Greening the WSSD - Potential Questions:
Q: What is the cost of funding this initiative, and
what will be the return on government funds?
A: Money would have been spent on preparations
of the Summit anyway. The Greening Initiative is ensuring
that money is spent on projects that leave a legacy, both
for the UN and South Africa. It is also a tangible translation
of the message of the WSSD even before it happens - is that
not money well spent?
Q: Isn't this just an exercise
What is the long-term benefit to SA/the province?
A: The long-terms benefits are numerous
- many of the initiatives that have been implemented within
this project will have a life after the summit - such as:
waste management systems, water management in the hotel industry,
corporate procurement policies and practices, the carbon-offset
programme etc. The project will also generate a lot of awareness
and call for action form businesses, government and communities
through showcasing projects in Gauteng, and through the Bontle
ke Botho and Imvelo Awards campaigns.
Q: How can the people of the province take part in
A: People are invited to actively participate
through Bontle ke Botho - the clean schools, towns and wards
campaign. People can also participate by taking responsibility
for the environment that they live in - and starting environmental
practices at home and in their communities.
Q: How will the "lessons learned" be
incorporated into the UN systems?
A: This is the first time that the UN is
hosting a conference of this size and scale, and this is
the first time a "greening" project has been
initiated. The UN is mindful of the detrimental environmental
impacts of big summits, and is committed to implementing
similar projects at future summits. The lessons learned in
JHB will guide the structures of future projects.
Q: What sort of monitoring system is in place to measure
the impact of the Summit, and the successes of the Greening
A: A monitoring and evaluation process has
been established that will measure aspects of consumption
and generation on a daily basis - including things like waste
to landfill, waste to recycling, water use, carbon credits
offset etc - this will be in the form of a daily "barometer." The
total impacts measured will be compiled in a report at the
end of the Summit, and handed to the UN.
Q: Aren't there more important social priorities
that the funds and resources allocated to this project could
A: This project will result in sustainable
environmental management systems that are invaluable. It
also aims to highlight the role of environmental management
in social development - the campaign aims to mobilise people
to take action for their own environments and communities.
Currently the province spends more on things like waste collection
than on social issues. This project aims to raise awareness
around environmental issues, and to change people's behaviours
- if this is achieved, it would effect the allocation of budgets,
and free up resources for addressing social issues.
Q: What will be the impact on the delegates of the
A: The project aims to educate delegates
about the impacts of the Summit, and to make the aware of
the choices that they have that will contribute towards reducing
the impact. This could be simple things such as using the
waste sorting bins, sharing transport, using water sparingly
Q: What benchmarks is the project working against?
How will you know it has been a success?
A: This is the first time that a project
such as this has been started to limit the environmental
impacts of a UN summit. As part of our monitoring and evaluation
process, we have looked at similar initiatives have supported
other big events internationally, such as the Sydney Olympic
Games. It is anticipated that the results of this project
will set benchmarks against which to measure the impacts
of future summits.
Q: What have you looked for in choosing projects to
be showcased to delegates? What was the process?
A: Projects in Gauteng were invited to apply
through advertisements in several newspapers. In order to
be selected, projects had to have been operational for at
least 2 years, and were asked to demonstrate how they had
implemented systems to achieve several environmental objectives.
The project selection criteria were based on the international
conventions that came out of the Rio Summit 10 years ago.
The projects were then evaluated and chosen by the management
committee of the Greening the WSSD project.
Q: What are you basing best practice on? Have you
studied best practice areas internationally?
A: What we are really talking about is better
practice. We will never be able to achieve a zero impact
summit, and we are realistic about what it is possible to
achieve. What is most important is to implement environmental
systems and practices that will have a life after the summit.
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