Climate Change and Trade: The Challenges for Southern Africa (Oct 2009)

Image: Flickr, PROWorld Bank Photo Collection
Image: Flickr, PROWorld Bank Photo Collection

Climate change, in part a result of rising greenhouse gas emissions, is seen as the most pressing environmental problem of our time.

The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) marks the first step towards an international response to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. As the Kyoto Protocol comes up for review in 2012, negotiations towards the formulation of its successor are underway and will culminate in a Conference of Parties (COP) meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009 with a view to agree on a more ambitious, inclusive and effective international response.

The UNFCCC requires that action on climate change must strike a balance between the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to the impacts of climate change on the environment, economic prosperity and development. However, the negotiation and implementation of such a broad compromise is complex and highly politicised, hence there are a range of unresolved policy questions with various implications for Southern African countries.

In advance of the Copenhagen Summit SAIIA hosted a high-level regional conference in October 2009 to examine these policy options with a specific focus on the tension in the economy-climate policy nexus. The conference’s aim was to highlight key competitive, technological and market issues that African countries need to consider as they head to Copenhagen. In addition, the conference explored how potential policy choices of developed and emerging economies, particularly the largest emitters, will affect Southern African countries; whether the current interplay between trade and climate change regimes is sustainable; what the region’s technology and financing needs are for tackling climate change; and what are the preferred mechanisms for tapping into these resources. Finally, the conference provided insight into how four case-study countries (South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia) are grappling with the potential economic and social impacts of climate change and its potential trade and investment consequences.

Monday, 26 October

09h00-09h30      Registration

09h30-10h00      Welcome and Introduction

Joe Mollo, National Council Member, SAIIA [opening remarks]

10h00-11h20      Setting the Scene

Moderator: Joe Mollo, National Council Member, SAIIA

                           Presenter: Mr. Soren Asp Mikkelsen, Deputy Head of Mission,
Danish Embassy’50 Days Before Copenhagen: State of Play and How
we Get There’ [speech]

Mr. Peter Draper, Head Development through Trade Programme,
SAIIA ‘Trade and Climate Change: A view from South Africa’

11h20-11h45      Tea break

11h45-13h00      Session One: Towards Copenhagen: Issues and Opportunities

This session will deal with the politics of climate change and what is
required to move the negotiations forward. The session will also discuss
the potential opportunities that might arise if and when a deal is concluded.
What are the key hurdles the negotiators will have to overcome if they are
to achieve a breakthrough? What role do global coalitions such as the
G77, the Africa Group, the Major Economies Initiative and others play in
shaping the negotiations on climate change? How are key actors
positioning themselves to take advantage of the negotiations? What are the
emerging threats and opportunities concerning trade and investment within
the evolving climate change regimes?

Moderator: John Smith, Head Climate Change Team, British High

Presenter: Bernice Lee, Research Director, Energy, Environment
and Resource Governance, Chatham House [presentation]

                            Discussants: Dr. Marco Vieria, Visiting Lecturer in International
Relations, Kings College London          

13h00-14h00      Lunch break

14h00-15h15      Session Two: Multilateral Trade Policies and Measures in post-Kyoto

The international climate change and trade (World Trade Organisation)
regimes have proceeded on parallel lines, yet there may be scope for
integrating the two in post-2012 structures. This session will discuss the
potential linkages between the two regimes, the challenges that climate
change poses for trade policy, and the prospects for fostering linkages
between the two regimes for the purpose of combating the effects of
climate change.

                          Moderator: Bernice Lee, Research Director, Energy, Environment
and Resurce Governance, Chatham House

                          Presenter: Prof. Loretta Ferris, University of Cape Town

Discussant: Dr. Brendan Vickers,Senior Researcher:Multilateral
Trade, Institute for Global Dialogue, SA

15h15-15h45      Tea break

15h45-17h30      Session Three: African Issues: Technology Policies and Financing Climate

Technology policies will play a pivotal role in reducing greenhouse gas
emissions and Southern Africa must identify its technology needs and
indicate the circumstances under which technology transfer is likely to be
enhanced. Furthermore, the Bali Action Plan calls for improved access to
adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources as well as
technical support to developing countries to assist with the mitigation of
and adaptation to climate change. This session will explore the region’s
technological needs as well as the challenges to technology transfers,
including trade-related tools and finance.

                          Moderator: Jorge Maia, Head of Research, IDC

                          Presenters: Dr. Samantha Gregory, Samantha Gregory Attorneys
Sheila Kiratu, Researcher, SAIIA [presentation]

                          Discussants: Dr Fariborz Zelli, German Development Institute

17h30-18h30      Cocktail Reception


Tuesday, 27 October

09h30-10h45      Session Four: Projected Impacts of Climate Change on Southern Africa

Based on extensive climate change modelling, this session will highlight
potential climate change impacts on Southern Africa. This sets the scene
for the discussion of how climate change sensitive sectors could affect
vulnerable communities in the case studies presented in session five.

Moderator: Dr. Anthony Turton, University of the Free State

                           Presenter: Dr Francois Engelbrecht, Head, Atmospheric Modelling
Unit, Natural and Environment, CSIR [if you wish to view this
presentation please send your request to]

10h45-11h00      Tea Break

11h00-12h30      Session Five: The Economic and Social Impacts of Climate Change on
selected Southern African Countries – South Africa and Botswana (part1)

This session will highlight the livelihood changes that may be triggered by
climate change in the region. It will discuss the main threats and
opportunities for the region from a country-case perspective; the policy
implications in terms of mitigation, adaptation, technology development
and transfer; financial requirements; capacity building; and the interface
between trade and climate change. Apart from reviewing the individual
country interests and approaches to the negotiations, this session will
highlight key challenges and opportunities for collaboration in the region.

                          Moderator: Peet du Plooy, Trade and Investment Adviser, World
Wildlife Fund

                          Presenters: Romy Chevallier, Researcher,  SAIIA [presentation]
Victoria Ndzinge, Associate Researcher, BIDPA

                          Discussant: Solveig Crompton, Policy Analyst, Environment Sector
Trade Development, DEAT

12h30-13h15      Lunch

13h15-14h45      Session Five (part 2): The Economic and Social Impacts of Climate
Change in selected Southern African Countries – Mozambique and

Moderator: Dr. Donald Chimanikire, University of Zimbabwe 

                           Presenters: Gilberto Biacuana, Economist, FNB [working paper]
Humphrey Mulemba, Analyst, JCTR [working paper]

                           Discussant: Hugh Cole, Oxfam GB, Southern Africa

 14h45 – 15h45    Discussion of Case Studies

15h45-16h00      Tea break

16h00-17h15      Summary of discussions and recommendations

                           Moderator: Peter Draper, SAIIA

                           Presenter: Ivan Mbirimi, Independent Trade Consultant