Greening ASGI-SA?

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On Tuesday 3rd October at a venue near Pretoria, the National Environmental Advisory Forum (NEAF) hosted a dialogue on the relationship between the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa (ASGI-SA) and the National Framework for Sustainable Development (NFSD). NEAF was established in 2005 in terms of the National Environmental Management Act and consists of prominent academics, experts, business, NGO and government leaders. A series of presentations on various aspects of the debate were delivered, including a presentation on ASGI-SA from a representative of the Deputy-President’s Office. Mark Swilling delivered the presentation on the NFSD. A key outcome of this meeting was an agreement that a more thorough and inclusive dialogue should take place between the policy communities associated with these two national policy frameworks. ASGI-SA is aimed at removing the “binding constraints” that are preventing the accelaration of growth to the desired level of 6%. It was noted with convern by many presenters that ASGI-SA does not define any of the critical eco-system resource issues as ‘binding constraints’. As a result, ASGI-SA is unaware of the extensive scientific evidence that eco-system resources issues such as water scarcity, degraded soils, declining air quality, degraded marine resources, threatened biodiversity and unsustainable energy supplies will retard economic growth.