Occasional Paper

A New South African Climate Diplomacy: G7, G20 and Beyond

South Africa has played an important role in global climate negotiations, but this can be further scaled up to respond more directly to the imperative of a more geostrategic and mainstream economic framing of climate diplomacy, and debates around how to ‘build back better’ in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The G7 Leaders’ Summit and the G20 Leaders’ Summit are important platforms for the country to engage on these issues. South Africa should adopt a more assertive climate diplomacy, in a manner that transforms its energy economy and advances its developmental and economic interests. Such diplomacy will have to respond to the global impetus to raise climate ambition; shape transformative systems change; and support new modes of collaboration to steer an agenda that speaks to the unique challenges faced by emerging economies as they decarbonise. This paper discusses some of the specific issues South African climate diplomacy should focus on, including the reform of the global climate finance architecture; climate-related debt, trade and intellectual property considerations; as well as how, where and with whom to champion these issues in the future.