What developing economies can learn from Rwanda’s climate change solutions

What developing economies can learn from Rwanda’s climate change solutions
What developing economies can learn from Rwanda’s climate change solutions

Africa-Press – Rwanda. The UN 2030 Agenda for sustainable development includes transformation of our world. The world leaders are determined to protect the planet from degradation through sustainable consumption and production, sustainable management of the globe natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change to protect the needs of the present and future generations.

The just-concluded COP27 agreed to put human needs at the heart of the global efforts to address climate change. It intended to focus on key elements that address some of the most fundamental needs of people everywhere, including water security, food security, health and energy security.

The last day of the summit was marked by serious discussion that led to the establishing of loss and damage fund. The fund is set to provide compensation to vulnerable developing countries for the losses and damages that they face as a result of climate impacts.

Economically disadvantaged nations and campaigners in the past argued that rich countries that caused the bulk of climate change with their historical greenhouse gas emissions should pay. The deal lays out a roadmap for future decision-making with recommendations to be made at next year’s UN climate summit.

The decisions will include who would oversee the fund, how the money would be dispersed and to whom.

A UN-commissioned research estimates that the cost of adapting to climate change across Africa could reach $50 billion a year by 2050. African countries have outlined bold aspirations to build climate resilient and low-carbon economies in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement which Rwanda showcased by taking right actions that shall attract capital flow hence the setup of Ireme fund.

President Paul Kagame launched Ireme Invest which is the new investment facility powered by the Rwanda Green Fund and the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) with support from a range of valued partners. The facility will support the private sector to access green finance.

Apart from Ireme Invest, Rwanda also launched a new facility that shall facilitate the government institutions working to implement Rwanda’s climate action plan, also known as the NCDs to the Paris Agreement, where Rwanda is venturing into carbon markets and seizing existing opportunities with the support of World Bank and the UNDP.

The idea of carbon market is to take advantage of the trading scheme of credits which are obtained by reducing emissions that can be sold to public or private entities unable to meet the reduction requirements.

These mechanisms support the transfer of emissions between countries and at the same time encourage the private sector to invest in climate-friendly solutions which article 6 of the Paris agreement allows.

Carbon credit trading is regulated globally through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and has its origins in 1997 when the Kyoto Protocol established carbon as a tradable commodity.

Another crucial action is the Rwanda sustainable finance roadmap launched by the Kigali International Finance Center in Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) which introduced Rwanda’s vision of becoming a sustainable finance hub. The Roadmap was developed in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that continues to play an important role in accelerating the Sustainable Agenda on the continent

The above shows how COP27 presented a great opportunity for Rwanda to promote global collaboration to address climate change issues and to advance the country’s vision to become a carbon-neutral and climate resilient economy by 2050.

Rwanda can be an incubator of climate change solutions but countries should note that the work to be done is quite a lot. The successful story of Rwanda started with the integration of the environment and climate change in poverty reduction strategies since 2001.

The development of the Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy (GGCRS) was a cross-sectoral policy that was approved by the Cabinet in 2011 that underscored the importance of environmental sustainability and enhancement of climate resilience to Rwanda’s sustainable economic development.

To support the coordination of this strategy, the government of Rwanda led to establishment of the Rwanda Green Fund and has been in operation since 2013.The fund played a key role in helping Rwanda move towards achieving its vision of a green economy.

Since its establishment, the Fund mobilized a total of $216.4 million with 45 projects approved for funding. The Fund has achieved key cumulative milestone including 23,519 hectares of land that was secured against soil erosion, 45,775 hectares of total forest and agro forest cover achieved, 29,775 hectares of total watersheds and water bodies were protected, 82,945 number of households had accessed clean energy, 126,014 tons of CO2 and 161,552 green jobs were created. Numbers extracted from FONERWA annual activity report 2020 – 2021.

My call to sub Saharan African countries is that they should put their people at the center of their climate actions. They are small step that countries can do such as planting trees to restore devastated forest, countries can implement plastic bag ban regulations, car free zone and car free day can be developed.

There is a need to act and it was cemented by different phenomena such as the recent Pakistan severe flooding that cause 10 million of children in need of immediate lifesaving support from increased risk of waterborne diseases, drowning and malnutrition and the outbreak of Covid-19 that make us realize that we are not masters of our planet but servants.

The writer is the Risk Manager at Bank of Kigali Plc

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