28 June 2013

Rwanda: Climate Change Fund Gets Rwf22 Billion Boost

Government has earmarked Rwf 1.6 billion of domestic resources to kick-start the fund.

The United Kingdom has donated more than Rwf22 billion to Fonds National de l'Environnement (FONERWA) a fund created recently to deal with climate change and environmental degradation.

The two-year £22.5 million non-budget support aid to help Rwanda fund its activities to deal with climate change was signed yesterday by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the UK's Department for International Development (DFID).

FONERWA is a new initiative that the Rwandan government has set up to support environment protection and deal with climate change issues through supporting public and private clean energy and green life initiatives.

At an event held at the ministry headquarters in Kigali, Finance and Economic Planning minister Amb. Claver Gatete signed the funding agreement with Mike Hammond who heads DFID in Rwanda.

"This contribution will make a big difference in ensuring that the population that is vulnerable to climate change is helped," Minister Gatete said shortly after signing the agreement. "We hope that other stakeholders, including development partners, the private sector and civil society will come forward up to support this important initiative."

The Government of Rwanda has also earmarked £1.7million (around Rwf 1,679,950,360) of domestic resources as it continues to mobilise money for the first three years of kick-starting the climate change fund.

Most of the domestic resources have come from environmental fines paid by offenders as well as fees obtained from consolidating existing environmental funds in the country, officials said.

The head of DFID in Rwanda said that Rwanda is very vulnerable to climate change because 80 per cent of her population depend on agriculture.

"Everything else we support would be in jeopardy if we do not support climate change and environment protection initiatives," Hammond said.

He said that the funds released by his organisation are expected to help 150,000 people who are vulnerable to climate change and provide an additional 2000 people with clean energy.

The beneficiaries will be expected to use the funds in their clean energy initiatives such as biogas energy projects, reforestation, and irrigation among other projects in case of FONERWA's approval.

The Minister of Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, said the fund will significantly contribute to green energy, support environmental initiatives, and generally curb climate change impacts.

The DFID is one of the major contributors to Rwanda's education, agriculture, social protection, forestry, land, and environment sectors.

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