Summary of the Free State Province Climate Change Adaptation Response Strategy
Free State Province, together with the rest of the country, is highly vulnerable to climate change and its impacts. The South Africa government,
through the National Climate Change Response Policy (2011) as well as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2013) have acknowledged
the importance of responding to and adapting to these changes. Responding to climate change requires a multi-stakeholder and multi-sectorial approach,
given the wide ranging impacts to be expected as a result of increases in temperatures, heat waves, very hot days and dry spell days. While many efforts are
on-going at different scales to mitigate the production of greenhouse gases, climate change will continue to be felt for decades to come.
The changes in climate will have wide ranging impacts in the province and responding to these changes will require changes in processes, practices, and
structures to reduce potential damage and maximise opportunities associated with climate change. These responses are best carried out at the local level,
which is where most impacts will be felt and also where the tools necessary for mitigation and adaptation, as well as the planning instruments, are found.
Vulnerability to climate change is complex and dynamic and is a function of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity.
Adaptive capacity refers to the ability of a system or community to change or modify itself to reduce potential damage or cope with the consequences of
shocks or stress such as climate variability and extremes. It is a dynamic process. Adaptive capacity is influenced by factors such as availability of natural,
financial and skilled human resources; social and institutional networks; technology; level of human development; and political will of governments (UNEP, 2011).
The adaptive barriers/constraints that result from external factors often become reinforced by the internal institutional processes, norms and values that are held
by officials. Institutional structures, policies and other legal instruments at national and province level are essential in responding to climate change and in building
the resilience of sectors such as water, agriculture and disaster management. High levels of social vulnerability create challenges that compromise adaptive capacity
in the province in sectors such as water and environmental management. Addressing these social vulnerabilities will promote resilience to climate change and its impacts
The Free State provincial government has undertaken a proactive approach to respond to and adapt to the challenges posed by climate change. The impacts of and
vulnerabilities to climate change vary across regions, economic sectors, social groups and types of systems, and as such there is need for case specific vulnerability
assessments (we Adapt, 2014). The impacts on the following sectors are covered by the strategy:
Water resources (rivers, wetlands and groundwater)
Built environment (infrastructure)
Human health and social vulnerability
Climate Change Awareness Campaigns
Awareness campaigns have been rolled out to the communities in the 5 district municipalities as well as the Metropolitan Municipality, together in partnership with
the departments special programmes targeting women and youth. The following key Milestones where archived
- Convened workshops on the National Climate Change Response strategy; Green Paper
- Convened Provincial Climate change and pre COP 17 Summit (WEHAB)
- Free State Province Climate Change Strategy Approved
- Convened a Climate Change Bill workshop
- Convened the Local Government Support Draft Strategy
- Workshop with sectors focus and climate change being key