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National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998)

Environmental Management Plan : Department of Labour

Chapter 1 : Introduction

1.4. Linkage to the Annual National Report on Sustainable Development to The United Nations Commission For Sustainable Development



The NEMA defines sustainable development as:


"the integration of social, economic and environmental factors into planning, implementation and decision-making so as to ensure that development serves present and future generations."


There is a definitive need to ensure that linkages between the various spheres and government departments are maintained in the promotion of sustainable development. The Department of Labour, in addition to its environmental management functions, is also highly involved in the economic arena from the perspective of employment and labour issues. These provide important links towards the overall aim of sustainability.


One of the objectives of the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development (UN CSD) is to develop tools to measure progress towards sustainable development for all countries. A sustainable development indicator programme has been established by the UN CSD to create a viable and flexible system for monitoring progress on sustainable development, strategies, policies and activities. Regular reporting is, however, required from countries to assist the UN CSD in their assessment and evaluation of the usefulness of the indicator programme in this regard.


The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT), as the lead agent for the environment in South Africa, is responsible for providing the UN CSD with an annual report on sustainable development. Many countries in the world have already developed strategies for the implementation of Agenda 21, mainly through structures such as national councils for sustainable development. Information is however, lacking for the development of a South African National Strategy for Sustainable Development (NSSD). DEAT has therefore, requested Government departments represented on the CEC, to provide additional information on sustainable indicators within their EIPs and EMPs, that will assist in the annual reporting process (refer to Figure 1) to the UN CSD on progress made with the implementation of Agenda 21.


With the development of a South African Strategy for Sustainable Development, DEAT has indicated how they intend to link the information obtained in the EIPs and EMPs to the annual reporting to the UN CSD and the development of a NSSD for South Africa.


According to Figure 1:

1) Information obtained in the EIPs and EMPs will be used as baseline documents for the compilation of an annual report to the UN CSD.
2) Information obtained from the EIPs, EMPs and the annual reports will be consolidated to develop a NSSD Discussion Document.
3) The NSSD Discussion Document will go through a public consultation process where a framework document and Table of Contents will be finalized for the NSSD.
4) and 5) A first draft NSSD Document will be produced which will go through another consultation process with authorities and other stakeholders.
6) National environmental priorities and sustainable development indicators will then be refined.
7) and 8) A final version of the NSSD will be produced, which must be implemented. Through the submission of EIPs and EMPs, DOL will also be monitored for compliance to the NSSD and performance in this regard.


Figure 1: Proposed Annual Reporting Process to United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development – can be found in Government Gazette No. 32667


Based on the guidelines for the compilation of the EMP, discussions with DEAT and the above, the approach adopted for the structuring of this report follows.