenges facing my family". Subthemes included:
- Education;
- reproductive health;
- societies;
- environment; and
- health

Contact person: Ms L van Staden, National Population Unit, Department of Welfare, Private Bag X901, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa.

4. A number of research projects have been approved through the EECI and sponsored by the Human Sciences Research Council to research various aspects of curriculum development and implementation of environmental education with sustainable development as an important component or approach.

Contact person: Prof C P Loubser, University of South Africa, P O Box 392, Pretoria, 0003, South Africa.

5. In regard to the Tswaing-project, tertiary institutions are writing environmental education programmes for all levels of learners in cooperation with the National Cultural History Museum and the community. The project is in line with some of the RDP's key programmes. Elements of the RDP which apply in particular to the Tswaing Project are the meeting of basic needs of the community and the development of human resources. The aim of the project is the integration of skills and disciplines, with the focus on sustainability. The process people-driven, relying on the involvement of local communities and other interested parties.

Contact person: Prof C P Loubser, University of South Africa, P O Box 392, Pretoria, 0003, South Africa.

Status 

General education in South Africa is sub-divided into three conceptual school phases, namely the Foundation Phase (Grades 1-3); Intermediate Phase (Grades 4-6), and Senior Phase (Grades 7-9). Eight learning areas, namely Language, Literacy & Communication; Mathematical Literacy, Mathematics & Mathematical Science; Natural Science; Human & Social Sciences; Technology; Arts & Culture; Economic & Management Sciences; and Life Orientation form the basis of all three phases. The curriculum follows an outcomes-based approach, which focuses on the achievement in terms of clearly defined outcomes, rather than teacher input in terms of syllabus content.

In the outcomes-based approach the emphasis is on two kinds of outcomes, namely critical cross-field outcomes and specific outcomes. Seven critical cross-field outcomes, which are generic and cross-curricular, underpin the learning process in all its facets. The specific outcomes are context-specific and informed by the critical outcomes.

The new curriculum provides a range of opportunities for extending the specific outcomes to include environmental concerns which can be included in the learning programmes and thus translated into teaching and learning activities and processes. Implementation of the new curriculum commences in January 1998. This initiative forms an integral part of the development of the new National Policy on Environmental Education.

As far as formal school education is concerned, learning programmes emphasise an integrated development of knowledge, skills and competence, including environmental concerns viewed from a socio-ecological and socio-historical perspective. This emphasises the sustainable development and management of the life-sustaining support systems, developing the actions and competencies needed to address and resolve environmental issues vital to South Africa's development.

Education is free up to Grade 9 in the formal school system. The historic inadequacy of school education, especially for black communities, had the effect that the majority of the adult population had inadequate or no schooling. Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) is a force for social participation and economic development, providing an essential component of all RDP programmes. One of the objectives of the National Education Policy is a national ABET Programme. It focuses on particular target groups that have historically missed out on education and training, and provides an appropriate ABET curriculum of which the standards will be fully incorporated in the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

South Africa has learned some practical lessons about capacity-building:

(I) integration:

A holistic view and understanding of the critical linkages between social and economic development and environmental concerns will enhance the integration of sustainable development principles into national development plans and policies.

A strong and accessible media campaign is also important to inform as many people as possible, especially at national level. The more information is provided, the more comfortable people feel in participating.

The integration of The Labour Laws Act 49 of 1994 integrated the labour laws of the former TBVC states and self-governing territories into the national development plans and policies. The main capacity-building requirement was training, which the ILO assisted with.

(ii) participation:

The partners of National Government include provincial and local stakeholders/experts, as well as sectors such as Business, Industry, Organised Labour, Community Based Organisations and NGOs. Partners in capacity-building also include local experts/practitioners operating in different fields of development which relate to specific expert issues. These experts/stakeholders operate at national and subnational levels and include specialists in governmental bodies and NGOs. In addition, specialists from other countries who have gained practical experience over the years can make useful inputs in building the capacity of local practitioners with less experience. Close collaboration is also established with research institutions and academics from local and foreign universities in order to learn from them about capacity-building, especially with regard to the interrelated activities of policy-making and planning and sustainable development.

Women are an important group, particularly in rural areas, which is targeted by capacity building programmes. Women are the traditional custodians of natural resources in the rural areas, and they are also the people who suffer the most from degradation of water and other natural resources. Empowering women through access to information on how to manage their environment promotes access to safe and sustainable resources.

(iii) information:

Information collected by departments and institutions must be readily available and accessible to support integrated policy-making and planning. This requires effective collaboration and the development of expertise and skills for data collection and processing, as well as for the dissemination thereof. Government departments and institutions, such as the Central Statistical Service, are also considered major stakeholders in building capacity.

Challenges  

South Africa is fortunate to have some, albeit limited, skilled capacity in engineering, technical and economic disciplines. However, that expertise needs to be balanced sufficiently with understanding of the issues involved in natural resources management, encompassing as they do the complexities of ecological and social systems, and the often difficult task of incorporating social, cultural and personal values into decision making processes.

