Windhoek — Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta says the Green Climate Fund (GCF) should provide financial resources without any prejudice and should by all means avoid the discriminatory classifications of developing countries as part of eligibility criteria for funding projects.
"We will not subscribe to the notion of loans for adaptation projects. This is against the principles and provisions of the Convention and should be discouraged at all costs," he remarked last week at a high-level session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) in Bonn, Germany.
Further, Shifeta said Namibia believes GCF should increase its visibility in developing countries, especially in Africa, the most vulnerable continent to the adverse impacts of climate change. "Namibia stands ready to host the African Regional Hub of the Green Climate Fund in order to further enhance direct access to the African countries and build capacity within the region," he affirmed.
Shifeta said Namibia has continuously emphasised its vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and noted the country's economy is dependent on natural resources, such as agriculture and fisheries, which are prone to the adverse impacts of climate.
He said there is a need to continue to mitigate the effects of frequent droughts, which rob people their livelihoods and floods that dismantle their infrastructures. "The science warns us that time is not on our side, hence a call for urgency in accelerating the level of mitigation and adaptation ambitions, including the provision of the means of implementation particularly finance.
"We need to adopt concrete decisions out of this Conference in order to fully and effectively operationalise the implementation of the Paris Agreement," he maintained.
Namibia is implementing the Paris Agreement based on the country's Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) document, which was approved by Cabinet in 2015 and outlines the intended actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
President Hage Geingob signed the Paris Agreement on behalf of Namibia at the U.N headquarters in New York on April 22, 2016. At the same conference, the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) signed an agreement worth N$4.3 million dollars with the Green Climate Fund. Benedict Libanda, CEO of the EIF, signed the agreement with Pa Ousman Jarju, GCF director of country programming. Shifeta witnessed the signing during the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany on Wednesday.
The grant demonstrates the support the GCF offers to direct access bodies and governments to aid them in accessing project funding from the GCF. The financial support will be used to strengthen the institutional capacities of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, which is the GCF National Designated Authority (NDA) for Namibia, to efficiently engage with the GCF, as well as to improve coordination in view of planning and climate programming for Namibia.
Moreover, the readiness grant will enable the NDA to conduct multi-stakeholder consultations nationally in order to ensure its approach to country programming is underpinned by strong local engagement.
This is in line with the immense responsibility of providing strategic leadership in ensuring that Namibia's interactions with the GCF are in harmony with the country's development priorities, as well as with GCF investment criteria, which MET is tasked with in its role as the NDA.
Libanda said the Fund has set in place a pipeline of projects worth N$380 million in the areas of agricultural resilience, renewable energy and ecosystem adaptation for GCF submission before the end of 2017.
Under the national adaptation plans (NAPs), parties have agreed that the adaptation committee under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat will further assist countries in the process to formulate and implement NAPs in 2018.
Under this funding window, Namibia will access US$3 million (approximately N$45 million) from the GCF for the formulation of its national adaptation plan, which will strengthen national priorities for measures to address adaptation to climate change.