The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has published a technical specification to assist local governments and communities in developing plans to respond to climate change.
The South African Technical Specification or SATS 14092, as it is known, sets out requirements and guidance for local government and communities to adapt to climate change, the bureau said in a statement. It is aligned with the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) technical specification, which has the same purpose.
"Floods, heatwaves, droughts, coastal erosion and other climate change effects have been experienced across the globe and will continue into the future.
"South Africa, in consensus with other standards bodies across the globe, have published a technical framework to assist local government and communities to identify risks and to plan for adaptation to ensure the economic, environmental, and social wellbeing of communities," said Sadhvir Bissoon, acting CEO of the SABS.
The technical specification is not a regulation – and does not replace any environmental legislation.
"…However, it is a comprehensive document or tool that provides a global standard to ensure the identification and mitigation of risks associated with climate change," said Bissoon.
The technical specification provides examples of adaptation plans and a detailed, step-by-step process for local government to manage and develop plans to reduce or prevent the risks of climate change, the SABS said. The specification also encourages monitoring on the impact of climate change to inform the plans that are developed.
The standard can be purchased from the SABS.
Climate change will make extreme weather events such as heatwaves, droughts and flooding more severe and frequent. Last year, scientists found that heavy rainfall that led to flooding in KwaZulu-Natal was made worse owing to climate change.
Coastal towns stretching between the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal were recently hit by a storm, with waves as high as 9.5 metres. It had a damaging impact to infrastructure and properties and led to the death of a 93-year-old woman.
The Western Cape government, meanwhile, has said it will establish a task team focused on addressing climate impacts such as extreme and intense droughts and floods.