Strong regional collaboration is needed for southern African countries to improve their access to international climate change funds. Therefore, the importance of organised learning forums cannot be underestimated.
From 25 - 26 October 2018, six countries from southern Africa came together in Swakopmund, Namibia - to share their experience and learnings on accessing climate finance, specifically from the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The GCF is a global fund created to support the efforts of developing countries in responding to the impacts of climate change. However, the process of accessing funding from the GCF can be a long and challenging one. With this in mind, SouthSouthNorth - under the Southern Africa Climate Finance Partnership (SACFP) project - organised a Regional Learning Forum, to provide a platform for National Designated Authorities (NDAs), nominated entities and Accredited Entities to the GCF to network and explore shared challenges and opportunities.
Co-hosted by Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism, in partnership with Namibia’s Environmental Investment Fund, the event brought together over 40 delegates in the coastal town of Swakopmund. Mr Teofilus Ngitila, Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, officially opened the Learning Forum. In his opening address, Mr Ngitila stressed the need for southern African countries to prepare for, and adapt to, the impacts of climate change - and do so quickly. “The presence of so many NDAs and Direct Access Entities is an indication that we are determined to tap the much needed resources from the Green Climate Fund in order to rapidly increase adaptation and mitigation actions in our respective countries”, he said.
In his speech, Mr Ngitila also called for the GCF to consider setting up regional hubs. “Let me also use this opportunity as region to keep on persistently urging the GCF Board to decentralise the GCF operations by establishing regional hubs. The establishment of the regional hub will enable us to interact with the Secretariat in a timely manner. Namibia has offered a strong commitment to host the African hub.”
Delegates at the Learning Forum benefited from the insights of outgoing African GCF board member, Mr Zaheer Fakir. He encouraged them to collaborate on a regional level to improve their access climate finance. “It requires partnership, not only with foreign partners, but partners within Africa itself. You have different countries with different capacities and it’s about time that we start functioning as one unified Africa and supporting each other to achieve that.”
It is hoped that this Learning Forum will be a springboard for southern African countries to start communicating more regularly around their climate change activities, especially their progress and challenges with accessing climate finance. A second Regional Learning Forum is expected to take place during the first half of 2019.
During the Leaning Forum, leveraging climate finance was seen as key to supporting countries in protecting Africa’s development gains from the impacts of climate change. In his closing remarks, Mr Petrus Muteyauli from Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism noted that southern Africa is well known to provide leadership in many areas, so by continuing to work together, the region can become a frontrunner in addressing climate change too.
Ms. Emma Baker, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: +27 21 447 0211
Mr. Lazarus Nafidi, Email: LNafidi@eif.org.na; Tel: +264 431 7706
SouthSouthNorth (SSN) supports national and regional responses to climate change through policy and knowledge interventions, partnerships and deep collaboration. We do this by connecting people and information, enhancing capability and mobilising resources to respond innovatively to the challenges and opportunities that climate change presents. For more information visit: www.southsouthnorth.org
Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Namibia
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism is the Namibian government ministry entrusted with biodiversity conservation in the Namibian environment through the sustainable utilization of natural resources and tourism development for the maximum social and economic benefit of its citizens. The Ministry is the National Designated Authority (NDA) for Namibia and the Directorate of Environmental Affairs provides the secretariat for country coordination to the GCF. For more information visit: http://www.met.gov.na/
Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia
The Environmental Investment Fund is Namibia’s own response to the growing global need for green financing. Established in terms of the Environmental Investment Fund Act, Act 13 of 2001 with a mandate to raise funding for investment into projects that promote sustainable development it is currently one of the fastest growing green financing institutions in the country. The Fund is an accredited entity to the Green Climate Fund and has accessed resources from GCF through the normal direct access route, the enhanced direct access and the simplified approval process. For more information visit: http://www.eif.org.na/
Green Climate Fund
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a global fund created to support the efforts of developing countries in responding to climate change. It seeks to promote a paradigm shift to low emission and climate-resilient development, taking into account the needs of nations that are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts. For more information visit: www.greenclimate.fund