Category: National governments, Policies and measures

South Africa Climate Action Tracking and Evaluation System

Aether worked with Gondwana Environmental Solutions to support South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) to develop an innovative online platform for gathering, analysing and reporting climate mitigation and adaptation actions. The system acts as a central registry for climate actions alongside associated climate challenges, targets, support needed, wider impacts and indicators.

The challenge

Coordinating decisive and ambitious decision making for climate action requires sustainable data flows and strong institutional arrangements. The transient nature of governmental departments can cause significant and regular loss of institutional memory making regular reporting of climate action a challenge.

Commitments under the Paris Agreement (Article 13) require the transparent reporting of climate action. New data collection, analysis and reporting activities must usually be integrated within the operations of existing organisations and organisational structures. Therefore, the challenge lies in implementing a system which enables capacity to meet national and international reporting needs whilst also engaging stakeholders through evidence of the wider impacts of climate action on other national strategies.

The solution

Aether developed a transparent evidence-based data system to drive decisive air pollution and climate action. Through structured data collection, data management and facilitation of communication, the system supports the development and tracking of integrated adaptation and mitigation actions. It was implemented through Aether’s cloud-based centralised platform to provide multi-stakeholder access. This system was customised throughout the duration of the project to meet South Africa’s specific organisational structures and data gathering needs and is called South Africa’s Tracking and Evaluation System.
 
The project involved rapid deployment of a collaborative, flexible information management system in line with the standardised approach described above to build a sustainable and transparent system to track climate action. This approach enables support teams and national actors to optimise their efforts to support climate action decision makers and for reporting.

The design and nomenclature used within the system was developed in collaboration with members of DEFF, and therefore reflects the priorities of the users and ensures that the language used is consistent with other data management systems currently in use. For example, a key priority for the team was that the system be able to automatically produce outputs for the compilation of the Biennial Update Report (BUR). Automatic output tables were generated which summarise the contents of the system in the structure and format of South Africa’s BUR tables.
 
Aether developed a public facing data visualisation to show the data and information held within the system. This allows users to explore and analyse the data and ensures that stakeholders can recognise their actions in the context of climate policy, or any other national strategy. It also provides a tool for engaging with the public on climate actions.

The project also delivered training on the system’s use to members of DEFF’s adaptation and mitigation teams to ensure the continuity of the system.

The result

This project saw the rapid deployment of a bespoke climate action tracking system designed to meet the needs and priorities of South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The online system now serves as the central registry for South Africa’s climate action. Aether’s approach ensures the sustainability of the system through training and capacity building, it is envisaged that South Africa will use the system directly to produce their 4th BUR in February 2020. 

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Alina Novikova, UN/ECE Secretariat

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Umweltbundesamt: Environment Agency Austria

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Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research

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