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Development Impact Assessment (DIA) case study: South Africa


This case study, Development Impact Assessment (DIA) case study: South Africa, reviews South Africa’s experience in considering the impacts of climate change action on development goals, focusing on the South African energy sector and development impact assessments (DIAs) that have and could be used to influence energy policy or inform the selection of energy activities. It includes a review of assessments — conducted by government ministries, technical partners, and academic institutes and non-governmental organizations — that consider employment, health, and water implications of possible energy sector actions, as well as multi-criteria impact assessments. The study, produced by the U.S. government’s Enhancing Capacity for Low Emission Development Strategies (EC-LEDS) Program is intended to offer an example of one country’s experience, and it summarizes:

  • Possible impacts of low emission actions up on development priorities
  • Approaches and methodologies used to conduct impact assessments
  • Motivation for examining impacts and outcomes of the assessments.

Examining multiple analyses can illuminate LEDS actions under consideration, provide insights on common or contradictory DIA results needing further exploration, help to identify trade-offs among LEDS options with respect to their ability to meet development priorities, and support stakeholder dialogue and decision making in South Africa. Taken together, these assessments highlight numerous low emission development alternatives that have the potential to positively impact South Africa’s development goals. However, the disparate scopes, methodologies, and results of these assessments, and their unclear impact on decision making at the national level, indicate the potential value of a holistic approach to assessing the development impacts of LEDS in South Africa. This case study also presents a broader framework and simple visual to integrate the various outputs of these analyses (both quantitative and qualitative) into an example prioritization structure in Appendix A. This simple structure is underpinned by credible analysis and aligned with topics of most interest to stakeholders, and it can help communicate these development impacts to the public and high level policy makers in order to gain the support needed to translate plans into action.

Download the case study here: Development Impact Assessment (DIA) case study: South Africa.