South Africa

Iningizimu Afrika

Core analysis conducted June, 2021.

Overall NDC Equity Score



Emissions Reductions


The NDC has significant gaps in planning ambitious emissions reduction goals, leaving much room for improvement.


Gender Justice


The NDC includes recognizes the role of women and gender in climate action but makes little progress or commitments to gender mainstreaming.


Youth Inclusion

Critically Deficient

The NDC has significant gaps in addressing youth inclusion.


South Africa is the 14th largest greenhouse gas emitter globally, and the largest on the continent with primary dependence on coal as a source of energy. Despite recognising the need for deep decarbonisation, South Africa’s development remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels. In its updated NDC, South Africa commits to 31% emission reduction with support from the international community, and a fixed target for greenhouse gas emissions levels of 398-510 MtCO2e by 2025, and 350-420 MtCO2e by 2030. South Africa maintains the peak, plateau decline methodology, committing to emissions to peak between 2020 and 2025, then plateau for up to 10 years after the peak, and only from 2036 will they start to decline. As a country that is more vulnerable to climate impacts, it’s important to note that South Africa’s NDC also balances adaptation actions alongside mitigation.


On gender mainstreaming, South Africa’s NDC is very weak. The NDC only mainly highlights gender in the context of gender-responsive planning of the NDC process, indicating women were engaged in the hybrid consultative processes without any reference to specific organizations or a gender-balance. The NDC recognizes the importance of promoting gender integration in its policies and increasing access to financial and technical support for women’s organizations, but does not outline specific actions being taken to mobilize these resources or specificity in how they will be used to integrate gender mainstreaming into policies.


On youth inclusion, South Africa’s NDC leaves much room for improvement. The NDC only mentions youth a single time with respect to their participation in hybrid consultative processes without an reference to specifics outcomes or the balance of young participants.


  • Recognizes the need for "Just Energy Transition" as core to shifting the development pathway to increased sustainability, fostering climate resilient and low greenhouse gas emissions development
  • Acknowledges rural livelihoods and outdoor labour, including women, as the most exposed to extreme temperature hazards leading to adverse effects such as heat stroke
  • Addresses both mitigation and adaptation equally, and its updated mitigation targets represent a significant progression from the first NDC.
  • Indicates the significance of increasing access to climate finance and empowerment opportunities for women and indigenous peoples.
  • Women and youth constituencies acknowledged as participants of consultative processes.


  • Implementation is heavily reliant on international financial and technical support.
  • Fails to include clear indicators, metrics, and outcomes for youth, women, indigenous knowledge, or civil society participation in the development of the NDC.
  • Lacks gender disaggregated data on the impacts of climate change.
  • Excludes any specific actions intended at increasing long-term youth inclusion in climate decision-making and implementation, including in the Just Transition.

Key Recommendations

The analysis found that the NDC is not unambitious enough and inequitable in its approach, failing to engage young people and women in meaningful ways. A reference to inclusion does not significantly indicate the balance of inclusion or integration of their perspectives. Further, lack of data and specific actions aimed at long-term inclusion as the NDC is implemented contribute to the inequitable approach.

Inclusion is not a check box. The following are key recommendations proposed to the government for the improvement of future NDCs and other national climate plans:

For Gender Mainstreaming:

  • Demonstrate gender balance in consultative practices.
  • Increase conversations with women's group as part of consultative practices.
  • Add gender disaggregated data on climate impacts to complement solutions.
  • Outline specific actions for providing capacity building and climate finance to women's organizations.

For Youth Inclusion:

  • Increase conversations with young people as part of consultative practices.
  • Incorporate specific actions for providing capacity building, climate finance, and access to climate decision-making spaces for young people.
  • Demonstrate meaningful youth inclusion by highlighting young peoples contributions to the NDC.

NDC Ambassador - Author

Precious Makaringe

Precious Makaringe is a Geospatial Technician for an Architecture, Engineering, and Geospatial (AGV) firm in South Africa. She holds a BA Geography and Anthropology degree from the University of the Witwatersrand (2019) and a B.Sc. Honours degree in Geo-Informatics and Strategic Environmental Planning from the University of Johannesburg (2020). In 2019 Precious served as the Chairperson for the School of Geography, Archaeology, and Environmental Studies (Wits University) and the Academic Officer at Sunnyside Hall of Residence (Wits University). She is the current focal point for the Climate Change Youth Policy Committee and further represents the group as the South African representative to the We Are Tomorrow Global Partnership.

NDC Mentor

Tyler Booth

NDC Mentor Tyler Booth recently graduated with a BMedSci (Hons) from the University of Cape Town. In addition to her studies, she is a passionate climate and gender activist dedicated to bettering youth participation in policy processes. She was a lead drafter of the Joburg Youth Climate Action Plan (YCAP), the SA APRM Climate Change youth submission, and a current project lead for the SA-YCAP process. In 2019, Tyler attended COP25 where she negotiated on the Lima Work Programme on Gender and its Gender Action Plan. She is the current focal point for the Climate Change Youth Policy Committee and further represents the group as the South African representative to the We Are Tomorrow Global Partnership.

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