Theme & Sub- Themes
THE ROLE OF INTEGRATED ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT IN THE ECONOMIC REVIVAL OF SOUTH AFRICA
REGULATORY PROCESS AND EFFICIENCY
Dealing with the efficiency of EIM in a rapidly changing socio-political and economic environment,
Has EIA run its course and now requires a fundamentally different approach or does it need to remain the bedrock of IEM/EIM? Does EIA now legitimise economic development that should never take place but is authorised simply because an EIA has been completed? Are projects that are needed desperately for economic growth in SA hijacked by socio-political issues, often placing economic demands that proponents cannot afford thereby killing the project? Are we protecting the environment with the many permits that are now required or have we simply created a quagmire of administrative burden while Rome continues to burn? Is it fair to expect the same level of assessment for the clearing of natural vegetation for a R300 000 pasture as it would be for a R4.5 billion mine development?
What effect is the regulatory process having on SA’s economic growth?
Are the demands of EIM/IEM a constraint to economic growth or are they ensuring that there is some semblance of sustainability to that growth? What of the demands on mining applications such as SLP and community expectations? Is this now a bridge too far or essential to ensuring some kind of redress of inequality and ensuring that communities who live with the impacts of developments also enjoy the benefits?
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION
Entrepreneurship, vulnerability and poverty alleviation – does EIM/IEM have a role to play?
Entrepreneurship, vulnerability and poverty alleviation – does EIM/IEM have a role to play ? If South Africa’s economic recovery is built on small business do the demands of IEM/EIM render SMME’s dead in the water often excluding economically vulnerable parties from starting businesses because they simply cannot afford the permits? Does IEM/EIM serve a useful purpose in facilitating greater control over informal activities such as waste picking to ensure that there is an overall environmental benefit? Does IEM/EIM care for the poorest of the poor is it an elite pastime for only those who can afford it?
SOCIAL WELL BEING AND GREEN AGENDA
Is there a link between IEM, economic revival and social wellbeing? How can the green agenda contribute to the economic revival of South Africa?
Is there a link between IEM, economic revival and social wellbeing? Is human wellbeing the holy grail of sustainable development, dependent as it is on the three pillars of economy, society and natural environment? Does there have to be economic growth to improve human wellbeing or are there other potentially more impactful interventions? Does economic growth not simply further divide the haves from the have nots and what of the quality of the jobs that are created by economic growth? Is the triple bottom line a concept that means anything is it just another misleading pseudonym for continued exploitation of people and the planet?
CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS AND RAPID URBANISATION
Changing Demographics and rapid urbanization
Does it make sense to promote the development of rural areas when services are best and most cost effectively provided to dense human settlements in urbanised areas? Does IEM/EIM have a role to play in facing up to the complex social dynamics of urbanisation and migrant labour and ensuring the most effective delivery of services to especially the rural poor?
IMPLICATIONS OF THE URBAN EDGE
The implications of the urban edge on IEM
Should the urban edge be protected ecologically for the benefit of urban dwellers or does it present an area where the poor can access the benefits of urbanisation without necessarily incurring the costs of doing so? Has apartheid planning forced on us an urban edge that can never be effectively formalised and must we accept that the urban edge becomes characterised by blight or can it be an ecologically robust transition between the city and the country?
ECOSYSTEM SERVICES AND RESOURCES
Constrained ecosystem services and declining resources
Do we need to protect the environment simply for the utility that humankind derives from it or is there something more than simply water air land and food? Is the dependence of humans on ecosystem services well enough understood by politicians or is more needed to protect the human race from self-destruction? South Africa is amongst the most water-constrained countries in the world. Does IEM/EIM do enough to ensure the survival of people or is it inevitable that there will be battles for resources and associated social tension and violence, leave alone the associated environmental impacts?
AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECUIRTY
Agriculture and food security
Does IEM/EIM do enough to ensure food security or is there a far greater economic return on other activities such as mining? Is the cost of IEM/EIM simply too much for the agriculture sector to bear? And what of the use of critical water resources to sustain crops such as sugar cane and tobacco?
CLIMATE CHANGE AND LAND DEGRADATION
Managing climate change and land degradation
Land degradation is already upon us as a result of climate change. There is now encroachment by natural vegetation of important and vulnerable ecosystems due to higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. Against this backdrop, it is the most vulnerable communities that are at greatest risk, and the least resilient to these changes. What can IEM/EIM do to make socio-ecological systems more resilient and sustainable in the light of these challenges?
GREEN URBAN DEVELOPMENT
Green urban development – is it economically viable?
Does green urban development hold the key to improving the lives of urbanites especially those forced to live in low cost or informal housing or is it just an expensive façade that increases the costs for urban dwelling? What has been the impact of new building regulations on resource use and has the time not come for all new houses to be completely off grid in respect of electricity, sewage and water? Will urban greening render municipalities obsolete or is there a case to be made for bulk services providing the most cost effective and environmentally protective municipal services? What is IEM/EIM doing to answer these questions?
Biodiversity and other offsets – purpose, impact and viability
Is offsetting an effective way of unlocking economic potential without net loss of natural resources or is it a ‘get out of jail free card’ for unscrupulous developers? Are there real examples in South Africa where there has been no net loss as a result of offsetting? Should we be spending billions to control atmospheric emissions from power stations or millions to reduce emissions from domestic fuel use in low-income dense settlements with potentially greater returns in terms of reduced health risk? What role does IEM/EIM play in such debates?
SUSTAINABILITY OF COAL BASED ECONOMIC GROWTH
How sustainable is economic growth based on coal or petroleum-derived products?
How sustainable is economic growth based on coal or petroleum-derived products? Climate change forecasting suggests we have about 12 years in which to significantly reduce carbon emissions or pay the price of a hotter, drier and more volatile climate. Does that mean abandoning coal completely and suddenly with the social impacts of job losses from the coalmines and power stations? Do we have the right to force the issue if people want their jobs protected? Cosatu has publicly criticised Greenpeace for these very reasons, can IEM/EIM resolve some of the impasse? Will politicians ever chose to make unpopular decisions that may lose votes but that will be in the longer term best interests of citizens regardless of whether or not those citizens recognise the same?
SUSTAINABLE SOUTH AFRICA
Can South Africa be truly sustainable?