South Africa’s transition to a greener economy features prominently in the long-term development vision of the country, and is an integral part of the country’s national climate change response strategy. Despite significant gains in socio-economic development since its transition to democracy, the country continues to face the triple challenges of rising unemployment, income inequality and poverty – amid a slowdown in economic growth. Sustainability transitions offer new ways of shifting the trajectory of South Africa’s resource-intensive economy towards low-carbon pathways linked to the country’s transformative development agenda.
Calls for inclusive approaches to greening the South African economy, which addresses the most vulnerable in society and ensures that the benefits of sustainability innovations reach all South Africans, are becoming more pronounced as sustainable development policy reforms are being implemented. The question that should be placed centre stage in South Africa’s sustainability discourse is whether notions of justice and inclusivity are being sufficiently addressed in the design and implementation of policy and programme interventions.
This book explores South Africa’s sustainability transition through reflections on critical policy, economic, technological, social and environmental drivers. It provides a synthesis of theoretical insights, including new models and concepts, and praxis through illustrations from South Africa’s growing landscape of sustainable development policies and programmes. Finally, it assesses whether these transition pathways are beginning to reconfigure the system-level structures hindering the country’s goal of ‘ensuring environmental sustainability and an equitable transition to a low-carbon economy’.
Table of Contents
1. South Africa’s Transition to Sustainability: An Overview Najma Mohamed 2. Reaping the Socio-Economic Benefits of an Inclusive Transition to Sustainability Brent Cloete, Samantha Munro and Nolwazi Sokhulu 3. Climate Change and Vulnerability in South Africa: Sustainability Transitions in a Changing Climate? Coleen Vogel and Mark Swilling 4. Sustainability Transitions and Employment in South Africa: A Multi-Dimensional Approach Gaylor Montmasson-Clair 5. Policies for Sustainability Transformations in South Africa: A Critical Review Najma Mohamed and Gaylor Montmasson-Clair 6. Transitioning South Africa’s Finance System towards Sustainability Chantal Naidoo 7. The Role of National Systems of Innovation in South Africa’s Sustainability Transition Shanna Nienaber 8. Green Skills: Transformative Niches for Greening Work Presha Ramsarup, Eureta Rosenberg, Heila Lotz-Sisitka and Nicola Jenkin 9. Creating Partnerships to Sustain Value Chantal Ramcharan-Kotze and Johan Olivier 10. Inclusive Sustainability Transitions Najma Mohamed
Najma Mohamed is a Senior Climate and Environmental Specialist who has worked in national and international research and civil society organisations on the promotion and mainstreaming of environmental sustainability in development policies and processes.
"Sustainability transitions must be embedded in a country’s long-term development vision and constitute an integral part of the national climate change response strategy. This book, written by a cohort of leading thinkers and practitioners, explores inroads to achieving just transitions in South Africa." — Cecilia Kinuthia-Njenga, Head, UN Environment, office in South Africa
"This is an important book, charting the way forward for ‘just transitions’ to sustainability in South Africa. Given South Africa’s deep inequalities, the inheritance of the apartheid era, exploring how justice and sustainability combine in a new politics of transformation to sustainability is essential. This book is a vital guide for students, activists and policymakers alike." — Ian Scoones, co-director ESRC STEPS Centre, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK
"This book offers a useful guide to South Africa's transition to a low-carbon economy focusing on social justice and sustainable development (resource efficiency). An important contribution in a world seeking champions of a new development path centred on people and nature." — Lorenzo Fioramonti, Centre for Governance Innovation, University of Pretoria, South Africa
"This collection of essays is a timely and profound contribution to the analysis of South Africa's low-carbon transition debate and process. The compendium as it stands will go a long way in establishing our state of knowledge and thinking that others can build on. South Africa's transition process is complex and often convoluted. If somebody were looking for an authoritative appraisal of the situation, this book should be the first port of call." — Saliem Fakir, Head: Policy and Futures Unit, WWF South Africa
"Sustainability Transitions in South Africa sheds light on the imperatives of social justice and economic inclusion as two central dimensions of South Africa’s gradual shift towards a greener economy. It underscores the importance of human dimensions, not just as co-benefits, but also indispensable enablers of economic transformation towards environmental sustainability." — Moustapha Kamal Gueye, Coordinator: Green Jobs Programme, International Labour Organization, Switzerland
"This is a well written book that makes an important contribution in understanding South Africa’s transition to a low carbon development trajectory and poses very challenging questions that the country has to grapple with in building an inclusive economy." — Mao Amis, Executive Director, African Centre for a Green Economy, South Africa