Greening the WSSD is the first attempt to reduce the environmental impacts of a major UN Summit on the host city .  In this case, the people of Johannesburg. By working with them, we aim to protect, conserve and improve the city's environment and natural resources........ leaving a legacy for the future.
Energy Efficiency
Water Management
Waste Management
Public Awareness
Responsible Tourism
Monitoring & Evaluation
Showcasing Projects
Consumption Barometer
Joburg Climate Legacy
Green Energy
Gauteng Provincial
Government Initiatives

The Sandton Convention
Gauteng Green Projects

Frequently Asked Questions

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 in "Greenwashing"? 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 the project?

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 initiative?

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 be addressing?

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 project?

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 etc

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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