28 June 2016

Africa Carbon Forum to Tackle Investment in Climate Resilience

Photo: The Citizen
(file photo).

The eighth Africa Carbon Forum will focus on ensuring that countries put in place polices that are conscious of environmental sustainability and climate change resilience.

The Minister for Natural Resources, Dr Vincent Biruta, made the remarks yesterday during a news conference on the three-day forum that opens today at the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village (formerly known as Camp Kigali).

The meeting will bring together scholars in climate change and air pollution, investors and policy makers.

Dr Biruta said environment projects need financing in order to succeed.

He also noted that activities to check vehicle and industrial emissions had started, whereby the Ministry of Natural Resources (MINERENA) and Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) collaborate with the National Police to test the emissions.

"In the next days, we want to get equipment that will allow sustained tests of the quality of the air we breathe," he said, adding that they expect that Rwanda Environmen Fund (FONERWA) will fund the purchase of such equipment

"In Rwanda, the older the car the more the tax rate increases, and that is in line with discouraging people from buying old cars but new ones that emit less pollutant gases," he said.

He said that under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, there is a project known as "Energy Efficiency and Cleaner Production" project for industrial production.

At COP21 meeting in Paris, France, in December, last year, countries reached an agreement on tackling climate change and devising measures that would keep earth temperature below 2 degrees Celcius or even 1.5 degrees Celsius this century.

Countries sign agreement

Since April, countries started appending signatures on the agreement. So far, 174 countries, including Rwanda, have appended their signature.

The minister said the country will showcase what it had achieved, including setting up FONERWA, which has since raised more than $100 million and funded 33 environment projects in the country.

He added that Rwanda was chosen to host the meeting, thanks to its sustainable measures in combating climate change and to take care of the environment.

The minister said Rwanda will share its environment friendly experiences, but also learn from other countries, mainly how to mobilise funds to finance climate change resilient projects and reduce air pollution.

The Government has also taken measures to embrace clean energy, including hydropower, and solar energy, biogases and efficient stoves.

Lucas Brusa, UN Climate Change Secretariat's lead stakeholder and head of Regional Support Sustainabled Development Mechanisms, said after the signing of the Paris Agreement, people have been asking the "so what" question.

He noted that the African Carbon Forum will show the way towards the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

A UN report showed that more than seven million people died due to air pollution in 2012 alone, with around 600,000 of them being in Africa.

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