Herbert Smith Freehills ESG Tracker (SADC Edition)

There are so many ESG-related publications and developments that it is hard to keep abreast of them all. For this reason, HSF publishes a monthly tracker of ESG-related publications and developments, with a primary focus on developments that may be of most interest to or impact our clients in the Southern African Development Community, be they corporates, asset managers or asset owners. This issue covers the period from 1 to 30 September 2023.

Highlights for September which are considered in more detail below include:

  • South Africa: It is reported that the government would like to expand the grid so that the country is able to accommodate the renewable energy solutions that have been rolled out but not yet connected as a result of transmission constraints. 
  • Africa: It is reported that the Nairobi Declaration on Climate Change and Call to Action (Declaration) was adopted at the conclusion of the Africa Climate Summit. It is understood that the Declaration is the basis for Africa's common position in the global climate change process to COP 28 and beyond.
  • Global: The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) published its final recommendations for nature-related risk management and disclosure which are aimed at helping inform better decision-making by companies and capital providers on nature and biodiversity-related risks, opportunities, dependencies and impacts, as well as to contribute to a shift in financial flows towards nature-positive outcomes and the achievement of global biodiversity and ecosystem preservation goals.

If you have any ESG-related questions, please get in touch with your usual contact at HSF who will be able to direct you as appropriate.


25 September 2023

It is reported that Lesotho, in partnership with Botswana, eSwatini, Namibia and South Africa have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance their collective fight against corruption by creating an awareness of corruption cases between those countries and building ongoing relations that will promote the exchange of information in efforts aimed at ending corruption.

25 September 2023

The Minister of Finance and Development Planning launched a call for investors in the Market Driven Irrigated Horticulture (MDIH) project. The MDIH project is a major component of the USD322-million Lesotho Health and Horticulture Compact signed in May 2022. The MDIH project aims to increase rural incomes and fight food insecurity through investing in climate-smart irrigation infrastructure and attracting commercial farmers to collaborate with local, small-holder farmers to produce high-value crops and build strong value chains. The MDIH project will also support government reforms and capacity to sustain inclusive and sustainable growth of the horticulture sector.


22 Sept 2023

It is reported that Malawi has been granted a facility of USD174 million by the International Monetary Fund under a new 48-month financing arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). The prospective ECF supported programme aims to restore macroeconomic stability, building a foundation for inclusive and sustainable growth, addressing weaknesses in governance and institutions and strengthening resilience to climate-related shocks.

24 Sept 2023

It is reported that the High Court of Malawi has ordered the suspension on the construction of a three-storey structure pending a review process on the basis that it encroaches upon land designated as a precious wetland ecosystem. Section 48 of the Environment Management Act, the development or alteration of wetlands is strictly regulated and requires explicit approval from the Malawi Environmental Protection Authority, which was not obtained in this instance.


22 September 2023

It is reported that Mauritius signed the Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction aiming at ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, for the present and in the long term. 


19 September 2023

It is reported that the Board of Directors of the African Development Fund, the African Development Bank Group's concessional lending window, has approved a grant of USD19.98 million to finance the implementation of Mozambique's Economic Acceleration and Governance Support Programme. The programme will support reforms in two broad areas, namely (i) Improving the private sector enabling environment for economic recovery and green growth, and (ii) Strengthening the efficiency, accountability and transparency of public expenditure. It will enable Mozambique to streamline the regulatory framework and investment facilitation processes – that foster private sector development and attract investment in climate-smart agriculture. It is expected to help stimulate the development of agribusiness and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as finance efforts to mainstream gender and climate action initiatives into economic development. It will also strengthen public financial management, particularly internal controls, public procurement, and debt management functions.

22 September 2023

It is reported that UN-Habitat and the United Nations Environment Programme are strengthening the institutional and technical capacities of local government officials to build climate resilience in the Greater Maputo Area of Mozambique. The new project will be focusing on ecosystem-based adaptation solutions, which are receiving increasing attention from the international community and are defined as the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy to climate change. The project is funded by the Global Environment Facility's Least Developed Country Fund, On 22 September, an induction workshop was held to launch a special component of the project that focuses on building institutional and technical capacity, which will result in the development of up-to-date realistic and ambitious local adaptation plans for 5 districts and municipalities of the Greater Maputo Area.


25 September 2023

It is reported that the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia held the first meeting to discuss the Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme (Programme). The Programme is designed to bolster Namibia (and other countries') access to climate finance and facilitating the participating countries' ability to fulfil their Nationally Determined Contribution ambitions.


20 September 2023

It is reported that Seychelles has become a member of the Ocean Panel, a high level global initiative that allows global leaders to build momentum and work towards a sustainable ocean economy.


1 September 2023

The Department of Transport published the Draft National Ports Amendment Bill, 2023 (Bill) for public comment. The objects of the Bill are to amend the National Ports, Act 12 of 2005 so as to align with the international and domestic policy developments and performance trends impacting on South African ports, to provide for certain definitions, to repeal certain provisions and to provide for matters connected therewith. The deadline for submission of comments was 5 October 2023.

13 Sept 2023

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has published draft Norms and Standards for Spatial Planning and Land Use Management (draft Norms and Standards) in accordance with the mechanism envisaged under section 8 of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, 2013. The draft Norms and Standards seek to promote a normative approach that will ensure wise use of land. The objectives of the draft Norms and Standards are to promote social inclusion, spatial equity, efficient settlement patterns, rural revitalization, urban regeneration and sustainable development. The deadline for submission of comments is 12 November 2023.

13 Sept 2023

It is reported that the Minister of Electricity has been joined to South Africa's first youth-led climate change case – the #CancelCoal campaign. The case challenges the government's decision to procure 1500 MW of new coal-fired power, highlighting the adverse climate impacts of burning coal and its implications for constitutional rights. The Minister of Electricity's newly acquired powers in determining new generation capacity make his inclusion in the case necessary.

15 Sept 2023

The Department of Public Enterprises published the draft National State Enterprises Bill 2023 (draft Bill) which seeks to (among other things): (i) establish the State Asset Management SOC Ltd; (ii) consolidate the State's shareholdings in state enterprises; (iii) provide for the phased succession of state enterprises to the holding company; and (iv) provide for appropriate and effective performance monitoring mechanisms over subsidiaries. The period for comment on the draft Bill ends on 15 October 2023.

15 Sept 2023

The Portfolio Committee on Forestry, Fisheries and Environment considered and adopted the motion of desirability of the Climate Change Bill [B9-2022] (Bill). The Bill, whose primary purpose is to facilitate effective responses to climate change and a long-term equitable transition to a low carbon and climate resilient economy, was referred to the committee in February 2022. The committee is expected to table the Bill in the National Assembly shortly.

17 Sept 2023

The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy has invited public comment or oral submissions on the National Nuclear Regulator Amendment Bill [B25-2023] (Bill). The Bill proposes to amend the National Nuclear Regulator Act, 1999, so as to (among other things): (i) substitute certain definitions and insert new definitions; (ii) authorise the Regulator to perform additional regulatory functions; and (iii) provide for conditions applicable to the transfer of responsibility for authorised activities. The deadline for submission of public comment is 13 October 2023.

17 Sept 2023

The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy has invited public comments and oral submissions on the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill [B23-2023] (Bill). Among other things, the Bill seeks to seeks to amend the Electricity Regulation Act, 2006, so as to: (i) provide for the National Energy Regulator to consider applications for licences and the issue of licences; (ii) provide for revocation and deregistration of licences; and (iii) provide for additional electricity, new generation capacity and electricity infrastructure. The deadline for submission of comments is 13 October 2023.

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