2011 GLOBE Cape Town Legislators Forum

SA.parlOn 3-4 December 2011, legislators from 16 parliaments convened in the National Assembly in Cape Town. The core theme was domestic climate change legislation and the Forum saw the launch of the 2nd GLOBE Climate Legislation Study. The Forum included presentations and discussion of the latest legislative developments and specific sessions on adaptation and forestry (REDD+). At the end of the forum, legislators agreed a unanimous statement to be presented to COP17.

2nd GLOBE Climate Legislation Study

The main session saw the presentation of the 2nd GLOBE Climate Legislation Study. The study focused on progress in 2011 and the key message was that, despite the challenging economic backdrop, 10 of the 17 countries included in the study had made substantive legislative progress during the period. This demonstrated that countries were beginning to see tackling climate change as in the national interest and the co-benefits of reducing reliance on fossil fuels (increased resource efficiency and improved competitiveness, greater energy security and improved air quality) were all helping to drive legislative change. Christiana Figueres described the study as "The Bible of climate action" and UK Secretary of State called it "invaluable" to counter the cries of some that they were acting alone. The study is produced annually.

Adaptation

During the session on adaptation, Jonny de Lange described how adaptation and mitigation were given equal prominence in the South African White Paper, reflecting the fact that the impacts of climate change were already being felt and were likely to worsen significantly in the near-to-medium-term. The session, chaired and driven by the President of GLOBE India, Prakash Javadeker, resulted in a request from legislators to the GLOBE Secretariat to develop an adaptation-specific legislation study, including the development of model adaptation legislation that could be used to inform the development of adaptation-related legislation, particularly in developing countries.

GLOBE Forest Legislation Initiative

The Forest Session highlighted the preliminary results of the GLOBE Forest Legislation Initiative (GFLI), launched in mid-2011. The GFLI works directly with legislators from forested developing countries to strengthen legislation and parliamentary scrutiny functions to support national efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). Representatives from Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico outlined the progress of legislative strategies for REDD+ policies in their respective national parliaments. Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin from the High Court of Brazil outlined the preliminary results of the "GLOBE Forest Legislation Study", a report that will analyse the existing legal frameworks of the four GLFI countries (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico and the Democratic Republic of Congo). The session paved the way for the next phase of the GFLI: producing a set of recommended legislative interventions for each country to support the implementation of REDD+.

Other Developments

The Forum also saw a number of other important developments:

  • Prakash Javadeker invited the GLOBE Secretariat to Delhi in early 2012 to develop the work programme for GLOBE India.
  • The Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Max Sisulu, announced that he would be working to set up a GLOBE South Africa chapter in 2012.
  • Jonny de Lange, the Chair of the Committee on Environment and Water Affairs, gave a detailed presentation of South Africa's White Paper, into which GLOBE secretariat had input.
  • The Mexican delegation announced the scheduling of a vote in the Senate on comprehensive climate change legislation, a development that was catalyzed by the visit of GLOBE delegate Lord Prescott in October 2011.