Wanted are East Africa Community’s climate change funds

Ludger Kasumuni courtesy of TheCitizenTz, www.thecitizen.co.tz

Every year, UNFCCC has been organising conferences on how to finance climate change activities, but EAC countries ended up merely declaring the need to operate the regional climate fund, according to a May 2016 report compiled by German NGO KonradAdenauerStiftung (KAS).

East African Community (EAC) member states have been participating in conferences in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), but an assessment of experts has established that with an exception of Rwanda, the rest of the bloc’s states are yet to establish funds on climate change.
Every year, UNFCCC has been organising conferences on how to finance climate change activities, but EAC countries ended up merely declaring the need to operate the regional climate fund, according to a May 2016 report compiled by German NGO KonradAdenauerStiftung (KAS).
“Only Rwanda has established a nation climate change fund. Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are yet to establish such vital funds,” says KAS project manager Stefanie Brinkei who has summarised a report compiled by KAS experts. According to the KAS report, Rwanda has a climate change fund worth of $100 million (Sh219 billion), but other EAC nations are just planning to spend one per cent of their respective budgets to set climate change funds,Ms Brinkei said although there has been a consensus among EAC partner states to run the regional climate change fund, the financing mechanism is yet to be formulated.
“In November last year, EAC member countries participated in a conference for assessing current architecture of climate change finance in the region. They resolved to have maximum use of renewable energy sources to mitigate the negative effects of climate change,” she says.
But she is concerned about failure to implement such resolution due to limited capacity among EAC nations to mobilise enough funds for financing climate change mitigation activities. “More innovative approach needs to be identified by EAC countries for mobilizing funds on climate change.”
However, a senior environment management official in the Vice President’s Office, Mr Masinde Bwire, is optimistic that under the National Programmes on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), Tanzania and other EAC nations will establish climate change financing mechanism.
According to him, subSaharan African countries spend at least $50 billion (Sh109.5 trillion) on financing projects geared to mitigate negative effects of climate change. However, Prof Aidan Msafiri of Mwenge Catholic University argues that for EAC member states to set up a viable climate change fund, there is a great need to involve all stakeholders in the
dialogue for formulating sound mechanism for financing.
Frequent participations of EAC nations in the conference of parties (COP) of the UNFCCC have proved to be a nightmare, because funds from powerful industrialized nations come with stringent conditions and are unpredictable.
There have been 21 global conferences of the UNFCCC starting in 1995 with COP 1 in Berlin followed by COP 2 in 1996 in Geneva to  series to annual events up to COP 21 held in Paris lastyear with a major resolution to increase financing of climate change activities through more commitments from industrial nations.
For the past five years the EAC member countries participated in COP 17 of Durban, South Africa in 2011, COP 18 in Qatar in 2012, COP 19 in Poland in 2013, COP 20 in Peru in 2014 and COP 21 in France last year, but there was no common agenda in the modality of financing climate change.
At global level there are promises to finance billions of US dollars, but the promises are yet to trickle down to poor people in EAC.
“We estimate that the public finance offered by developed countries will result in at least $18.8 billion per year by 2020. In addition, Japan aims to mobilise $10 billion per year in public and private finance by 2020,” reads part of the resolutions of COP 21.
Some foreign donors like the German International Climate Initiative have approved $1.1 billion for a total of 377 REDD projects globally and the UK International Climate Fund has pledged $1.32 billion, according to the KAS report.
In the past six years Tanzania benefited from the climate change support, especially from Norway amounting to more than $80 million (Sh175.2 billion) in 2009, but now REDD funds are drying up, according to 2016 report of the U.S based Non Governmental
Organisation, REDDX.

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