Sustainability

The EU Delegation in South Africa recently engaged with national, provincial and local South African government stakeholders, as well as representatives from industry and civil society, in an online dialogue on the theme of green SMME recovery.

This engagement forms part of various initiatives in the build-up to the #Team Europe Climate Diplomacy Week, which runs from 14 – 23 September.

The online dialogue event was hosted by GreenCape, with the financial support of the European Union’s Partnership Instrument and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU) in the context of the International Climate Initiative (IKI).

“The EU and South Africa are long-term strategic partners, and this partnership includes initiatives to help realise green recovery opportunities,” said Ambassador Riina Kionka, EU Ambassador to South Africa.

“Global solidarity, open and fair trade and multilateralism are more important than ever, and we need to join forces to define together global approaches and standards for a green recovery,” she added.

The event forms part of a three-fold project that has green economic recovery from the COVID-19 crises as its impetus, with a particular interest in supporting green SMME recovery, also through policy input.

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Economic transformation

The project includes two stakeholder engagement dialogue events, financial support to a cohort of green SMMEs through the Green Outcomes Fund, as well as a policy input document to be presented to National Treasury’s The Jobs Fund.

Approaches to green SMME recovery

In the build-up to the first event, green economy and policy experts from various national government departments were engaged to provide input into the green SMME focussed themes that were discussed by speakers and participants during the event.

The government departments included National Treasury’s The Jobs Fund, the Department of Science and Innovation, the Presidency, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries and the Department of Small Business Development.

The plenary session speakers included green economy policy and SMME support experts from the dti, the EU Delegation in SA, National Treasury’s The Jobs Fund, the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), E3G and FNB. The breakout room discussions centred around:

1) economic and financial approaches to green SMME recovery,
2) local and international networks and structures available for green SMME support,
3) key metrics for support interventions, and
4) barriers faced by green SMMEs.

The breakout rooms were hosted by representatives from Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS), Clean International, Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), National Treasury’s The Jobs Fund and the EU Delegation in SA.

Insights about current international and South African green recovery approaches and initiatives, and barriers to implementation, can inform policy development towards investment practices that can aid the just transition.

To access the recording of the plenary session, visit the GreenCape.