Friday, June 21, 2013

Climate change projects require partnership funding

By Hilma Hashange

Climate change adaptations have the potential to disrupt available funding or to deplete national budgets of poorer countries. With the financial impact of climate change events already witnessed on a large scale over several years, Namibia will need to investigate financial options both within the country and externally.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol make provision for parties with more resources to financially assist those countries where the inhabitants are more vulnerable due to budgetary limitations.

The parties to the UNFCCC assigned the operation of the financial mechanism to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) which is accountable to the Conference of Parties (COP) to decide on GEF’s climate change policies, programme priorities and eligibility criteria for funding.

Various support actions from international development partners including funding for climate change events are available in Namibia and many projects have been funded or co-funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through various implementing agencies such as the third National Communication Project to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which is funded by the GEF through the United Nation Developmental Plan.

The project was funded to prepare a national report on greenhouse gas emissions, including
measures to promote adaptation and mitigation as well as issues related to public education and awareness. The report also assessed technology needs, financial ability and technical requirement to deal with climate change.

Namibia is one of the ten countries world-wide implementing this project.

However, according to Johnson Ndokosho from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, more adaptation projects especially in rural areas, require funding. He is of the opinion that more still needs to be done to fund projects that develop crop varieties, livestock improvement, agricultural diversification and water conservation. This is even more of a pertinent issue given the current drought, he told the Economist.

Major adaptation investments such as proposals to protect Oshakati from flooding through a large scale diversion aquifer, or building a sea protection wall around Walvis Bay harbour are just some major and strategic investments that will require international funding.

Ndokosho said even though mitigation and adaptation projects are needed, Namibia does not emit much greenhouse gases hence mitigation efforts will not make much impact on the global scale.

"Moreover, Namibia is classified as a developing country which is not legally required by the United Nations Convention to implement mitigation measures, so we do it on a voluntary basis," he said.

However, the country is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change hence greater emphasis is put on adaptation in order to make the country more resilient to climate change impacts. "Climate change manifests itself in either floods or droughts. Namibia is vulnerable to both and we need to be prepared to deal with both situations going forward. It is now high time that we incorporate and mainstream climate change impacts into our planning process," Ndokosho noted.

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