With the passing of Edna Molewa, South Africa lost a committed human rights activist and an outstanding politician. For eight years she had been the Minister of Environmental Affairs of the Republic of South Africa. In these eight years, she emphatically campaigned for a more sustainable economy and environment and climate protection on an international level. On international climate summits, she immensely contributed to progress in the field of international climate policy by bringing together different positions held by different countries. On September 22, 2018, Edna Molewa unexpectedly passed away at the age of only 61 years.
Svenja Schulze, German Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, stated the following: “We lost one of the most distinguished environmental politicians world-wide. We are deeply saddened. With her wisdom, her vigor and her unforgettable humor, Edna Molewa kept on pushing forward international climate policy and the change to a more sustainable and socially responsible economy. My predecessor, former Minister for the Environment, Barbara Hendricks, and I had both enjoyed a close and trusting cooperation with her in the past years. We will miss her very much.”
During climate conferences of the contracting member states, in particular the ones in Durban and Paris, Edna Molewa gained a high standing thanks to her competence, persuasiveness and negotiating skills. During the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, she strongly campaigned for a change to a more sustainable and socially responsible economy. She was one of the key note speakers at the ministerial conference on the UN Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) in Berlin in 2017 as well as at the PAGE conference in New York in July 2018.
Edna Molewa personally decided to host the next PAGE ministerial conference in South Africa in January 2019 and was highly acclaimed for that decision. She would have been a great host.