Media release: South Africa calls for a fairer world trading system that embraces climate change

Parliament, Monday 4 December 2023 – Sir. Cedric Frolick, House Chairman of the Committee, Oversight and ICT in the National Assembly today called for a fairer world trading system that embraces broader principles, including climate change. Mr. Frolick participated in Climate Change 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) Global Legislators Organization (GLOBE) event held today under the theme: “Remaking Sustainable Trade for a Climate Safe Future”.

The conference is currently underway in Dubai, where a multi-party delegation from both houses of parliament is participating as part of the national country delegation.

Frolick reaffirmed the support of South African parliamentarians for participation in multilateral institutions and the harmonization of the differences that may arise due to the different views held by parliamentarians from developing countries as it relates to current trade arrangements.

He said this commitment is underscored by the recently adopted African Leaders’ Nairobi Declaration on Climate Change and Call to Action. This declaration recognizes climate change as the single greatest challenge facing humanity and the greatest single threat to all life on earth, requiring swift and concerted action by all nations to lower emissions and reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

According to him, South Africa has also shown its commitment through the first climate change bill passed by the National Assembly recently. The bill is currently being considered by the National Council of Provinces. Frolick said a big element of the legislation is that regulations will also focus on commerce. He reminded the delegates that South Africa is a developing country struggling with the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment. At the heart of tackling these three challenges, he said, is creating more jobs, especially green jobs.

Frolick also reaffirmed South Africa’s commitment to a post-COVID-19 recovery that is green. It is in this spirit that parliamentarians monitor the government’s implementation of the Green Climate Fund and the green jobs that are created.

He emphasized the glaring gap of responsibility for environmental damage caused by industrialized nations and called on them to take responsibility for the ongoing losses and damages inflicted on developing countries. Sir. Frolick lamented the broken promises and deliberate delays in climate action, highlighting the erosion of trust caused by these renegotiated promises. He pointed out that while developed countries readily allocate funds to wars, they show a strong reluctance to honor their climate finance commitments. He also made a fervent appeal to parliamentarians from developed countries to demonstrate the same urgency in meeting climate pledges.

Mr. Frolick further emphasized the crucial role of parliamentarians in voting on various agreements made by their governments. He expressed deep concern over the EU’s decision to introduce the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), stressing the devastating economic impact it would have on industries in South Africa. He strongly advocated that the principle of equity in climate action be respected, and for flexibility and differentiated responsibilities in the implementation of CBAM rules to mitigate its potential harmful effects.


Inquiries: Moloto Mothapo

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