The history of South Africa has been such that there are now, at this critical time, few people who are suitably educated and qualified in the planning and development of policy and infrastructure. The shortage of skilled leaders in this field, rather than any lack of will or resources, may be the single greatest influence on our country's progress towards sustainable development. Knowledge and skills in research, research management as well as foresight enhance the capabilities needed for sustainable development.

South Africa needs management, policy-making and planning skills, backed up by knowledge and expertise in the field of development resources, to manage policies and development resources. These capacities include the need for a sufficient number of graduates within appropriate profiles to support monitoring, advisory and policy development functions in government and the private sector.

One of the requirements under the proposed Skills Development Bill is that each training intermediary will have to liaise with the key planners in its sector on future trends and initiatives (including government development plans at national, provincial and local level) and identify training priorities and targets.

In order to manage change and articulate a long-term vision, South Africa also needs management skills, the ability to analyse the present situation, the ability to access relevant information (e.g. the state of the environment and resources in terms of the country's socio-economic situation), and the capacity to be flexible to adapt to changing circumstances.

The most important capacity requirement is to instill realism in the determination of development policies and strategic orientation and their time frame for implementation. Capability to identify the problem areas on the basis of a scientific situation analysis, and the capability to choose the best alternative to address the concerns, are also very important.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

The Policy on Environmental Education will promote the education and empowerment of South Africa's people. It will increase their awareness of, and concern for, environmental issues, and assist in developing the knowledge, skills, values and commitment necessary to achieve sustainable development.

Radio, television, literature and training are the media utilised as tools to assist with the implementation of national policy at national and provincial levels. The DEA&T is the main coordinator of such programmes at national level; and implementation at provincial level takes place through provincial and local government bodies. Various donor organisations are involved in the policy development processes, such as the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), DANCED and NORAD.

In terms of sustainable development, South Africa needs to build technical capacity in respect of scientists, engineers and technologists. The FRD is the government institution responsible for the funding of scientific research and training at tertiary institutions, as well as the maintenance of two observatories and one accelerator centre. Academic research and tertiary teaching capacity in the natural and human sciences are maintained at sixteen universities and fifteen technikons. The latter qualify as so-called technological universities. There are also five science councils with considerable scientific capacity in agriculture, the natural environment, engineering and medical sciences. There still remains specialist research capacity within and associated to various government departments, although this capacity is limited.

Information 

The FRD publishes information on the use and development of human resources through a set of various indicators. Likewise, the Department of Arts, Science, Culture and Technology publishes surveys on human and capital resources support on research and development during specific periods.

The electronic and print media are used to reach most of the people of South Africa to disseminate relevant information and to sensitise decision-makers and partners at all levels to sustainable development. Capacity-building in the field of information technology is of the utmost importance to support the flow of information in the decision-making process. Computer literacy is a critical need in all sectors as technological advancement brings rapid access to national and international data.

South Africa is in the process of developing a national State of the Environment Report. This Report will serve as a basis for assessing the current status of natural resources and for identifying emerging trends and issues. It will provide decision makers, politicians and all major groups with the latest information on the environment. In electronic format, the report will ensure that scientific findings are brought to the desks of the decision-makers, to ensure effective and informed decision-making.

State of the Environment Reports for cities are also being produced. These will further give decision-makers and communities who have to participate in the decision making, access to information on an equal basis.

South Africa is also in the process of developing an integrated water resource database, which will allow wide access to electronic information on many aspects of water resources.

Research and Technologies   

See under Financing.

Financing 

Funding is limited and difficult to obtain. Every organisation in this field faces budget cuts every year, while the financial burden grows due to inflation on the one hand and the rapidly growing population on the other hand. The state is responsible for most labour activity costs. Sponsorships are received for activities such as workshops, courses, and competitions. from NGOs and private companies.

South Africa has a unique funding scheme to improve its industrial competitiveness, called the Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme (THRIP). THRIP is designed to foster scientific and technological collaboration and capacity-building in industry, higher education and government science, engineering and technology institutions. Government and industry provide funding on a matching basis for research projects, addressing the needs of the sponsoring companies. A pre-condition of THRIP is that all its projects have to incorporate human resource development for industry through the education of postgraduate students. THRIP invested approximately US$ 12 million in the development of people and technology skills during 1996.

Cooperation

The Western Cape Province also enjoys collaboration with other developing countries in Environmental Education programmes through partnership with organisations that are based in universities, technikons, and businesses. These include the Environmental Capacity Enhancement Programme (ECEP), the Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa (EEASA), the Two Oceans Aquarium, NGOs and CBOs. As a result of this partnership, skills knowledge and technical knowhow come from a multi-disciplinary source.

South Africa has extensive donor contacts and is reporting to them, e.g. the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in respect of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to build sustainable institutionalised industrial dispute resolution capacity.

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This information was provided by the Government of South Africa to the fifth and sixth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: December 1997.

