The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has published a South African technical specification (SATS) which enables local government and communities to implement a framework to prepare for and manage the impact of climate change.

SATS 14092 (2023): Adaptation to climate change – Requirements and guidance on adaptation planning for local governments and communities, is the identical adoption of the global ISO TS 14092 to support local governments and communities to adapt to climate change based on vulnerability, impact, and risk assessments. South Africa is a full member of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and as part of its procedures for developing national standards and specifications, SATS 14092 was adopted by the South African Technical Committee (SABS TC 207 – Environmental Management), published in August 2023.

“Floods, heatwaves, droughts, coastal erosion and other climate change effects have been experienced across the globe and will continue into the future,” says Sadhvir Bissoon, acting CEO of the SABS. “South Africa, in consensus with other standards bodies across the globe, have published a technical framework to assist local government and communities to identify risks and to plan for adaptation to ensure the economic, environmental, and social well-being of communities.

“SATS 14092 is not a regulation and does not replace or supersede any legislation regarding environmental practices,” Bissoon adds. “However, it is a comprehensive document/tool that provides a global standard to ensure the identification and mitigation of risks associated with climate change.”

The technical specification, SATS 14092 sets out the establishment of dedicated task teams that will monitor the impact of climate change. To track, for example, rise in sea levels, humidity levels, precipitation, flooding and storm surges, wind speeds and direction, landslides, heatwave mortality, water scarcity, changes in land use, productivity of agricultural land, etc.

Through monitoring and evaluating changes, planning, and adapting operations local government and communities can mitigate risks associated with climate change.

SATS 14092 provides examples of adaption plans and a detailed step-by-step process for local government to manage and develop plans to mitigate the risks of climate change. Local government and associations are encouraged to purchase the standard via the SABS webstore and to contact the SABS should there be a requirement to develop training or information sessions for SATS 14092.