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International Issues

Bilateral and regional cooperation

South Africa

EU-South Africa cooperation in environment

The EU–South Africa Strategic Partnership was established in 2007 aiming to enhance political and policy dialogue on issues of mutual interest, including environment. The EU-SA formal dialogue Forum on Environment, Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Water was established in 2007 and then re-launched in 2016 when the revised Terms of Reference for cooperation were signed at the Ministerial level. Since then, the Forum met annually in May 2017, November 2018, November 2019 and November 2020. Priority areas for cooperation cover inter alia climate change, circular economy, biodiversity and water.

In May 2017, DG ENV led a Circular Economy Mission to SA, involving over 30 business representatives. In November 2019, the SA-EU dialogue Symposium on Circular Economy took place and was followed by a study tour to Europe. Policy dialogue projects have been implemented on food waste and plastic waste as well as on natural resource management. South Africa was also one of the beneficiaries of the EU SWITCH Africa Green programme and a project to support Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services. In addition, South Africa was one of the countries analysed in the context of a recent study commissioned by DG ENV on the potential for EU-Africa cooperation in circular economy. Exchanges are also taking place at regional level, e.g. in the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment and in the context of the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA). South Africa is ACEA’s co-founding member and EU is considering joining as a strategic partner.