For access to the Government's Draft White Paper on Higher Education, click here:
For access to the White Paper A Programme for the Transformation of Higher Education, click here:
For access to the White Paper on Public Service Training and Education, click here:
For information on education from the South African Communication Service WWW Page, click here:

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HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The Department of Land Affairs has established a new Directorate: Land Use Advisory Services with the purpose of optimizing the utilization of land for land reform. Functions of the directorate include, inter alia, the development of mechanisms to promote effective land use management and planning.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The Development Facilitation Act is aimed at expediting the identification and release of land for development, particularly for housing.

Through the requirements of the Minerals Act, 1996, the Department of Minerals and Energy promotes responsible environmental management during the mining of materials to ensure that potential environmental damage to the resource base is addressed while concurrently providing for sustainable construction activities and ultimately, sustainable human settlement.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

The Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) is the policy framework for the government's Urban Development and Rural Development Frameworks aimed at promoting sustainable human settlements in South Africa. These Frameworks are currently in draft form and have been published for comment. It is envisaged that they will be finalized as policy Frameworks to guide provincial and local governments. Within these policy Frameworks various development programmes have been launched. 

South Africa's Urban Development Strategy has been released as a discussion document. Integrating the Cities and Managing Urban Growth aims to negate apartheid-induced segregation, certain fragmentation and inequality. Investing in Urban Development involves upgrading and the construction of new housing, restoring and extending infrastructure services, alleviating environmental health hazards, encouraging investment, and providing job opportunities and social and community facilities. Building Habitable and Safe Communities pursues social, economic and physical development. Promoting Urban Economic Development and Creating Institutions for Delivery requires significant transformation and capacity-building. 

The Government has put an emphasis on the Habitat II agreement of June 1995 in the form of integration of environmental concerns into development plans. It participates in national, provincial and local policy matters of direct relevance to environmental impact management through evaluation of applications for new businesses, housing developments, land rezoning applications, and so forth, on a daily basis. Input is in the form of written comments, public hearings, committees and fora. This is particularly important in the implementation of the new Development Facilitation Act, which is designed to facilitate development and the formulation of the Land Development Objectives by each local authority.

The Government also engages in Structure Planning ( insistence on quality environmental input and public participation) and the assessment of development applications (which mainly focus on on-site impacts guided by Structure plans and input from environmental organizations and authorities). Major environmental issues such as energy, water and (solid) waste management are not integrated with spatial planning.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement   

See under Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans.

Programmes and Projects 

The Special Presidential Projects on Urban Renewal aim to kick-start development in selected urban areas in crisis. Urban Infrastructure Investment involves facilitating the development of city and local infrastructure investment plans and enhancing the efficiency of the urban sector. The Rehabilitation and Extension of Municipal Services comprises the rehabilitation of infrastructure systems and ensures the provision of basic municipal services. The Masakhane Campaign is aimed at building a sense of individual responsibility towards the community and encouraging payment for housing and services, thereby stabilizing the environment.

To address current urban problems, healthy cities projects have been introduced in two South African cities, namely Johannesburg and Pretoria. The projects seek to enhance the physical, mental, social and environmental well being of people that live and work in cities.

Problems are experienced in most of the large cities with informal settlements which do not have bulk services and therefore have a significant impact on the environment. Educational and community projects are in existence which show the benefits of sustainable living.

Local Economic Development programmes will be encouraged to expand employment opportunities. 

Status   

Local Economic Development Fora will be drawn from a wide range of role-players. The National Urban Reconstruction and Housing Agency is tasked with expediting housing delivery within metropolitan areas. Project Preparation Facilities are being established in the provinces to give them the capacity to plan projects with community involvement at the city and local level. The Forum for Effective Planning and Development will reappraise and reform the urban and regional planning system in South Africa. 

Challenges

In South Africa, many of the problems of human settlements arise from a combination of inadequate and inappropriate planning as well as the failure to implement appropriate plans already in existence. The challenge however, is not only how to direct urban growth but also how to mobilize human, financial and technical resources and to ensure that social, economic and environmental needs are adequately addressed. Assistance in the forms of skills, knowledge and technical know-how should come from the United Nations, the national Government, municipalities, NGOs, universities, research centres and business and other private organisations. Local role players will need to take advantage of training and capacity building programmes in order to maximise their communities' opportunities for development. Effective capacity building requires the interaction of experience-by-doing, access to resources, facilitation, mediation and training. For this to happen the services of the previously mentioned role players, with funding from donors, and the National Development Agency will be required.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information available.

Information   

No information available.

Research and Technologies   

No information available.

Financing   

No information available.

Cooperation  

Financial contributions come from the state and are supplemented with funding from the private sector, communities and donor countries. Various donors have contributed to projects in the area of human settlements development. Longstanding agreements with neighbouring countries on settlement and provision of jobs for migrant labourers are continuously reviewed.

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This information was provided by the Government of South Africa to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

For information on housing from the South African Communication Service WWW Page, click here:
Click here to access "Best Practices for Human Settlements"
For information related to human settlements and refugees, you may access the UNHCR Country Index by clicking here:

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