Partner Up. COP26 calls for action

Author: Meg Kauthen, Sustainability Designer

COP26 reinforced the importance of partnerships to solve today’s climate challenges – collaboration between governments, businesses, private capital/philanthropy, researchers, and NGOs  to drive forward tangible, market-based solutions needed to meet the 1.5°C goals. There were many declarations made at COP26. One important announcement for South Africa is the provision of US$8.5bn to help end its reliance on coal. Here, it is clear that partnerships are at the crux to achieving this Just Transition for South Africa. The Declaration resolves to establish “long-term partnership to support South Africa’s pathway to low emissions and climate resilient development, to accelerate the just transition and the decarbonisation of the electricity system… and to develop new economic opportunities to support South Africa’s shift towards a low carbon future” (COP26).

The task at hand is significant however coupled with the commitments from COP26 is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate how partnerships can solve complex systemic problems, and how the South African Government can work with both the Resource and Agriculture sectors to transition its economy sustainably.


Collective action is core to Business for Development’s approach to achieving impact on the ground. We develop partnership ecosystems to enable and sustain systemic developments. In November 2021, Meg Kauthen, Sustainability Designer, and Chiedza Sibanda, Agronomy and Field Operations Manager, at Business for Development, presented at an AAMEG webinar on Repurposing Mine Sites for Agricultural Opportunities to achieve a Just Transition.

Watch to find out how Business for Development is working with Glencore Coal South Africa, Umsimbithi Mining Ltd, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), Impact Catalyst, and the Mine Water Coordinating Body (MWCB) to pilot a variety of winter wheat at a rehabilitated mine site and on nearby community land in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

This presentation outlines:

  • What is Just Transition and what are the risks for the resource sector?
  • What are the potential economic opportunities to transition a mine site to?
  • What has been achieved by the pilot to date? And,
  • What will the pilot focus on in the future?


It is a case study on how – as economies transition – governments, NGOs, and mining companies can start working towards mine-closure to meet sustainability requirements – economic, environmental, and social. With the mining sector set to close many assets in the coming decades, thousands of community members need to be trained in modern agriculture practices that are climate-smart and regenerative. It is clear, work towards a Just Transition needs to happen now.

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