South African President Ramaphosa responds to a parliamentary debate on his state of the nation address in Cape Town

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Monday that his administration has introduced the Climate Change Response Fund in collaboration with the private sector to address climate change problems in South Africa.

Ramaphosa said that this fund will help to bring together all spheres of government and the private sector, adding that South Africa "will have collaborative efforts to build resilience and respond to climate change" by coordinating financial mobilization from both sectors.

The president said this fund will allow climate-proofing of the existing essential infrastructure and facilities, including water and food systems, roads, rail and ports, human settlements, and health care.

"The fund will also collaborate with a variety of partners to respond to immediate needs in communities following climate change-related disasters," he was quoted as saying by SA News. "We have seen a rapid increase in climate-related disasters worldwide as extreme weather events become more frequent."

"In our own country, we have had wildfires in the Western Cape, heatwaves in the Northern Cape, continuing drought conditions in the Eastern Cape and intense storms in Gauteng," the president added.

Ramaphosa pointed out that before the government could properly recover and rebuild following the 2022 floods in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, and North West, the country once again witnessed more flooding in 2023, causing additional damage to livelihoods, property, and the local economy.

The president, who recently returned after discussing climate change issues at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, accused the developed countries of being responsible for climate change and its impacts. Hence, those countries should "bear a responsibility to assist developing countries to build climate resilience."

He recalled that South Africa had welcomed the historic agreement at the UN Climate Conference in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last year to operationalize a Loss and Damage Fund to give financial support to developing countries that are affected by climate change.

However, the president stressed that South Africa will continue to contribute its fair share to the global climate change effort, adding that the country remains "vocal in calling for developed countries to meet their obligations for financing and technology transfer support."

Ramaphosa recognized the urgent global challenge of climate change and emphasized the need for collective efforts on a global scale to ensure that no nation is left behind in this critical fight.