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- Volume 29, Issue 1, 2013
South African Journal on Human Rights - Volume 29, Issue 1, 2013
Volume 29, Issue 1, 2013
Source: South African Journal on Human Rights 29, pp 6 –13 (2013)More Less
Author Jackie DugardSource: South African Journal on Human Rights 29, pp 14 –31 (2013)More Less
Under apartheid poor (black) people and the environment were viewed as antithetical. Poor communities were forcibly relocated to establish or expand game reserves and a range of militaristic interventions were imposed to 'protect nature', often at the expense of human rights.3 The environment was overwhelmingly associated as the preserve of the (white) middle class and was preoccupied with saving plants and animals. Under the post-apartheid dispensation, broad environmental rights are constitutionally-entrenched alongside socio-economic rights. But, to what extent does this imply an amicable, or even an established relationship between environmental and socio-economic rights? This article seeks to begin to answer this question by examining first, the kinds of issues taken up and mobilisation pursued by nascent environmental justice movements such as the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance; and, second, the limits and opportunities of environmental litigation pursued by such movements to date.
Author Jill JohannessenSource: South African Journal on Human Rights 29, pp 32 –60 (2013)More Less
The historical responsibility for today's climate crisis rests in the hands of rich industrialised countries, while developing countries in many cases face its most devastating effects. Hence, climate change also raises issues of moral responsibility and the protection of human rights. Although there is a general understanding among the world's leaders that rich nations have to take the lead in reducing global emissions and paying for developing nations to initiate mitigation measures and adaptation, these are still core issues remaining to be solved. This article investigates how the South African media constructed representations of climate change, with a special emphasis on the interface of climate change, poverty, and justice during the African Conference of the Parties, COP17. The mass media is a central arena where the struggle to define the climate crisis plays out and through which most citizens are exposed to these issues. Can the heated moments of international climate negotiations be an arena for promoting justice issues and making them known to the public?
The role of social justice and poverty in South Africa's National Climate Change Response White PaperSource: South African Journal on Human Rights 29, pp 61 –90 (2013)More Less
In late 2011 the South African government published a White Paper outlining climate change response policies for the coming decades. Among the main topics of the text were the socio-economic and climatic vulnerabilities of the country, including the situation of the poor. With the aim of analysing the argumentation regarding climate change and social justice we develop a combined linguistic and discursive approach, starting with occurrences of keywords pertaining to rights, equity and poverty. The White Paper's conceptualisation of climate change is explored as a narrative, at the level of the text as a whole. This combined analysis shows that the legal rights of the poor are hardly given any place in the argumentation, whereas less constricting political intentions are far more present. Furthermore, the text attributes a passive role to the poor, dependent on the benevolence of a government that attributes the role of hero to itself.
An analysis of the Human Development Report 2011 : sustainability and equity : a better future for allSource: South African Journal on Human Rights 29, pp 91 –124 (2013)More Less
The Human Development Report 2007/2008 about climate change and development made bold arguments concerning human rights and justice for the poor and for disadvantaged populations. However, its policy proposals were not as bold, looking very similar to those of the World Bank's World Development Report 2010. In this article we investigate in which direction the thinking on environment and sustainability by UNDP's Human Development Report Office has evolved since the HDR 2007/2008. A detailed frame and lexical analysis of the HDR 2011 on Sustainability and Equity shows a markedly technocratic direction, largely apolitical and insensitive to human rights issues and justice, giving a diluted successor to the HDR 2007/2008 and now close in perspective to the World Bank. This direction, as well as the little attention to the socio-economic and political barriers to sustainability and to climate change impacts we find in the HDR 2011, has consequences for the poorest sectors of South Africaâ??s society.
Author Patrick BondSource: South African Journal on Human Rights 29, pp 125 –143 (2013)More Less
Can a rights-based agenda potentially challenge the dominant market narrative with respect to water access, and in the process, also address climate change reparations, adaptation and mitigation? Learning from the case of water in the most advanced court challenge to neo-liberal state power that has yet been adjudicated, in Johannesburg in 2009, it is just as likely that rights-talk will be co-opted by neo-liberalism. If that happens more systematically within the climate justice struggle, at a time activism intensifies and court cases emerge more frequently, momentum towards a genuine breakthrough against corporate control of global environmental governance (amplified now under the rubric of the 'Green Economy') could well be distracted, halted or even reversed. The classical problems associated with rights-based narratives - their basis in liberal individualism and disconnection from broader socio-economic and ecological processes - may continue to be crippling, as witnessed in the example of South African water policy, law and activism. The specific case involves a Paris-based water privatisation company (Suez) whose policies in Johannesburg led five Sowetans to sue the city to increase water supply and cease imposing pre-payment meters. The same ideological debates - how to fuse neo-liberal imperatives with rights rhetoric - took centre stage during the June 2012 Rio+20 Earth Summit. There, the dominant trend towards market determinations of nature required a stronger countervailing 'decommodification' narrative than 'rights talk' can offer. The question posed here, is whether using human rights considerations will make contestation of 'neo-liberalised nature' any easier, and the answer arrived at is negative, based on the evidence from Johannesburg. Instead, 'commoning' is the alternative narrative, ie arriving at the commons through and beyond rights
Payment for ecosystem services versus ecological reparations : the 'Green Economy', litigation and a redistributive eco-debt grantSource: South African Journal on Human Rights 29, pp 144 –169 (2013)More Less
Since the December 2011 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties 17 in Durban and the Rio+20 Summit on Sustainable Development, attention has turned to whether the 'Green Economy', the concept of 'natural capital' and 'Payment for Ecosystem Services' together facilitate the management of new environmentally-financialised markets whose aim is to price nature and its pollution, so as to achieve maximally efficient exploitation of resources (an example of which is carbon trading). Alternatively, if there are flaws in such markets, should society instead move towards retributive payments for 'ecological debt' based on both 'loss and damage' accounting (introduced at the UNFCCC COP18 in Doha) and environmental justice, in order that the valuing of nature is limited to fines for damages and then prohibitions on further pollution. These two countervailing philosophies play out in high-profile projects and pilot social-policy schemes in southern Africa, in ways that will teach the world foundational concepts surrounding ecological reparations.
Author Brandon Barclay DermanSource: South African Journal on Human Rights 29, pp 170 –179 (2013)More Less
Africans are the continental population most affected by, and least responsible for, the impacts of climate change. As the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) prepared to descend on Durban for its 17th yearly Conference of the Parties (COP17) in late November 2011 many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and social movements formulated positions around themes of justice in connection to Africa's situation and the political upheavals of 2011. Two developments within the convention importantly shaped those positions: the implementation of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), agreed during the previous COP as a means to 'scale up the provision of long-term financing for developing countries', and the question of binding commitments to reduce emissions after the (planned,but now averted) expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.
Author Molefi Mafereka NdlovuSource: South African Journal on Human Rights 29, pp 180 –191 (2013)More Less
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 expresses a commitment to environmental rights and guarantees the rights of all to participation and expression. Yet the vast majority of ordinary South Africans have not mobilised around these rights in the context of climate change. Why is this the case?