The Hon. Cedric T. Frolick MP is House Chairperson, National Assembly of South Africa and President of GLOBE South Africa
"We can see from the study that there is an extensive and diverse stock of climate-related legislation across the 66 countries.
Reflecting the diversity of our economies, there is no "one size fits all" approach. Each country must develop its own nationally appropriate legislative responses to climate change. But that is not to say that we should all start from the beginning and re-invent the wheel. As legislators develop their response to climate change, many of the laws on the books in other countries will be relevant, whether it's on energy efficiency, promoting domestic low carbon sources of energy, creating incentives for new low carbon technologies or strengthening the resilience of our infrastructure to the increasing impacts of climate change.
That is why the GLOBE study, and the GLOBE Partnership For Climate Legislation, are so important. GLOBE provides a space where we, as legislators, can share experience, learn about what has worked and, importantly, what hasn't worked.
We can identify those countries that have faced similar challenges and talk face-to-face, legislator-to-legislator, to benefit from that experience. And where there is not yet experience to draw from, we can work through challenges together.
There is no other process or organisation that provides such an opportunity for us, as legislators, to engage with each other in such a comprehensive, substantial and focused way.
Many of the laws contained in this study have been driven by GLOBE members and are stronger because of their engagement in the GLOBE process. That engagement has made those laws stronger by ensuring they learn from the experiences of others. This, in turn, makes the laws more effective. And that is what we are here for – to develop an effective legislative response to climate change that is nationally appropriate to our respective countries.
But our responsibilities do not end there. It is imperative that we, as legislators, ensure that the cost of a climate change law is estimated and budgeted for, to ensure effective implementation. We must ensure that targets contained in the law are worked into deliverable programmes for government departments with precise targets to ensure effective oversight of government departments and entities in terms of budget for those programmes, time frameworks and obvious results on the ground. Committees need to be scientific, precise and deliberate in deepening the culture of accountability and transparency.
Parliaments should pay due attention to the commitments that their respective governments make on multilateral forums, such as at Conference of the Parties (COP) meetings. The pledges that governments make in such gatherings must be reflected in domestic climate legislation, and its implementation overseen by legislators to ensure that we all "walk the talk" for the good of out citizenry and the global community, considering the cross-border benefits of proper domestic climate change actions.
Parliaments need to develop their corresponding Parliamentary International Relations Divisions to ensure cooperation with other parliaments and regional and international parliaments to share perspectives on climate change and also to learn from each other, considering the disparities in development between and among countries. It suffices to state that parliamentary resolutions reached on climate change at relevant parliamentary forums should be implemented in national legislatures with the aim of encouraging governments to agree on those questions that the international community is yet to address.
In fact, Parliaments have the potential to influence positions when the official communication channels between governments have become congested or terminated, using their relevant parliamentary forums. Some easing of tension between nation states has its roots in informal gatherings at parliamentary level. The interest for each other grows and positive outcomes could result from these parliamentary contacts. We, as legislators, can do the same in terms of climate change by bringing opposing parties together to find a common ground.
And we can do even more and succeed to position our countries on a low-carbon development trajectory by having GLOBE engage with the World Bank, United Nations and other donors to prioritise funding of climate change programmes, including dedicated engagement with legislators through the Partnership for Legislation, especially involving those countries that have done their uttermost, but continue to be overwhelmed by the challenges of climate change.
So, I would like to thank GLOBE for this opportunity, for this Summit, for the study and for supporting us, as legislators, as we tackle this most important challenge – climate change".