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. 

See all case studies

Emma Salisbury

Principal Consultant

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Testimonial

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“Engaging Aether to support us to develop the first GHG Inventory System and first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) for the United Republic of Tanzania has been a rewarding experience due to their high level of professionalism, creativity, timeliness and value for money. We will definitely consider Aether in our future initiatives.”

Abbas Kitogo, Programme Specialist Energy and Climate Change, UNDP Tanzania

“Both the face-to-face training and the online version have been of high quality, with dynamic methods and a practical orientation that have allowed students to reach a solid knowledge base. The products have been delivered within the stipulated deadlines with an excellent quality and the team has always shown willingness to make adjustments according to the requirements of CONAF. We are very satisfied with the work. ”

Javier Cano Martín, Professional Unit for Climate Change and Environmental Services, CONAF (National Forestry Corporation), Chile

“Aether's approach to couple innovative visualisation with high expertise manpower delivered valuable insights for our inventory work.”

Umweltbundesamt (Germany)

“The professional service provided by your company was of very high quality and completed within agreed timelines.”

Matthew Dudley, UNFCCC Secretariat

“The Aether team were a joy to work with and I would recommend the consultancy - the service provided throughout the process was exceptional. Where there were problems, they provided solutions. The team were working to very short time scales but were able to deliver a high quality piece of work within the specified time frame.”

Sefton Council - for the Merseyside Atmospheric Emissions Inventory

“Aether delivered training workshops and generated learning materials for our SSN members, providing technical content in a manageable and comprehendible format. We particularly benefitted from their extensive knowledge and ability to interpret the needs of our members into the training materials.”

Jennifer Anderson, Sustainable Scotland Network

“A heartfelt thank you to all the Aether team for this very comprehensive review – this is certainly turning out to be one of the most beneficial capacity building projects I have ever been involved in.”

Saviour Vassallo, Senior Environment Protection Officer, Malta Resources Authority

“Professional team and very collaborative communication. Effective result in terms of suggestions for improvement in the quality of the inventory and proposals on how to streamline specific topics.”

Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research

“I must congratulate each of you for your professional and tireless efforts. Let me point out that this has been the 'neatest' in-country review expert review team I have coordinated, and it has been a real pleasure.”

UNFCCC Secretariat

“It is always an absolute pleasure working with Aether. I always know what is expected of me. Their work ethic is of a very high standard and projects are always handled in a very professional manner. I have learnt many skills in terms of project management, quality control and workshop training styles from Aether and I hope to carry these principles forward in my own work. I look forward to collaborating with Aether more in the future.”

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