17 August 2017

Rwanda: New Initiative Seeks to Promote Transparency in Climate Projects

A €91,297 (about Rwf91m) project has been launched with view to ensure that corruption does not undermine climate change mitigation efforts as well as effective and equitable allocation of climate finance in the country.

It is financed by the German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

The one-year project, dubbed 'Ensuring integrity in climate policy-making and in climate finance and delivery at all levels will involve monitoring of climate finance windows, and promotion of transparency, accountability and good governance in the management of climate-related projects.

"A lot of funds have been allocated toward efforts to help mitigate climate change. The project will monitor if climate funds are well spent and equitably and transparently allocated," Marie Immaculée Ingabire, the Chairperson of Transparency International-Rwanda, said at the launch in Kigali yesterday.

She noted the project will also help monitor regulation and decisions made on climate finances to ensure transparency in all interventions.

"We'll start by mapping climate finance stakeholders, building capacity and knowledge sharing. Thereafter, we will establish a network which will help monitor how money is provided, the priorities set by the projects. We will also carry out a survey on citizen satisfaction," she added.

Ingabire recalled that developed countries pledged $100 billion in climate financing over the next couple of years to operationalise the Green Climate Fund.

The German Ambassador to Rwanda, Dr Peter Woeste, said the support is part of a broader project that covers eight countries to which Germany has disbursed €2.4 million to help curb corruption in climate funding.

"The international climate initiative is a key element of Germany's climate and biodiversity financing in developing and newly emerging countries.

Germany supports Rwanda in dealing with climate change-related challenges through such areas as renewable energy, micro hydropower, solar lightening and mini grids, regional hydropower projects (along the Rusizi River) and two regional transmission lines between Rwanda and DR Congo, and Burundi.

Germany's support in all these areas is worth Euro75 million, the envoy said.

Woeste said his country also contributed Euro7 million toward the creation of Rwanda's flagship green fund, Fonerwa.

More funding, he said, was provided under international climate initiatives in forestry and landscape restoration such as the one that promotes agro-forestry for food and fuel wood, and another that seeks to restore degraded forests and landscapes to help Rwanda achieve its commitment to restore two million hectares of degraded forests and agricultural land.

"The government has the Auditor General to ensure transparency in the projects," he said.

According to Patrick Mutimura, the private sector specialist at Fonerwa, said the Rwanda Green Fund has so far mobilised $90 million to finance various projects involved in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The funding is provided as a grant or low interest loan, he said.

He said that 33 projects have so far been supported.

Mutimura said that over 90,498 green jobs have been created as a result while 35,356 hectares of forests and 12,998 hectares of watersheds and water bodies were rehabilitated.

Some 18,414 beneficiaries were also connected to off-grid energy among other achievements, he said.

Mutimura said challenges remain including poor coordination among different players, limited analytical capacity as well as failure to identify critical areas that need urgent intervention.

Eugene Rwibasira, the Executive Secretary of Rwanda Development Organisation, said funding was still low considering that, out of 1,290 proposals for funding that were submitted to Fonerwa, only 33 projects were approved.

Rwibasira also said that beneficiary communities are not sufficiently involved in policy-formulation and decision-making processes.

Civil society groups have been involved in protecting hillsides, rivers and lakes, curbing charcoal burning, and protecting irrigation sites, among others.


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